How do you get your blocks?

I so enjoyed meeting the people that came through my studio last weekend during Bloomington Open Studios Tour. I will unveil the completed solar flag project in my next blog. This week has been filled with reassembling my house and getting ready for the Columbus Arts Festival. And creating an enormous block of linoleum.

One of the most frequent questions asked last weekend was “Where do you get your blocks?” The following images are my way of explaining just how I create my oversized linoleum blocks.

great big box

I first order the linoleum from either McClain’s or Graphic Chemical. I order three foot wide rolls and can specify how long a roll I would like. Shipping is expensive because linoleum is heavy!

measure twice

When I decide the size block I would like, I cut a piece of linoleum slightly larger than my desired size. I use a box cutter and a metal straight-edge to score through the burlap backing and partially cut the linoleum. After that it folds easily on the seam you have created. Remember to measure twice — linoleum is expensive and you can’t glue pieces together.


The next step involves spraying both the back of the linoleum (with the burlap) and a piece of 1/2 inch medium density fiberboard with #90 spray adhesive. Newsprint is essential around the edges, or you may forever trap your house cats on your sticky floor. This is serious adhesive.

I have to quickly and gracefully slap this heavy linoleum onto the MDF. It really sticks, so there is no second chance. I am working here with a 25 x 40 inch piece of linoleum, and it is quite an athletic event. I then have to hoist the glued linoleum block onto my press, cover it with newsprint, and run it through the press several times to make sure it is as flat as possible.

great big table saw

Finally I have to wrestle this heavy block off the press and into my car. I have access to a huge table saw, and my awesome husband helps me trim the block to its final size. Cutting MDF is a messy job, and he is a dear to help me with this.

So that is the story of how I get my blocks. Look for my new large linocut of clouds to be started soon.

Are there any good stories of how you get your materials?