Printmaking supplies and where to buy them

This is a post I've been meaning to write for a long time. One reason is that I get asked a lot what brand a certain tool/block is and where to buy it; another is that I truly believe in the power of sharing resources and techniques. Also, if more people try out printmaking after learning from my experience and mistakes, I'm sure printmaking materials and supplies will be more widely available (especially in Sweden) too. 

This will be a rather long post with lots of pictures and resources, so feel free to save it to read later. I'd really appreciate if you share it on social media - more readers help and motivate me to post more on printmaking and illustration :)

So, a few notes about the suppliers mentioned in this article:

  1. This is not a sponsored post. I will specify which suppliers I have purchased before, as well as mention some others that I know of. My description will be based on my personal experience and my knowledge of their stock.

  2. I will cover both Swedish and international, both online and physical shops.

  3. This article is meant to share where I buy my printmaking supplies, so based on where you live, you might find suppliers that carry a larger stock, offer lower prices/shipping, or work better for your needs for some other reason. 

  4. Click images to enlarge them, and on the suppliers' names to visit their websites.

Carving materials

I use a wide range of materials for my linocuts and rubber stamps and I frequently buy from these suppliers below, in a rough order of how often and much I buy from them.

  • Stampeaz - USA, online. I searched my order history and the first order I place with Diana was Febrary, 2011 and I've been buying a few batches from her every year since. Shipping can be quite a pain if you live outside the US like I do, but the stock makes up for it, and if you reach out to Diana before making a big order, she's always happy to help figure out the best shipping option. What I buy here:

    • Speedball Speedy Carve. This is the pink rubber you see a lot on my Instagram; great for stamps: it's soft so easy to print by hand. 

    • Jack Richeson Easy to Cut Linoleum. It comes unmounted and is butter-smooth to carve; can be used in place of traditional Battleship gray linoleum. Too hard to use for stamps, but prints perfectly for linocuts.

    • OZ Kut. White rubber I've been using for some stamps. A bit harder and thicker than Speedy Carve.

  • - Sweden, online. The only Swedish shop I found that carries the green Japanese vinyl blocks. The material is softer than traditional linoleum, takes details beautifully and can be carved on both sides, but it's hard to get a clear pencil transfer of the design, and to see the design clearly when you carve. 

  • IB Wahlström - Sweden, online and physical shop (Olofsgatan 10). They carry traditional gray lino as well as Adigraf, an Italian carving material that's very soft and rubbery. Swedish schools use this a lot in art classes. Fairly easy to carve, but hard to get fine details. This shop also has other beginner-level carving blocks, most of which I have tried and wouldn't recommend.

Carving & sharpening tools

  • Jackson's Art Supplies - UK, online and physical shop. I buy my Pfeil tools here. There are some Swedish web shops that have Pfeil (Boesner, Slöjd-detailjer, Holm Trävaror), but I have yet to purchase from any of them. 

  • I also use gouge with sets of blades from Speedball and Esdee; both I highly recommend to beginner and intermediate printmakers. I believe I bought mine from Stampeaz and IB Wahlström respectively, but they are rather popular so you should be able to find them in other online shops. 

  • - Sweden, online. If you have gouges like Pfeil that needs more maintenance and sharpening, the Flexcut Slip Strope sharpening system works very well. Hyvlar is the shop where I got mine; you'll be also able to find it in art supply shops as well as carpentry shops. 

  • I'm not gonna write about scalpels this time for two reasons. One, I don't use scalpels a lot for linocuts and two, I find the grip and the angle of the blade more important that the brand or model, so if you are starting with rubber stamps or carving softer materials, you should be able to find a scalpel that works nicely in your local stationary or craft supply place.


  • IB Wahlström - Sweden, online and physical shop (Olofsgatan 10). I buy most of my papers here: Hosho, Yamashiro and Chinese mulberry paper. 
  • Konstnärernas centralköp - Sweden, online and physical shop (Fiskargatan 1A). They also carry Japanese and Chinese mulberry paper. 
  • If you don't live in Sweden, your local art supply shops should carry some Japanese paper. Hosho is thicker and great to work with (be sure to print on the smooth side); Yamashiro and Chinese mulberry are much lighter and have beautiful fiber-y textures.


  • After a long phase of experimenting and frustration I now stick to Caligo Safewash Inks and I buy them from Jackson's Art Supplies. These inks are "oil-based but they can be washed away safely with liquid hand soap and water". 


Other stuff

  • There are other things you might need like a sheet of non-slip mat, cut proof gloves (I use disposable rubber gloves when I start to sweat), carbon paper (for transfering the design onto the block), Japanese brush pen or marker pens to draw the design, ect.. You'll be able to find all of them on Ebay, Amazon, or your local shops. 

That's all I can think of for now! This article focuses more on linocut than stamp-making; for the latter you can check out my previous blog post on stamp-making tools and materials

If you have any questions you can of course comment or get in touch. Again, I appreciate your sharing the post and spreading the word on social media - I believe everyone can use a little creativity and inspiration in their life :)



The Truth about Love

So I named my latest linocut Kärlek (love) for apparent reasons. I tried to work in some gruesomeness, some depth and some humor. Pretty happy with how the final prints look!

Now, as usual, some process pictures - 

I've been using A4 sized linoleum blocks so I usually just sketch on a piece of printer paper.

After transferring the outline, I drew the design on the lino again with a brush marker. Then carve -

Here's how it looks at the final stages. I added some more details along the way. 

I mixed a nice red with Caligo's ink plus a lot of extender and a little big white to tone down the brightness just a little.

I printed in both this red and black, like in the beginning of the post. 

The prints are available in two colors in my shop; and soon postcards of this design in even more colors will come out too :) They will be ready for purchase through my autumn Kickstarter campaign also. Stay tuned - follow me on Facebook or Instagram, or say hello!

