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Using a Mylar Mask to Reduce Chatter in a Linocut

Using a Mylar Mask to Reduce Chatter in a Linocut

One of the problems to overcome when printing a linocut is ink being picked up by the carved away areas of the block. These lines print onto the paper causing 'chatter' or 'noise'. Sometimes chatter on a print can add character or interest to a piece but other times it can just get in the way. This method uses Ternes Burton Pins and Tabs and a piece of Mylar to mask the areas causing chatter. Read on for instructions or scroll to the bottom of the page for a video.

Set up a registration board with Ternes Burton Pins at the top and an area for your block underneath. Use pieces of mount board to create a space into which the block can slot.

Prep your printmaking paper with the Ternes Burton Tabs.

Place your block into its space on the board. Lay a sheet of Mylar over the lino. Clip a pair of Ternes Burton Tabs onto the fixed Pins and tape them to the Mylar. This way, the Mylar will go down in the same place over the lino each time.

Take notice of any areas on the block that are picking up ink to create chatter. Use a permanent pen to draw around the main uncarved design onto the Mylar. Use the permanent pen sparingly as we don't want it to be left behind and transferred to the print. 

Unpin the Mylar from the pins, place on a cutting board and use a scalpel to cut away the areas where you want the print to come through. Make sure the Mylar stays together and attached to the tabs. Trim away any pen lines. 

You can now ink up the lino, place it on the board, lay the Mylar over the top using the tabs and then your print paper. The Mylar mask will stop unwanted ink from reaching the paper.


For this project you will need:

- a board (the back of a picture frame works well)
- masking tape
- parcel tape
- Ternes Burton Pins and Tabs
- Mylar
- Scalpel
- Cutting Mat
- Permanent Pen
- Carved lino block

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