A Comparison of the Most Affordable Linoleum Blocks

4th grade student work using Eco Karve Linoleum
4th grade student work using Eco Karve Linoleum

Last year I had my students carve linoleum blocks in 4th Grade.  The results were mixed and when I reflected back on the project, I realized that a major problem with the project was my choice of linoleum.

It can be overwhelming to match brands and prices, so I’ve done a little bit of the research for you.

When looking for linoleum for my classroom, I had a few criteria:

  • Affordable: so I didn’t blow my entire supply budget on one project.
  • Easy to Cut: I work with elementary school students, so I wanted something that didn’t take a great deal of strength to cut.
  • Easy to Draw On: My students draw and redraw on their linoleum blocks.  Then they erase and draw again.  I wanted something that could hold up to this and could be easily erased.  In the past, I’ve found a bunch of ruined blocks in the recycling (oops) because kids think that they need a new block, because they can’t erase a bad drawing.

Blick Blue Easy-to-Cut

Price: 4″ x 6 ” block – $1.84 ($1.64 for 12 or more blocks)

This was the linoleum I used last year.  It was extremely hard to cut and the blades had to be super sharp to effectively.

The print quality was pretty good, but it took us a long time to carve the blocks.

It was very affordable, but unfortunately we got what we paid for.

This is a video I made where I printed the Blick Blue Linoleum

Soft-Kut

Price: 4″ x 6″ block – $1.70 ($1.53 for 12 or more blocks)

The Soft Kut Linoleum does not take sharp pencil well and does not erase.  It accepts sharpie marker, but the marker bleeds slightly.  (This may because I was testing this block in the humid summer weather in my backyard.)  Soft-Kut cuts easily, but tends to favor straight cuts rather than curves.  It also is slightly crumbly.

Print quality was satisfactory for elementary school use.

An example of a print made with Soft Carve linoeum
An example of a print made with Soft Carve linoleum

Blick Readycut Linoleum

Price: 4″ x 5″ block – $2.91

The Readycut Linoleum was easy to cut and also had two layers of linoleum, so that when you carve the top grey layer off, it is easy to see how the print will look.

Print quality was satisfactory for elementary school use.

an example of a print made with Blick Readycut Linoleum
an example of a print made with Blick Readycut Linoleum

Inovart Eco Karve Linoleum

Price: two pack of 4″ x 6″ blocks – $3.78

The Eco Karve Linoleum took pencil well and was firm enough to make curved cuts, but soft enough that it cut easily.  Pencil erased well without leaving too many marks behind.  It was rarely crumbly.

Print quality was satisfactory for elementary school use.

An example of a print made with Inovart Eco Karve Linoleum
An example of a print made with Inovart Eco Karve Linoleum

Ultimately, for my classroom, I went with Inovart Eco Karve.  It was priced close what I was willing to spend and was easy to cut.  I liked how the pencil could be erased easier than the other blocks and the print quality was good enough for our purposes.

I would have liked to use the Readycut, but it was just too expensive for my budget.

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