Print Making – A Simple, Step by Step Introductory Guide to Print Making with Children

Over the years I have given several art courses for teachers, offering ideas for the classroom.  I recently came across some of my old files and they got me thinking about some of the most successful and fun courses I have facilitated.  One of them was a course I gave in Print making for teachers of Primary School children (ages 4-12).  These activities are great for the classroom but they are also really easy to do at home with little ones.

Here’s my step by step introductory guide to Print Making – Have Fun!

Equipment: *items in bold are essentials

O     Acetate sheets

O     Masking tape

O     Rollers

O     Printing ink

O     Paper – newsprint

O     Found objects – wine corks, lego, cars, cutlery, etc

O     Polystyrene tiles (lino printing without danger!)

O     Draft excluder (block printing)

O     Card

O     Crayons

O     Paint

printing1Getting Started:

  1. Secure sheet of newspaper on table with masking tape.
  2. Secure acetate sheet on newspaper by taping all 4 sides with masking tape
  3. Squirt a little ink along the top of the acetate
  4. Roll out a thin film/layer of ink with roller on the acetate
  5. Now you are ready to print!

printing 2Monoprinting:

  1. Draw a design/picture into the ink on the acetate sheet.
  2. Press a sheet of paper over the ink and smooth over.
  3. Peel back and admire your print!
  4. You have just created a monoprint!


printing3Block Printing with Draft Excluder:

O     Create a design/picture using the draft excluder on a piece of card

O     Remember if you want to print a word you must stick the draft excluder down in a mirror image of the word.

O     Carefully roll the ink onto the draft excluder, avoid the card if possible


printing4Lino Printing Without the Danger (Impressed Printing):

O     Using a biro, pencil or wrong end of a paint brush draw your design into the polystyrene.

O     Try not to punch through the foam.

O     Roll ink all over the tile

O     The grooves caused by drawing should stay ink free.

O     Flip tile upside down and press down onto paper

O     Peel back to reveal your print!

printing5Wax resist:

O     A great activity for all class levels

O     Draw a pattern, design or picture with wax crayons – lean heavily on crayon!

O     Paint over drawing with watered down paint

O     *Paper Batik – cover an entire page in heavy wax crayon – colours or picture.  Scrunch page up into tight ball.  Flatten out. Paint over with dark watered down paint.  Paint sticks to cracks and creates an antique effect.

printing6Found Objects:

O     Anything you can dip in paint or ink that will make a mark can be used in printing.

O     Some of my favourite items include: lego, little cars, wine corks, sponges, scouring pads, fabric such as hessian, plastic blocks and shapes and cutlery.

O     Patterns, or pictures can be created with these items.

printing7Body Parts:

O     Handprints, finger painting, footprints etc are all very valid forms of printing and not just for junior classes!

O     Use markers or pens to add details such as eyes or antennae to finger prints.

O     Create a gorgeous class montage of handprints at the beginning of the year, or use autumn colours to print hands in the form of leaves on a tree!

printing8Fold-over Prints:

O     Again, this is not just for the junior classes

O     Create lovely effects by mixing a variety of colours to create butterflies

O     Encourage the children to be creative in how they place the ink on the page before folding it over in order to make different shapes!

O     Great for teaching symmetry in maths!


O     Rubbings are a very simple, hassle free form of printing.

O     Rubbings can be taken of a wide variety of things – leaves, bark, walls, fabrics, wall plaques, shapes, etc

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