It’s true. I’m a serial crafter. While sewing will allways be my first love, I’m physically incapable of picking just one hobby and sticking to it. During the pandemic I’ve been especially into kits, which is why a few months ago I decided to subscribe to The Crafter’s Box. The first kit I received was this lino printing kit and I’ve been a little obsessed ever since.
In this review, I’ll give you some background on the artist, a review of the supplies included in the kit, and all about my experience actually doing the project.
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The Artist: Mindy Schumaker of Follysome Prints
IL based artist Minidy Schumaker, the artist behind Follysome Prints, leads this digital workshop. Her work consists primarily of lino prints on paper and fabric. I can’t claim to be an expert on printing, but I like her work. I’m particularly obessed with her floral prints, which are at once delicate and bold.
The cohesive visual style seen in her store and Instragram signal that she’s an experience artist with a developed aesthetic and significant techical skills. This, of course, is exactly the kind of person I’m interested in learning from.
In the video tutorial included with the kit, Schumaker is calm and composed. Additionally, she makes the project look easy, and gives enough detail in her instructions that it actually kind of is. Each step is demonstraighted by the artist in close to real time. This lets you learn by observation the little tricks you might not get from other forms of instruction. It really is very much like attending an online workshop.
While the tutorial itself is professionally filmed and edited, there are some clear areas for improvement. The kit inicludes no written instructions. That means that you either need to pause the video inbetween steps, take notes, or (as I did) both. Because the workshop is presented as one long video, pausing can be a pain. So if you close the window and come back later, it can be hard to find your spot again.
There also is no indication of how long the process will take or an outline of the basic steps. That means that unless you watch the entire video before begining it feels a little like flying blind. Providing basic written instructions with time estimates and breaking the video up into a few sections would fix this.
Lino Printing Kit Contents
The Tile Block Print with Gradation was my first kit through The Crafter’s Box, so I wan’t sure what to expetct in regards to quality. I’d signed up for a membership, so the kit cost me 65$. When available, kits can also be bought a la carte for 75$. At that price point, I had high expectations about the quality of the items I was to recive. There also is an option to buy just the video workshop, without any supplies.
A silk crape scarf is the base for printing in this project. I was happy to see that it was tightly woven and hand hemmed. Honestly, scarf hems are something I’m really picky about. A machine sewn thread wrapped hem probubly would have lead me to cancel my subscription. So, I was glad they didn’t cut corners there.
The other important peice of included equipment was the carving tool. The one they included was a joy to use, even as a beginner. I found it easy to control and it didn’t hurt my hands to use. Additionally, it was made by a U.S. based family business, which always makes me happy.
The remaining tools and supplies also were of good quality. There were three colors of speedball ink, each in large enough quantities that they would be good for several additional projects. An arcrylic plate for mixing collors and prepping ink was the right size for the ink roller. A nice dark pencil was included to draw out a design on the carving block. The only supply necessary supply the lino printing kit didn’t include was a pair of old scisors to cut the carving block down to size.
Lino Printing Kit Add ons
Each kit from The Crafter’s Box has a selction of upgrades and add-ons. These can also be purchased from the marketplace when in stock. I didn’t buy any of the add ons for this kit, but I was definatly tempted. I still may buy the additional carving tools and some extra blocks. And I’m more than a little tempted by the additonal gold and black scarf kit.
My Lino Printing Experience
From start to finsh this project took me about 2.5 hours, split into two sessions. However, there’s no reason you couldn’t do the entire project in one go.
I watched the tutorial videos as I went, pausing and rewinding as needed. This was a bit of a pain, especially once I started working with the ink, but I managed not to damage my laptop in the process.
In my first work session I transfered the design to the block and carved it out. I was a little scared to cut into my block at first, but since the block needed to be trimmed from rectangular to square, there was a big scrap to practice on. It honestly didn’t take long to get the hang of using the carving tool.
The actual printing took place in the second session. This was very fun. The process used to create the gradient was surprisingly hard to mess up. However, positioning the block was a bit difficult. The biggest error I made here was not thinking to iron the large sheet of paper used to protect my table from the ink. Having a flat surface to work on would’ve made the whole printing process so much easier!
My finished scarf is a little bit wonky in places if you look closely, but when worn it’s impossible to see the errors. And I’m really happy with the ombre effect the gradation technique gives it. I’m not sure how much use I’ll get out of it, but I can see myself tieing to the handle of a staw bag in the summer.
Is the Kit Worth the Cost?
Overall, I had a good time working on this kit. I learned several new-to-me skills and got to know some new tools. I feel like I know enough about block printing to feel confident creating some self-directed projects.
I’ve got more than enough ink leftover to try a few more projects. The only supplies I’d need to do another project are something to print on and another block to carve.
So, if you’re looking for an introduction to lino printing, I would reccomend this kit! Because it can be completed in an afternoon, this would also be a good small group activity.