Easy Printmaking For Kids (& Adults)

printmaking for kidsLast week, I quickly shared about my thrift store find, Tomie dePaola’s Things to Make and Do for Valentine’s Day. When I got to this printmaking craft, I was really excited because I’ve done something like this before. I think it’s a really fun project–for kids and adults–and a good introduction to block printing without investing in a ton of materials.

Here are the instructions starring Tomie’s cute kids and cuter cat:Tomie de Paola Things to Make and Do for Valentine's Day styrofoam print project 2, Tomie de Paola Things to Make and Do for Valentine's Daystyrofoam print project 3, Tomie de Paola Things to Make and Do for Valentine's DayA few notes:

  • I know styrofoam is a horrible thing for the environment and a few cities in the U.S. are banning the use of styrofoam take-out containers. Think of this as re-purposing something evil. I got my styrofoam trays with fish and vegetables at Mitsuwa.
  • I used a brayer because I already had one on hand from a printmaking class, but a rolling pin works just fine and may be even better for kids since it’s bigger and easier to handle.
  • The book suggests poster paints. I used Martha Stewart craft paint because I had some already. It worked fine, but it did dry quickly. So, I tried oil-based printmaking ink, which I also had. It worked perfectly but I would highly suggest you don’t use it if you are working with kids. It’s messy, permanent and dries so slowly.

printmaking for kidsI made my “block” by tracing the outline of the Japanese character for “friend”. I flipped it around and traced it onto my styrofoam with a sharp pencil. I went over the outline a couple of times to make a deep enough channel to get a clean outline. If I had pressed too lightly, the outline would not be as clear.printmaking for kidsMy prints are imperfect, but that’s okay. It takes some practice to get the right amount of ink on the styrofoam–I need some more practice! And, if this oil-based ink ever dries, I will cut them apart into little cards and send them out as Valentines.

If you try this project, I’d love to hear about it! Happy Valentine making!


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6 thoughts on “Easy Printmaking For Kids (& Adults)

  1. Naoto says:

    Wow the artwork looks awesome!

  2. i’ve tried this before, but am really looking forward to doing it again with styrofoam and rubber, too! i like the patchy look the styrofoam gives. yours turned out beautifully!

  3. Julia Monroe says:

    That looks so fun! I don’t have any foam trays but I do have some sheets of craft foam. It’s kind of thin though so I’m not sure it would work. I like the patchy look your styrofoam gives too.

    • kimberly ah says:

      I’m not sure if craft foam would work, but I have seen (on pinterest!) where people cut craft foam shapes and mount them on wood blocks to make homemade “rubber” stamps. 🙂

  4. […] locations currently do not accept them for recycling. One of my favourite uses is to make your own stamps to use for your card. Heart prints are a fool-proof idea but the beauty of styrofoam is the level […]

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