Caring for Your Blocks the friendly printmaker

Caring for Your Blocks

Caring for your blocks is an important part of your printmaking practice. Learn how to care for, clean, and maintain your carved blocks. With a few simple steps, you can make sure your work can last a lifetime.

Caring for your blocks: Speedball Speedy-carve

Storing Speedball Speedy-carve blocks

  • When you are done printing, wash your blocks with soap. I like using Dawn Dish Soap.
  • Dry your blocks with a soft cotton cloth.
  • Lay blocks flat so they don’t warp.
  • Store blocks away from direct light.
  • Keeping blocks in a drawer will keep them clean and prevent them from getting damaged.

Can you stack blocks to save space?

You can! If I have blocks of a similar size, I will stack them in the drawer. Before doing this, I ensure they are completely free of ink and dry so they don’t stick together.

You will notice that these blocks are stained. That’s normal! Just wash your blocks until all the ink comes off and the towel isn’t picking up more ink when you’re drying them.

Caring for your blocks: Speedball Linoleum

The Wet Method Mounted Linoleum Blocks

  • When you are done printing, wash your blocks with soap or clean with mineral spirits.
  • Take care not to submerge your block entirely in water – if the water loosens the glue, the top can peel off.
  • Dry your blocks with a soft cotton cloth.
  • Store dry blocks away from direct light.
  • Keeping blocks in a cabinet or cupboard will keep them clean and prevent them from getting damaged.

The Dry Method Unmounted Linoleum Blocks

  • When you’re done printing, use scrap paper to print your block over and over until the block is clean of ink.
  • You can carefully wash the top with dish soap and a washcloth to wipe them down with mineral spirits. Take care not to submerge your unmounted block entirely in water; it will curl if the hessian backing gets wet.
  • Lay dry unmounted blocks flat for storage so they don’t warp.
  • Store blocks away from direct light.

If your hessian backing gets wet and curls, have no fear! Lay the block out, place some cardboard on top with something heavy to weigh it down, and leave it that way for a few days to dry flat.


Jacquelyn

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