I had a super time at Art Scouts hands-on workshop for elementary art teachers, held July 8-9, 2016 in historic Franklin, TN. I completed 14 projects (clay, weaving, printmaking, weaving, needle felting, painting, collage) which I can immediately use in my arts room back home. Here are some of the fabulous printmaking projects:
Printmaking projects include marker prints, sun prints, Gelli prints and sandpaper prints.
I loved the colorful leaf sun prints. We used watered-down fabric paint and cotton muslin. I found instructions on the Craftiments blog. I never would have tried this own my own…so glad I got to do it at Art Scouts! I will definitely be trying this with my kindergarteners on a sunny (non-windy!) day this year.
It was fun to meet a lot of art teachers from around the U.S. Art teachers really know how to get in the spirit. Check out the fashion:
Art scout fashion: the paint palette hair clip was our needle felting project.
I hope the Art Scouts offer the workshop in the future! I definitely recommend it for elementary art teachers.
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 post – it 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.
Suminagashi Marble Print kit (available at Amazonand Blick)
paper** to fit basins
palette with wells
newspaper to project tables and skim surface of water after printing
horizontal drying space
smocks or aprons
(**Note: 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 (ugh – too thin. It ripped).
We tried two types of printing: alternating concentric colors (I call them ‘tree rings’) prints, and float paper prints (intense colors).
Concentric ‘tree rings’ prints
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. (NOTE: 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’ prints.
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 prints’ after 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.
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 Japan’ art + cooking camp. Here are our other art and cooking projects:
(note: this post contains compensated affiliate links. Which means if you buy the rubber fish, I get a small commission. The rubber fish rock, BTW. They last forever, and you can share them with other teachers).
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!). Pull the print.
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. Let dry.
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.
Isn’t it wonderful when you have time to make your own art? I experimented with mono printing this week as part of my homework for the Artsy Book Club. I used Shrinky Dink shrinkable plastic for my printing plate. It worked beautifully as a plate, plus I got to shrink it in the oven after I was done!
You’ll need wax pastels, frosted Shrinky Dinks, watercolor paper, and an oven.
Make a sketch on copy paper
Place the shrinkable plastic (AKA the printing plate) on top of the sketch
Trace sketch with wax pastel, then color background/negative space
Brush plastic with wet paintbrush to blend colors
Dampen paper in dish pan of water, blot in towel
Place dampened watercolor paper on plastic
Pull the print
Add more wax pastel (in select areas) to the wet print.
You can re-use the full size shrinkable plastic plate over and over; just re-color for every new mono print.
1. Monoprint onto watercolor paper. 2. Rework wet print with wax pastels 3. Rework plastic plate and shrink in oven.
Shrink the printing plate
Ready for even more fun? When you are done printing, re-color the Shrinky Dink printing plate and shrunk it in the oven.
Yes, that’s right: I shrunk my printing plate in the oven. It’s beautiful! The colors are concentrated and rich. Just follow the directions on the Shrinky Dink package.
This mono print was made with watercolor pencils onto a scrap of dampened mat board. Time to shrink the printing plate!
Monoprinting with watercolor pencils
I used Reeves Watercolor Pencils to trace an impressionist painting onto my frosted Shrinky Dink plate. Then I printed onto a scrap of dampened mat board.
The printing plate started as a 1/4 sheet (4″x5″) of Shrinky Dink plastic. After printing, the plate shrunk to 1.5″x2″ Student work.
Try a mini monoprint with the kids
I used a full 8″x10″ sheet of Shrinky Dink plastic for my architectural mono prints, and I had to shrink each plate individually. This is not practical at school. Instead, try a 1/4 sheet of shrinkable plastic for the printing plate. I can shrink about 7 at a time on a full size cookie sheet. This is also a great way to use up scraps of watercolor paper.
Relax and enjoy the process…
These mono prints are somewhat experimental. You never know exactly what you’ll get. Try not to get caught up in perfectionism. If a print is less than perfect, rework it.
Thanks to Col Art for the samples of Reeves Watercolor Pencils and Reeves Wax Pastels. Thanks to awesome art teacher/blogger Cassie Stevens for creating our Artsy Book Club!
What is the weirdest printing project you’ve ever tried?