Enjoy a nice midsummer weekend!

Tunnelgatan - finally, the dinosaur!

If you've been following my work on Facebook or Instagram, you'd know that I started the dinosaur print quite a while ago. I've always been fascinated by the area close to Tunnelgatan, which is the name of the print and it literally translates to Tunnel Street. It's a street in Stockholm names after the Brunkeberg tunnel - the one behind the dinosaur in this design. I love how dramatic the stairs look and how the tunnel is mysterious and inviting.

Tunnelgatan is also associated with the murder of Olof Palme, Swedish Social Democratic politician, statesman and prime minister, which occurred at the tunnel mouth on Sveavägen street, and the killer fled up the stairs.

I took multiple reference pictures when passing by and started everything with a pencil sketch.

In retrospect it wasn't very smart to use the transfer paper. A lot of the details were gone and I had to re-draw the design directly onto the lino with a brush marker pen.

Here's how I carve with the Pfeil tools - my right hand gives most pressure while my left index finger guides the gouge and keeps it steady. If you keep your tools sharp, the linoleum should be quite nice to carve, especially if you do it in the sun like I did to keep the lino warm. 

The tool handle is flat on the bottom-side; this way they don't roll around on the table and you don't risk destroying the blade. The lino block is half-completed.

Completed! All prints are handmade and this is a limited edition of 9. The print is available in my shop here; I ship worldwide - in poster tubes to protect the delicate mulberry paper. 

Apart from that... my big project this year has been keeping me very busy. I ordered some product samples from different manufactures and will get the first batch of serving trays in the mail this week. This year will witness a dozen new products and I am very eager and nervous to see how they are received :)


New Table Easel + Hack

From a couple of weeks ago I've been having some back and shoulder pain. Not bad enough to be alarming, but nonetheless very irritating. After some contemplation I decided that it had to do with my posture, or to be more exact, how I carve.

I have a pretty large, flat working surface and an adjustable chair, but I do have the tendency to round my upper back too much over the table when I carve. This puts a lot of pressure on my shoulders as and back.

An angled work surface solved the problem. Well, first I tried to visualize my posture if I could create an angled surface on top of my work desk, and it just seemed much more natural and easy. I Googled different options, and found desk easels with a solid wood board (instead of just bars) as back support, which looked perfect as a carving surface.

I ordered the Mabef M34 Lectern Table Easel from Matton, a Swedish art supply store two weeks ago and got it last weekend. Here's a picture from Mabef.

First impression: very sturdy, and the wood has a subtle hue of peach that neither the manufacturer photo or mine captures. 

I tried it instantly, but the legs are very slippery on my work surface (very smooth). The Mabef easel legs are completely flat. With the pressure you put on when you lean against it to carve, the easel will simply glide away at your first attempt. 

Since I have every intention of using it, I'll have to fix the legs somehow. I don't trust the usual anti-slip stickers for furniture, and I found this dashboard anti-slip mat stacked away. Very weird jelly-like texture, but extremely non-slip - you can use it to stick your phone to an almost vertical surface. It costs very little and you can find it on Ebay.

It's very soft too. I cut it into strips just a little smaller than the easel legs, and attached the anti-slip strips on with wood glue, smooth surface facing the easel. 

Works like a charm! The easel legs are so non-slip they really grab onto the cutting mat, and now I'm considering getting a bigger non-slip mat (the grid kind) to lay under the cutting mat :/

I removed the wood bar on the bottom - it's meant to secure canvases and they get in my arms' way when I carve. The angle is adjustable with the handy screws on the sides, and you can get a very steady surface if you really tighten them. I put my Pfeil tools in the little holes - I might add some stickers to color-code the different gouges later on. 

When the surface is rather flat like this, the linoleum or stamp (I tried both) have no problem sliding off; but you will need to hold it with your non-carving hand if the surface is any higher up. I might drill some more holes in the center in the future so I can put in small pins to keep the carving material in place, but I carved for 1 hour today and this wasn't really an issue. 

Yup. The next time I post I will have completed the triceratops print - need to dig up some paper from storage first. Good thing I've transferred all the Caligo paint to tubes; now printing will be less stressful :)

Dead Astronaut Ex Libris, stamp

In my last post I wrote and put pictures about how I sketched for the custom dead astronaut Ex Libris stamp; in this one you'll see how I carved it - with my Pfeil gouges fresh from Switzerland, which are probably the best things I've bought in a while.

I transferred the design to a piece of Speedy Carve; the design measures just under 8 x 6 cm. I had to test the new gouges (the ones with mushroom-like handles) on a small piece of rubber (top left) first to get myself a little familiar with them, but their blade is so long, smooth and round to the touch, and they are very nice to hold. They are all wonderfully sharp and leaves perfectly clean cuts in the rubber. I'm pretty sure I'll abandon my old gouges once I save up some money to buy the Pfeil in more sizes/models.

I also color-coded the two small gouges (a V and a U) with marker pens. Look very nice too I think.

I had a woodcut-like effect in my head so I wanted to use the gouges as much as I could. I ended up only carving the name and the UFO (it's just too small) with the scalpel (white one). 

The stamp took me about 2 hours to carve - almost non-stop. Sketching took longer, which usually is the case with custom designs like this. I've not been happy with my new office chair, but I've just ordered a Mabef desk easel so hopefully it'll give my neck and back an easier time 

Here's the completed stamp! (And the Pfeil knives are just so beautiful, aren't they?)

Here's a bigger image with more details. It's one of my favorite works so far, and the whole communication with Franz, the sketching and carving was just so much fun.

If you'd like to order a custom Ex Libris stamp too, feel free to contact me using the form on the right :) I love commissions like this. 

Greetings from a dead astronaut far away!