Tag Archives: printing

Printing with Blocks


50093206I recently attended the Mingei Museum’s Educator Open House. They often have leftover art supplies that they give out. Pretty much anything you can carry out of that room can be yours. I have oodles of supplies so I only took a few items. One of which was a bag of foam blocks.


There were not enough for a class set but I was able to cut them in half with my ceramic knife and supplement the project with old math manipulatives.

The preschool students and I talked about all the shapes, we named them, we looked at them, we talked about how some shapes fit into other shapes.


It was a fun discussion. They were given plates of paint with only one color and a few blocks. My tables fit 8 students so we used primary colors plus green. Students always share supplies in my class which helps me keep my supply budget low.

Students stamped as many of the shape in one color as they wanted to then we rotated the plates until every color had been used. art


Positive and Negative Prints


This was a super tough lesson to complete in just one hour but my fourth graders did it with only a few bumps in the road.


There are over 100 4th graders so I had them adhere their positive pieces on one side of the pre-cut cereal box and negative on the other creating a 2 sided printing plate.


If the kids were good at puzzles and spacial relations assembling the plate was a snap.


If puzzles were a challenge, we decided that it made for a perfect growth mindset. (Embrace challenges, persist in the face of set-backs, mistakes help me learn, this may take some time, etc.)


We used sticky back foam sheets and cereal box cardboard for our printing plates.

I ran out of sticky back foam but had a few sheets of sticky back felt. It was not as successful but it was all we had. It did make for some great texture but they slurped up too much ink and they had to press really hard to get a print.




Printed Suns


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I saw a version of this in the office of one of our elementary schools and knew I wanted to make this project with one of my grade levels. I chose Grade 4.

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Students were given disks of paper and plates of paint in various colors. They were instructed to paint the centers lighter than the outside. They quickly painted the disks with large brushes or sponges and set them aside. They then created a printing plate from a styrofoam plates.


They used dull pencil to carve a design into the plate then painted the plate black then pressed it onto the circle to create a center for their sun.

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They used various found objects to add a radial design to their sun. Once complete, they could add a bit of bronze, gold or silver to their images.

Trees in Snow


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This lesson was done with preschool and TK. I am sure is could be adapted for other ages. For this lesson, we used a printing technique done with scraps of cardboard and tempera paint.

To begin, we used some clean room paper that was donated to our class. It is a pale blue color and has a thicker yet smoother texture than that of construction paper.


Students first cut white paper for their snow. I drew wiggly lines on a rectangle strip of paper that they then cut. This was for the 4’s. For the 3’s who had not yet begun scissor skills, they used the other half of the cut paper leftover from the 4’s.

You’ll see I use plates of glue for my students. This reduces the amount of glue used and aids in eye-hand coordination.

adding snow

The next step was to create the tree trunk. I demonstrated then students dipped the long edge of a cardboard rectangle into brown paint. We talked about trees being tall so most students did the trees all the way to the top edge of the paper.

printing the trunk

Once they had the trunks, we swapped for green paint and they created their trees.

printing the green green printing green leaves

After the trees were printed, students could go back and add snow drops to their art.

adding snow drops         




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.




Bubble Wrap Flowers Printing


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Bubble wrap printing has been around for a long time.My children have done bubble wrap prints for Miss Rumphius’ lupines. I have done snow with my students.

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These flowers are just one of many variations on bubble wrap printing.

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Students were given paint in red, white and blue. I showed them how to use the bubble wrap to print a flower shape. I showed them that if they dipped it in white first, then red, they would get pink, if we dipped it in red and printed then dipped it in blue, we get purple and so on.

They could make as many or as few flowers as they wanted to.


They could make them whatever color they wanted to. Color mixing was strongly encouraged.


When the flowers were complete, students were given green paint and a paintbrush to create leaves. I showed them how to “draw” into their paint (sgraffito) with the brush handle to make the veins in the leaves.