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Japanese Marbled Paper

29 Juli

Looking for a fun printing project? Want to try a Japanese technique? We made suminagashi marbled paper mono prints at my Japan-themed art camp this summer. The project was easy and very successful. No two prints were alike, and my campers loved the process.

Please see the Blick video tutorial at the end of the postit shows the entire process.

You will need a special marbling kit for this project. It costs about $15. You can use it to marble paper or fabric.

Aitoh Boku-Undo Suminagashi Marbling Kit – $14.98

från: Blick Art Materials


  • Basins for water
  • Suminagashi Marble Print kit (tillgängliga på Amazonoch Visa)
  • paper** to fit basins
  • small brushes
  • palette with wells
  • thread
  • newspaper to project tables and skim surface of water after printing
  • horizontal drying space
  • smocks or aprons

(**Notera: The best paper has little sizing. I didn’t want to buy expensive paper for art camp. We experimented printing with different types of paper. We tried copy paper, recycled drawing paper, and thin Japanese calligraphy paper (ughtoo thin. It ripped).

We tried two types of printing: alternating concentric colors (I call them ‘tree rings’) utskrifter, and float paper prints (intense colors).

Concentric ‘tree rings’ utskrifter

I was inspired by this EXCELLENT post from Julie Voight’s Art for Small Hands blog. Julie has ALL the instructions and lovely student examples for creating the beautiful concentric prints. You will need the palette and tiny, thin paintbrushes for this. Dip the brush in dye, and barely touch the water with the brush tips. Alternate colors. (NOT: SEE THE BLICK VIDEO AT THE END OF THE POST). This is a very neat process, and you only use a little bit of color (your $15 kit will last a very long time).

We created single and double prints.

‘Float paper’ utskrifter.

Bold! You need the reusable coated paper circles that come with the kit. You float the circles on the water, then aim drops of color at them straight out of the bottle.

To swirl and marble the ink, we experimented with blowing the floating ink, and dragging a single thread through it. We also tried second ‘ghost printsafter our initial prints.

We also printed onto some yellow paper stars I had left over from another project. The colored background looks great!

This used more dye than the concentric ring project. It can be a messier option. The kids had to squeeze the dye straight from the bottle, then recap the colors and put them down. Soon there was bright color on the outside of the tubes. Next time I will arrange some sort of stand so the tubes can stay upright (and uncapped) for the printing process.

Video tutorial

Here is a great 10 minute tutorial from Blick.

Give suminagashi a try. It truly is a no-fail project.


This project was part of my ‘Let’s Go To Japanart + matlagning läger. Here are our other art and cooking projects:

Plus tons of kids books about Japan!

Thanks to Dahra and Ilana, our fabulous teenage helpers for all their assistance at camp.

Japanska fiskdrake (Koinobori)

20 Juli

Koinobori fish kites

Vad är koinoborJag?

Koinobori are carp (koi) kites that are flown in Japan on Children’s Day (5 maj). The koi fish embodies the qualities that parents want for their children: courage, strength and determination. The holiday was formerly known as Boy’s Day, but now celebrates all children.

I Live in Tokyo by Mari Takabayashi covers the Japanese holidays and life in Japan month-by-month.

We learned about Children’s Day in the book I Live in Tokyo by Mari Takabayashi. The book covers Japanese holidays month-by-month. In Japan, families display koinobori on a flagpole: the top black fish is the father, the red fish is the mother, and the smaller fish are the children.

Koinobori are also flown in large group displays, as in this video. I love when the wind hits and koinobori actually look like they are swimming upstream.

The Art Project:

I saw this fabulous, simple koinobori project on Cassie Stephens blog. Klicka här for Cassie’s detailed instructions and gorgeous photos.


  • Roylco Japanese Carp Windsock kit
  • colored Sharpies
  • olja pastellfärger (especially white)
  • vattenfärg markörer (vi använde Crayola markörer) and/or
  • vattenfärger
  • Ziploc bags, two per fish, taped together to create a long rectangle
  • tejp
  • sprayflaska
  • white glue or hot glue
  • clothespins (to clamp the mouth until glue sets)
  • hålslag
  • ribbon or yarn for hanging


Decorate paper kites with colored Sharpies and oil pastel

Kids drew patterns, outlined eyes and scales, and created a border with oil pastels and colored Sharpies. To create white areas, color with white oil pastel to create a resist.

Color selectively with marker and watercolor


Next they added a some color with Crayola markers and watercolors. I emphasized they didn’t have to color in the whole fish as the markers and watercolors would diffuse when sprayed with water.

