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Monday, October 15, 2012

Printmaking? Yes you can!

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

Printmaking is a form of artmaking that can be attempted and accomplished by children of all ages and abilities.


The technical stuff...
Printmaking involves the creation of a master plate from which a single, or multiple images are made. Simply put, the artist chooses a surface to be the plate. This could be linoleum, styrofoam, metal, cardboard, stone or any one of a number of materials. Then the artist prepares the printing plate by cutting, etching or drawing an image onto the plate. Ink is applied (in a variety of ways) and paper is pressed onto the plate either by hand or by way of a hand-run printing press. The finished print is pulled from the plate. 

For our printmaking lesson, we used a piece of foam from a vegetable tray (with the edges cut off),  a pencil, tempera paint and a sheet of paper.

First, we prepared our paints. We started with primary colors (red, yellow and blue) and from there, mixed our secondary colors (orange, violet and green).


Mixing our colors.

Then, using a pencil, we "carved" lines into the foam. (Older kids can do detailed images while younger ones can just experiment with lines and shapes.)
 
Carving the lines.

When the lines had been "carved", we began adding paint to the printing plate.

Adding the paint.

Here's the foam tray with all the paint applied.


Ready for printing!

Next, a sheet of paper was laid on top of the painted foam. After that, we rubbed our hands over the paper -- carefully.

Rubbing the paper.


Lifting the paper revealed the finished print!
 

The really fun part :)

And voila -- here's the printing plate and the completed print. Remember, when you make a print, everything will be in reverse. This is a good point to make to students before they try printing their names on their printing plates :)



Ta-da!

For more on printmaking with your students and children, visit: Printmaking 101 and Printmaking 102 on KinderArt.com. Also, you can find a nice version of this lesson plan at: www.kinderart.com/printmaking/styro.shtml

Until next time - keep creating!
~Andrea

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