DIY: make your own linocut holiday cards

diy holiday card

diy holiday card

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Like I mentioned in my last post, I’m super stoked for us to finally be in the home stretch Christmas season. I’m one of those people that listens to holiday music in the middle of the May because it’s just so dang upbeat, but now it’s finally socially acceptable to advertise it, hehe!

My favorite thing about the holidays is making DIY presents and decor, so I decided to share a crafty way to make DIY holiday cards with you. My first experience with linocuts was in college, but if you’ve ever carved a stamp out of a potato as a child (don’t act like you never did), you’ll get the gist.

So what exactly is linocutting?

Linocut printing a type of relief printing, similar to woodcutting, that involves chiseling or carving a design into a linoleum surface. The parts carved away stay blank, leaving the raised parts to print a reverse image once inked (like a stamp). The cut linoleum can be used repeatedly to make hundreds of prints!



carving tools
• pencil
• cardstocks of choice 1, 2
charcoal or transfer paper
• scissors
rubber cement
• paint/ink
brayer (I used a paintbrush)

diy holiday card

1. Trace an outline of the linoleum you’ll be cutting onto your drawing paper, then draw the design you want to print onto your paper. Keep in mind while drawing that your design is going to print in reverse, in case you want to include words!

diy holiday card

2. Flip your drawing over and cover the back of the paper with charcoal. This will help you to transfer your drawing onto your sheet of linoleum. (If you have transfer paper, you can just skip this step)

diy holiday card

3. Flip your paper back over and set it on top of the linoleum (if you’re using a transfer sheet, place that in between the two). Take your pencil and trace over your drawing in entirety, making sure to press down a little harder so that the charcoal makes an imprint of your design.

diy holiday card

4. Now, take your carving tool and carve out your design! Do a few test carves on the blank space of the design to get the hang of the tools if necessary. This is a fun part, because you can take liberties and carve out as much or as little as you’d like.

A FEW TIPS: My favorite carving tool is the one shaped like a V, like this. I feel like it gives me the most control! Also, be sure to carve away from yourself, so your hand doesn’t accidentally slip and cause you to stab yourself. It might be kinda metal to print a design in blood, but do that for Halloween not Christmas (but seriously, don’t).

diy holiday card

5. Now that you’re done carving, turn your linoleum on its side and give it a tap, so any loose pieces fall off. Get your paint ready on a dish/paper plate/wax paper and use a brayer or a paint brush to coat your linoleum sheet with your paint.

A brayer is preferable because you’ll be less likely to get paint into the nooks and crannies that you carved out, but you can use a paint brush if that’s all you’ve got around (like me).

diy holiday card[clickToTweet tweet=”Feeling crafty for the #holidays? Make your own #DIY linocut cards!” quote=”Feeling crafty for the holidays? Make your own linocut cards!”]

6. Now take your cardstock, and press it down on top of the plate! I tried to keep my paper fairly centered over the inked linoleum, but I ended up trimming off the edges so it didn’t really matter.

diy holiday card

7. Peel the cardstock off your linoleum. Tada, you have a print!! If you want, you can be done here and just use the print as is (or maybe as a postcard). I decided to trim around the whites and then use rubber cement to glue my design to brown paper cardstock, for some contrast and a more polished design. Up to you where you take it!

diy holiday card

Do you plan on getting crafty for the holidays?
Let me know if you decide to try out this DIY!


  1. Alice November 30, 2016 / 8:01 am

    Love it! I’m so glad you did this, I’ve been meaning to do some lino cuts for ages, I have all the tools but lack ideas, holiday cards and wintery themes are a wonderful starting point.

      November 30, 2016 / 5:24 pm

      ahhh, can you make little knit hat themed cards? to go with all the knitting you do?!?! I haven’t seen any of your art in ages and I’m sure they’ll end up amazing, whatever you decide to make!

  2. Alexandria November 30, 2016 / 10:51 am

    I remember taking a print making class in college that taught me how to do this and I was awful at it (mainly because my drawing skills are lacking)! That being said, I love how easy you’ve made it for people to make their own and hopefully this will inspire others to get crafty when it comes time to give cards!!! Love it!!!

      November 30, 2016 / 5:26 pm

      I think less than stellar drawing skills could still make a really cool result with this kind of project, especially because it’ll end up looking so stylized! and thank you! I hope I laid it out fairly simple for people! x

  3. Emma November 30, 2016 / 11:30 am

    This turned out so gorgeously! I’ve never done lino printing before, but I really love how they look. Your post has convinced me that I need to keep my eyes out for the tools to do this next time I’m in an arts and crafts supply store. Thanks for sharing!

      November 30, 2016 / 5:30 pm

      thank you!! I hope you do try it out! I think you’d make some amazing art/cards 🙂 x

  4. Carrie December 1, 2016 / 11:59 am

    Oh my goodness, I have never tried anything like this before. So beautiful! Totally going to get crafty with this!

      December 1, 2016 / 8:04 pm

      do it! it’s so fun and super easy (and carving is actually kind of relaxing?) x

  5. Chasa Fulkerson December 2, 2016 / 4:03 pm

    Oh this is so neat! I love it! I get so impatient when it comes to certain crafts. I have to be in the mode to craft to have patience.

  6. Emily December 2, 2016 / 6:17 pm

    This is such a cool project. I’ve never tried something like this before!

  7. Anna Rathgeber December 3, 2016 / 5:33 am

    For my Christmas gifts this year I handstamped kraft paper and now I can’t think of what to do for Christmas tags (big family!). This might just work… I want to use the same fir-tree shape that I used for my originial stamp and just cut out the outline maybe.

      December 5, 2016 / 12:49 am

      I actually wanted to try to make my own wrapping paper. And that’d be kind of cool, to just continue the trend you were already working with. try it out and let me know how it goes!! x

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