Kids colored paper koinobori with colored Sharpie, watercolor markers, and oil pastels.

Kids colored paper koinobori with colored Sharpie, vattenfärg markörer, and oil pastels.

Spray med vatten

Then the kids placed their kites on the long Ziploc ‘placematsand sprayed them with water. Some carefully tilted the setup so the colors would diffuse in a certain direction. Let dry on mats.


Koinobori paper fish kite drying on its double-Ziploc ‘placemat’. When sprayed with water, the Sharpie and oil pastel lines stayed crisp, while the watercolor marker diffused.

Glue and hang

After drying, I used hot glue to assemble the kites. I attached the cardboard strips that support the kites open mouth, and clipped each with a clothespin until set. I also used hot glue to close the back and part of the tail. Slutligen, we added three single hole punches to the cardboard mouth, and strung the kites with ribbon. All the instructions are included in the Roylco kit.


This project was part of my ‘Let’s Go To Japanart + matlagning läger. Here are our other art and cooking projects:

Plus tons of kids books about Japan!

Thanks to Dahra and Ilana, our fabulous teenage helpers for all their assistance at camp

Japanska Gyotaku Fisktryck

16 Juli


Gyotaku means ‘fish rubbingand is a printmaking technique traditionally used by Japanese fishermen to record their catches. It was the perfect project for my Japan-themed art camp.

We began by watching this brief video of Hawaiian gyotaku artist/fisherman Naoki.

The campers were really excited to start!


  • rubber Gyotaku Fish Printing Replicas (or fresh real whole fish)
  • black tempera cake, water and stiff brush
  • kopieringspapper
  • paper towels
  • krita pasteller
  • vattenfärger



We tried printing with thin Japanese paper and with copy paper. The thin paper wrinkled and copy paper stayed smooth. We also tried printing with liquid orange tempera.

Paint the fish with black tempera cake. Cover fish with copy paper and rub (don’t wiggle the paper!). Dra bläck.
If the fine details (such as scales) don’t show, try Naoiki’s method: re-coat the fish and then pounce with a balled up paper towel to remove some paint. Cover with copy paper and take another print. Låt torka.

Color the print with chalk pastels

In the video, Naoki hand-colors his gyotaku prints with watercolors. We used chalk pastels to add color to our fish. Campers blended the pastels with their hands or with tissues.

I love how they turned out!

Campers also had the option of painting or decorating the negative spaces with watercolor. I really think they did a nice job.

Projektet är inspirerat av this post at the Fine Lines blog.


This project was taught in my Japan-themed art + matlagning läger. Each day we made an art project and a cooking project.

Gyotaku Fish Printing Replicas

från: Blick Art Materials

KONST + Matlagning Camp – Let’s Go to Japan!

12 Juli


Jag har precis avslutat min årliga konst och matlagning läger. This year’s theme was ‘Let’s Go to Japan’. We did lots of FUN art and cooking projects. All the campers were 9-11 år.

Here’s a list of all the art and cooking projects we created:

Dag ett: koi fish kites (koi noburi) and bento box lunch
Dag två: suminagashi prints and decorated rice balls bento
Dag tre: cloisonne collage and Japanese crepes
Day four: gyotaku fish prints and mushi-pan steamed cakes
Day five: Beckoning cat charms and ‘octopusbento

Dessutom, we read a lot of wonderful books about Japan, and practiced Japanese hiragana writing with brush pens.

I’ll be writing a bunch of posts with much more detail, including all the recipes! Check back this week to find out more.


P.S. Want more art camp ideas? Check out my ‘Let’s Go to Parisart + cooking camp series from 2013. Click here to see more.

Ritning Weeds

2 Juni


Det är sista veckan i konst klass och vädret är härlig. För deras slutprojekt, den 5: e och 6: e klassare gjorde observations ritningar av ogräs i vår skola trädgård.


Varje elev väljer en ogräs från marken. De bör försöka hålla roten intakt. Ogräs får inte vara längre än papperet.

Clip papper att gå ombord, sedan klippa toppen av ogräs på den vänstra sidan av brädet (vänsterhänta barn ska klippa ogräs till höger).

Rita en skalenlig ritning av ogräs.
Börja med en lång stjälk linje. Markera placering blad med stammen linjen enbart korta rader. Rita sedan konturen av bladen. Titta noga på bladnerver och dra dem. Lägg blommor och rötter. Slutligen, rita oegentligheter, såsom bitmärken.

Vilka fantastiska sätt att avsluta konståret. Vi tränade vår ritning färdigheter och rensat trädgårdsgången. Bonus!

Glad sommar!



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