Reduction Lino Printing Hints for Beginners Part Two

Producing reduction lino prints involves cutting and inking several layers from a single lino block to create a multi-coloured print. The first colour is printed, then the block reduced by cutting away and the second colour printed on top of the first colour. The block is repeatedly cut and inked until you have your finished print.

Reduction lino prints "guide for beginners"


Welcome back! If you’ve read Part One, you should now be sitting with your lino block in front of you and all your equipment neatly laid out ready to print.

If you haven’t read Part One and would like to know more about reduction lino printing designs and preparation, you might want to pop over and read it first.





cutting lino block

Put your lino block onto a non-slip surface and start to cut. Scary! Not really. Relax and work out which areas that will stay white (or the colour of your paper). All the areas of lino that remain uncut will be inked and printed. The first inking is of the lightest colour and the second cut removes any areas that will remain this lightest colour. Each layer becomes progressively darker.

Cut out the parts of your design that are to remain white. Clear away all your lino shavings from your work surface and the lino. You’re ready to ink your block.



onion reduction print 1st layeronion reduction print 1st layer

Place your inked lino in the pencilled area of your registration sheet. Lay the printing paper on top of the lino making sure that the corners of the printing paper and registration paper match up. Put a small arrow on the back of each sheet of paper so that you lay it down the right way up on subsequent prints.

Use a baren (or a dry roller or wooden spoon) to firmly press across the surface of your paper. Lift a corner to check that you’ve covered the whole print. Alternatively, use a printing press.

Pull the paper off to reveal your print, revel in its success and then re-ink your lino block and make as many prints as you need. Leave the prints to dry.

When you’ve printed Colour 1 (light brown in the print above), clean your lino and leave it to dry. With luck, your drawn design will still be visible on the lino, but if not, just retrace your original. Next, cut out any areas that you want to remain Colour 1.

reduction lino onions inked

Ink your lino with Colour 2 (purple above).


onions reduction lino print 2nd layer


Take a test print on a spare piece of paper to make sure you’ve cut correctly and then print on top of Colour 1, remembering to line up your paper on your registration sheet. You can see above that the purple has overprinted the light brown. Take all your prints and leave to dry.


onions reduction lino print 3rd layer


Clean your lino, leave to dry and cut then out any areas that you want to remain Colour 2. The uncut areas will be Colour 3. In the print above this meant that the only uncut lino was the black outline and frame. Test print and then print over Colours 1 and 2.

Congratulations! You now have a three colour print.


You might also be interested in:

Setting up a Home Printmaking Studio Space

Learn how to make Monoprints using a Jelly Plate

Printmaking Inspiration: Spring

Find a printmaking class HERE












reduction lino printing for beginners