Do You Need a Printing Press To Do Lino Printing?

One of the most asked questions I get is "Do you need a printing press to do Lino Printing?"

And the answer is no.
Kerry Day Arts Printing with out a Press

I won't lie, printing presses are very useful. They can make printing your Lino Print blocks easier and quicker than printing by hand, especially if you're printing a large edition or the Lino its self is large. However printing presses can be expensive and can take up a lot of room. So if you don't have the budget or the room then printing by hand, or hand burnishing is an option.

Below are some tools that can be bought fairly cheaply and some that can be found in your home.

Watch the video at the end to see the tools in use.


Kerry Day Arts Four types of printing barons

The most common type of tool used for hand printing is a Baron. Usually a flat disc with a handle made from card wrapped in a bamboo leaf or from plastic. They can vary greatly in size, shape and prices but essentially all work in the same way. Holding onto the handle, you apply pressure whilst rubbing in a circular movement on the back of the paper. Most barons will cost from a couple of pounds up to around £20.

You can get more professional weighted barons with ball barings in the disc which with the added weight can make printing a breeze. However these can cost hundreds so an investment.

All the baron used in the video were bought from


Kerry Day Arts Two Spoons

My favourite tool to use for hand printing is a spoon. My one is a little teaspoon I got from a local charity shop for around 10p. When using a metal spoon you need to make sure there are no sharp edges as these can rip the paper while you are printing. If there are rough edges just use some fine wet and dry sandpaper to file them down. Wooden spoons can also be used.

Spoons are used in the same way as a baron. Place a couple of fingers in the bowl part and apply light pressure whilst rubbing in circular movements on the paper.


If you collect pebbles then one of them may be perfect as a printing tool. Just make sure it has one flat smooth edge. And use in the same way as you would a baron.

Kerry Day Arts A rolling pin and a pebble

Rolling Pin

Yep you read right, a rolling pin. They can be useful way to print your Lino. Use, well, as you would a rolling pin. Just gently roll over the back of the paper until you get the print you desire. Bear in mind that it can be easy to make the paper slip using this method, as you can see in the video. But that could be I was using a light wooden pin. You can get pastry rolling pins that are made from marble, so are heavier and less likely to move the paper while printing.

Other Items

Pretty much anything can be used as a printing tool. Just make sure it is comfortable to hold and as a flat smooth surface.

Why not have a rummage around your home and see what you can find, give it a go and let me know how you got on.

Watch The Video

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