Mandala printmaking made super easy with craft foam glued to a cardboard base. Kids can use their stamps to make print after print!
Updated April 2023
I have always enjoyed making prints with children and it’s an urge that returns every couple of months.
Yes, printmaking with kids can sometimes be messy, time-consuming, and a bit unpredictable, but the immediacy, energy and sheer fun of churning out multiple images keeps me returning. It’s a much-loved activity by my students, and it’s worth the mess!
I thought they would make excellent pizzas – and who doesn’t love pizza? Yum!
How to Do Mandala Printmaking for Kids
- Thin craft foam (alternatively you could use sticky-back foam and save yourself the hassle of gluing!)
- Mod Podge (or any clear-drying craft glue)
- Cardboard circles –any size you fancy but plate-sized is ideal (you can often get these for free from a local pizzeria)
- Cheap bristle brushes
- Block printing ink in several colors, preferably water-soluble & non-toxic
- Palette knives for spreading ink
- Brayers – one for each color
- Smooth surface for rolling out ink – I like using an old bathroom tile (but a plastic photo frame, plexiglass, or even old X-rays work too)
- Bamboo barens (optional) – tool for applying pressure
- A variety of papers – we used heavy cardstock & brown packing paper
- Some cheap paper (newsprint, brown paper) to lay on the table to keep things clean
- Create your printing plate (collograph)
Cut out pizza toppings from foam: Discuss kids’ favorite pizza toppings and cut out lots of tasty food-shaped pieces from foam.
Think: mushrooms, sliced peppers, grated cheese, pepperoni, pineapple and tomato slices and tiny little fish-shaped anchovies!
Tip: it’s easier to start with bigger shapes and fill in with smaller shapes.
Create a mandala design: Arrange into a pleasing mandala (radial) design. Carefully glue each piece into place and let dry.
Be sure to securely glue down all foam pieces or else they will come off during printing!
For easier cleanup, soak the glue brushes in jars filled with water.
Now you’re ready to print your pizza!
- Coat plate with ink
Evenly roll one ink color onto the foam parts of your collograph and then add a second color onto other parts (e.g. on the outer shapes). Spread ink evenly and thinly across the roller surface.
- Place paper on plate and create a print!
Now, place your inked plate on a clean surface and carefully center your printing paper on top. Keep the surface under your plate tidy so that you get a clean print. Use a clean brayer or baren (or just your hands) to apply pressure in small circles, working your way over every part of the plate.
Slowly lift your first print and “oooooooh” and “aaah”! Do it again and again. Warning – printmaking is addictive! (Printing ink takes quite a while to dry and you can ink up over the top of like colors).
Note: Don’t try to wash your cardboard plate in between prints.
Printmaking lends itself to wild experimentation – repeat prints on a big piece of paper to make a mural. Or layer different colors & designs. Try printing on interesting papers or create an ombre effect with your colors. The sky’s the limit!
And be sure to check out this video of Easy and Fun Collagraph Prints!
More Easy Printmaking Ideas for Kids
- How to Do Styrofoam Printmaking
- Potato Printing for Kids: How to Make Potato Prints
- Painting with Bubble Wrap for Kids
- 6 Easy Paper Marbling Techniques
- Marbled Paper and Tips for Success
- How to Create Bubble Prints for Kids
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