BLOG × Always wondered about what materials and tools I use for printmaking? I can’t say I’ve tried all tools available. But from what I’ve tried, these are so far my go to products every time.
A baren is a tool that allows you to make even prints when you are handprinting. All ink from your linoleum transfers correctly onto the paper when you push your baren onto the paper. This way you get good prints with clear lines. I use the Speedball baren and a small soft one. The Speedball baren works good on thicker paper. On thinner paper I use the small softer baren, because it’s a lot more smooth and carefull due to the soft felt bottom. The Speedball tends to damage really thin paper sometimes.
If you are just starting to make your own prints, you can easily use a wooden cooking spoon. This also works great!
I use two different kinds of material; soft cut linoleum and rubber.
The traditional (gray/brown) linoleum is not suitable to work with for my hands. It’s a bit rougher to go through in comparison with the soft cut. And if I’m making prints it makes my hands, arms, neck and back hurt fairly quick. So my choice for the softest version available was quickly made.
If I’m making smaller prints I use rubber. Nowadays the only rubber available here is Factis. It’s a blue, very soft rubber that cuts very smoothly. Like butter! The big advantage of rubber is that you don’t necessarily have to use printing ink. It also works with stamp ink (linoleums don’t).
For linoleum I use Cranfield Caligo Safe Wash. This is an oil based ink with the big advantage that you can wash it off of your rollers with just water. I try to use environmental friendly inks as much as I can and don’t like to work with (hazardous) cleaning liquids. So the choice for this washable oil was easy!
For rubber my go-to ink is StazOn and Memento. Memento is great if you want colored prints. I love the color choices they have. Another advantage of te Memento drops is the pointy side. If you want to color a stamp with more than one color – but don’t want to work with a layered stamp – the pointy tip allows you to get ink on every spot and corner of the stamp.
The Jet Black StazOn ink gives very nice deep black prints. But more like a Photoshop brush stroke, so you keep the handmade look. These stamp inks are also very friendly for your wallet!
So far I haven’t spent a lot of money on expensive rollers. I have been using the cheapest I could find that looked okay enough to work with. So far they are doing just that, working okay. They do the job. I will definately spend some money on new rollers next time I’m ordering, because I hear a lot of good things about Japanese rollers. If you are just starting with printmaking, these simple rollers are just fine.
If you have any questions about the materials I use or would like to have some tips, don’t hesitate to contact me!