Sunday, October 2, 2011

* Fall Leaf Simple Printmaking Project for Kids With Styrofoam Plates

This project is  a simple and colorful way to introduce printmaking 
to your students.  It is best suited for ages 5 and up. 

You will need:
Styrofoam plate
Sharpened Pencil
Paint brush or a small paint roller (brayer)
Washable Craft Paint
Construction Paper
Leaves to look at. 

I used to do this fall leaf printmaking project with my First Grades students
every fall. We would raid the elementary school cafeteria for styrofoam lunch trays
but you can re-cycle any clean styrofoam take-out container, plate, or food tray! 

Trim your styrofoam tray or plate into a small rectangle.
(Ours were approximately 4"x6") 

Looking at a real leaf as a visual reference, 
ask your students to sketch some leaves on paper 
until they are comfortable drawing them.

Then, ask them to lightly draw their leaf shape on their piece of styrofoam. 
Then, they will need to press down a bit harder
with their pencil to "etch" the outline and vein lines of their leaf
into the styrofoam. 
Caution them not to push too hard, they don't want to puncture the foam 
but they do need to carve the line deeply enough for the printing process to work.

Then, each student will need to "ink their plate" 
You can do this with a traditional printmaking brayer,
a small paint roller, or a paint brush. 

Brush or roll on a light layer of paint onto the carved styrofoam plate,
then press it (paint side down) gently onto your paper.
If they print with a variety of fall colors
or even irridescent paint (think gold and copper on black paper) 
it makes a striking piece of artwork or hallway display. 

Happy Printmaking!

Pink and Green Mama

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