The lino block consists of a thin layer of linoleum (a canvas backing coated with a preparation of solidified linseed oil) usually mounted on wood. The soft linoleum can be cut away more easily than a wood-block and in any direction (as it has no grain) to produce a raised surface that can be inked and printed. Its slightly textured surface accepts ink evenly.

Linoleum was invented in the nineteenth century as a floor covering. It became popular with artists and amateurs for printmaking in the twentieth century.