Tag Archives: print making

Printed Architecture




My kindergarten students looked at Rizzi buildings, took a second look at La Boca Houses and other interesting architecture.


They created these using Styrofoam printing plates, brayers, and ink.




Reflective Architecture



This month is Archtober and our city celebrates architecture through various activities at local venues. I wanted to bring that idea into the classroom so we did this lesson.


For this lesson third grade students created sky and water backgrounds using watered down tempera. They then drew buildings into presto foam and created a print. When the print was done, they folded the paper to create a ghost print.




Arts Empower Mega Conference



October 9 was the San Diego Mega Arts Empower Conference for VAPA teachers. This is year 2 of the conference and it is actually a lot of fun.

It was held in Balboa Park both last year and this. There were just over 500 people in attendance. It is a little tricky to find all the locations of the sessions as they are spread out all over the park and not all of them have clear signage.

It was nice this year that the museums allowed us to go in for free but I found it impossible to get to a museum AND the sessions so I did not see the benefit in that idea at all. It would have been nice if the museums had given the teachers a voucher to come back on another day.

The opening session featured Siddharth Moran, Mark Doolittle and Ben Vereen all of them discussing how the arts fostered their success. I missed most of that session to set up my book making session all the way across the park.

They had vendors in a room near Panama 66 at SD Museum of Art. I only got there at lunchtime. It was packed and the tables were really close together but I did manage to get around to all of them and gather up some ideas and brochures.

There were many sessions to choose from for all areas of VAPA. I chose to attend Visual Arts sessions, of course. I also prefer hands-on sessions where I can touch things and get ideas and lessons to take back to my students so those are the sessions I chose to attend.

Here are some images from the sessions I visited. I see some new art lessons for my students in the making!

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Puppets made with scrap cardboard. This reminded me of the hearts I made with the preschool 3’s last year.


Scrap cardboard sculpture-slotted squares of cardboard decorated and notched to create a changeable sculpture.


Crayon resist (hydrophobic) flowers with dampened marker (hydroponic).


Paper mache bowls with tissue paper and botanicals.


3D Images in chalk-uses chromadepth 3D glasses for viewing but nice as a stand alone image as well. LOVED the giant black chunky crayons she had. She said they were from Nasco.

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Painting with dirt…glue, water and strained dirt used as paint. Interesting concept. Not sure my principal would appreciate the students digging holes all over the school yard to bring in dirt to make paint but certainly a fun lesson.


Machines that move. Oh I think some grade 2’s are going to love this lesson!


The layered self. I would use clear acetate instead of the cut paper or the cut images would be far less elaborate and done with scissors and symmetry instead of using the box cutters and exacto knives this high school teacher uses.


Vegetable print making-I pretty much knew what this one was before I started but it was next door to the dirt painting session so I straddled the two and got the best of both workshops. The teacher for this one came all the way down from Fallbrook!

There were so many ideas and thoughts on arts integration, STEAM, best practices, National Standards and Common, Core. It was a splendid day and a great way to meet teachers from all over the county.

Gelatin Printing


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In the 1880’s a gelatin plate printing method was developed in Germany to make inexpensive copies. Some say it was designed for church bulletins and student tests. It was called a hectograph.

A special ink or pencil was used to write on a piece of paper. That paper was laid on the gelatin for a few minutes and lifted off. Then a clean paper was laid on the gelatin. To make more copies, one would place another clean paper on top of the gelatine and continue until all the ink was gone. The name hectograph came from the idea that you could make 100 copies from the one image.

Today, we use gelatin plates primarily for art project-monoprints or monotypes. You can buy a product called a Gelli plate that will supposedly last forever. Since the cheapest “classroom kit” which contains 4 12×14 plates was more than $250 and way out of my budget, I made a semi-permanent plate using gelatin, glycerin and water. The plate cost just about $7 and was made in a 9×13 glass pan. Recipe is below.

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I had my after school group try it out. They were a little heavy handed with the paint but loved it. I will probably make another couple of plates and let them do this again. Not sure how long the plate will last but it held sturdy with only a few nicks through 25 2nd-5th graders making 2 prints each.

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I found this how to video on youtube. The video is about 30 minutes and she tells you how to print with it as well. The Frugal Crafter has an original version of the recipe.  I read some disaster stories on the web about the contents becoming gloppy and not useable so I used a whisk and blended the gelatin and glycerin quite well before adding the hot water.

Gelatin Plate-no refrigeration needed

6 Tablespoons of gelatin (7 packets)

Mix the gelatin into 1.5 cups glycerin

While mixing, add 1.5 cups boiling water

Pour it into a shallow pan to set-I used a 9×12 glass baking dish and it was perfect.

You can remove the air bubbles with a piece of tissue paper or newsprint.

If it gets nicked or damaged, you can microwave for a minute and let it set back up.