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How to Do Printmaking for Kids

by Danielle Falk
October 29, 2022
7.5K Shares

Danielle Falk of Little Ginger Studio shares an easy printmaking project using scratch foam. These city scape prints are amazing & make great gifts for family or friends!

Updated February 2024

I know, I know process over product right? I’ve been doing this art teaching thing for over two decades!

And in my opinion, process art is where it’s at! This type of art creates such a rich learning experience by giving kids ample opportunities to explore art materials. It’s how they learn to problem solve, discover color, shape, line; but also weight, volume, texture, light. The list goes on!

As you can see I LOVE process art, BUT we all like something pretty to frame and hang up on the wall too right?

Kids can achieve impressive prints with through such a simple process. These prints are great for making as a gift for family members or even printing homemade Christmas cards at the holidays.

We created streetscapes with our prints and cut out our buildings which could then be easily combined to make a bigger picture. However, kids can literally draw anything they want onto the printing plates.

The most important thing to encourage to get good results is that kids use lots and LOTS of detail. I can’t overstate this!

Styrofoam Printmaking for Kids

MATERIALS

Time needed: 1 hour

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Draw the image.

    Make sure you use a pencil that has been well sharpened, or else a ball point pen (even a skewer or matchstick will work).

    Simply press into the printing foam to draw your picture, making sure not to press through the foam. Also, don’t forget to use lots of detail (think patterns, cross hatching, linework). Anything to fill the spaces or else your print will be predominantly black (boring!).

    Pro tip: Steer away from writing as the prints will be mirror impressions of the printing plate (the writing will be back to front). Also, I like to cut away around some of the print so that it can be more easily combined with other prints, but it’s not essential.

    Scratch foam printing plates

  2. Roll up the foam plate.

    Use a spatula to scoop out a smallish amount of printing ink and scrape a line of it at the top of your tile or metal tray. (Be sure to use a smooth, washable surface for rolling out the ink).

    Carefully roll out a small amount of ink working the brayer (roller) back and forth and side to side to achieve a thin coating of ink on the brayer. Then use the brayer to roll ink onto your foam plate, until it’s evenly covered. You’ll notice all your drawn lines will show as white as the ink will sit on top.

    Rolling brayer on scratch foam printing plate

  3. Create the print.

    You can do this two ways: either place your foam plate face-down on the paper you wish to print on. Or place your paper on top of your printing plate. Either way, be careful to place your image in the middle of your paper. Then apply even pressure, rubbing in circles with a flat palm.

    Pro tip: Use newspaper underneath your plate when rolling it up and replace it frequently to keep your work area clean.

    Printing leaf on painted background with scratch foam

  4. Print on a painted background.

    We used fluorescent tempera paints to create abstract backgrounds, carefully painting away all the white. Press your inked-up plates directly onto your watercolor background to create interesting compositions. I guarantee you will be impressed with the results!

I hope you give this printmaking project a try and if you do, please tag us on Instagram! We really enjoy seeing your family’s creativity!

styrofoam printing hearts
Photo by Danielle Falk

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