I love printmaking! It’s kind of like painting, kind of like collage, kind of like sculpture. The tools are special and exciting. And, I’ve never found a kid yet who didn’t just love printmaking, too. So, let’s get started!
First – The Supply List
- A workspace made for art or a space where you can make a mess.
- Smocks if you want them.
- Rags and old towels – just because
- Newspapers, paper towels.
- Ink – this can be printing ink ordered from discount sources and in bulk. Or you can use thick paint such as acrylic. Another idea – use thinner paint like tempera and add white glue or flour to thicken it. Ink is more expensive. My favorite for starting out is liquid acrylic paint by itself or thickened with white glue. Paint is easier to clean up than ink. Experiment!
- Soft rubber brayers for rolling the paint onto the printing surfaces. These don’t have to be expensive and a couple will do for your family. Brayers are washable and last a long time, like brushes. I still have mine from college!
- Ink trays. This is where you put the ink to roll onto the brayer so you can ink the printing surface. Old cookie sheets work if they are not warped. Pieces of plexiglass work well and they wash easily. I also really like linoleum squares from Lowes or Home Depot. These are the thick 12 x 12 flooring squares, not the stick on type. About $.75 each. Cheap!! Or try plastic plates from the thrift store, or those cheap plastic trays from Ikea that I mentioned in Art with the Kids, Part 2. Anything will work if it is big enough to roll the roller, can be washed, and is flat.
- Paper – all kinds large and small. Even paper bags, newspaper, anything.
- Wooden spoons – two will do, and/or a simple rolling pin. This is for rubbing the back of the paper to make the ink stick to your paper.
- Paintbrushes – large and small.
- Sponges – cheap ones from a Dollar Store or the like work fine! Get a bag full.
- Water – a tap source or in a bucket.
A Simple Printmaking Project
Try this very easy, kid friendly project to do with your kids just to get the feel for the equipment and the fun, fun process.
- Round up your supplies
- Grab a piece of paper
- Put some ink/paint on one of your ink trays, using one or more colors.
- Use the brayer or brushes to spread your ink on the tray. Drip it around, make a swirly design, or just smear it all over. Try not to mix it too much if you used more than one color, or mix like crazy! Try it all.
- Lay the paper on the ink tray on top of the paint.
- Use the wooden spoon (or a clean brayer) or rolling pin to roll the back of the paper so the ink/paint sticks well to the front.
- Carefully pull the paper off. This is called “pulling the print” and that sounds pretty official, doesn’t it! Set it in a safe place to dry.
- You and your child have just created a beautiful printmaking project!
- Now, clean up the equipment and get your child ready for the next print experiment!
What do you think?