Purple Twig- Art Exploration for kids. A mom run small business in Los Angeles. Stop by to see the trials and tribulations.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Printing A Village

We like to foster ideas of exploration of materials and also teach techniques and how to use tools. This balance of instruction and free expression and experimentation helps children to find confidence in their own ideas and feel proud of learning how to use a tool or a new technique.
This printmaking project is a lovely combination of the two. We start with an exploration of color and when dry we add another layer of printing using printing plates they make themselves. For this one we talked about villages, towns and communities while creating our printing plates.
Printing isn't easy for everyone. The ideas of repetition and of the image being backwards can confuse some students. We offered this project to ages 6 and 7.

-Square Coffee filters
-Black in or paint
-Plexi-glass or plastic place mat
-Brayer or small foam paint roller

I use these square coffee filters to start. Have you seen these. They are incredibly absorbent and take the color of marker well.

The kids can make any kind of design or drawing they like, patterns, or abstract mark making or representational. Using a pipette the children drip, drip water slowly onto their drawing and watch the colors change, spread and merge together.

Once dried the painting is ready to be printed on

And now for the printmaking part. I love having kids make their own printing plates. We have made printing plates using a few different techniques and materials but for this one we give the kids small pieces of foam. You could use styrofoam from vegetable or meat packaging.

The kids cut the shape of the house or castle or tower or factory or cabin, using a pencil to add the details of windows and doors and the oh so essential decoration. We then glued those styrofoam pieces to cardboard.
Once dried were are all set for printing.

I use  a plexiglass plate to spread out the ink but you could also use a plastic place mat. I use a water colorable black printing ink. You could use regular paint but it's a little thin and thus the print will be a bit muddled.

A brayer is the best way to get the ink from the plexi- glass to the printing plate.  We encourage student slo learn to use tools properly. You can also use one of those foam paint rollers. For many children, the rolling of the ink can be the best part.

Then using the brayer to do the stamping onto the painting makes a nice clear print.

I absolutely swoon over the black inked prints contrasted with the bright colors.


  1. Hello,

    I don't know where to find square coffee filter. Where do you take yours? Thank you for your advice! Geneviève :)

    1. The square coffee filters are used with Chemex drip coffee cones. I buy them at restaurant supplies online.