Block Printer

The Makery has a small printing press and supplies to make your own relief prints, including rubber blocks, carving tools, ink, and paper.

To get started, just walk in during our open hours in Rose Library.

How to Block Print

  • Be creative and think of a design you’d like to print.
  • Take a pencil and sketch out what you want to draw on the block thinking about positive and negative space.
  • Select a carving tool based on the thickness of line you’d like to cut, or how much material you’d like to remove at once.Picture of Carving Tool Sizes
  • When you’ve finished carving, select a color of ink.
  • Put a small dollop of ink on the clear acrylic sheet and roll it out with the brayer (ink roller) until it is smooth and flat.
  • Once there’s a small amount of ink evenly distributed on your roller, go over the block with it once or twice.
  • Set the block face up on the press, on top of one of the light-colored felt layers.
  • Set a piece of paper lightly on top of the block.  Set the other light-colored layer of felt on top of the paper.
  • Use the crank to run the block and paper through the press.  Watch your fingers!  
  • You may need to adjust the height of the press based on paper thickness and whether it was set right before you used it.  Experiment!

Block Printing Press

The following video gives a good overview of the process, using a press very similar to ours.

Online Resources for Relief Printing