The Best Printing Blocks for Creating Your Own Designs

If you’d like to make your own prints out of blocks you carve yourself, you’ll find no shortage of options. You’ll just have to decide what material you want to carve. Block printing—the process of etching a design into a flat surface, then coating the relief with ink and stamping it onto blank paper or fabric—is said to have originated in China before 220 A.D. By the 12th century it was widely used in India, then gradually spread around the globe. Long before block printing became the basis for Gutenberg’s famous press, printers used wood blocks for sophisticated, intricate carvings. Many stampers still use woodcuts today, but for the initiate, other malleable synthetic materials—like linoleum, rubber, foam, and PVC—provide more options in terms of texture, softness, and print fidelity. Reaping from a variety of materials, we’ve rounded up the five best blocks for printing. Browse our picks to see what suits you best.

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