#191 – The Printers Plate -Literally


Today is day two of art with kids.  I spent the morning showing the kids a fun and affordable way to make prints.

The secret is Styrofoam.


I went to my local grocer and asked for some Styrofoam meat trays and they graciously obliged.

It then occurred to me, why not buy some Styrofoam plates.

The other investment I made was in clay tools. I also provided some different circle pen caps, chopsticks and anything else I could find to make a cool texture.


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I cut off the lips of the plates and sent them to work.  One set of engravings were fish, the other dogs.

What we quickly learned was that the lines need to be quite thick in order to provide an absence of paint.  A pencil line was sometimes too thin, but a chopstick line was very visible. It did seem the Styrofoam plates did better with small lines than the Styrofoam trays did.


Next I had the kids create back grounds for their prints.

It took some time to figure out how to apply the paint to the plates.  We tried foam brushes. First the paint was too thick, then too watery, but eventually we came to the right application.

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The best technique wound up being a brayer.  4inchBrayer[1]We put some paint in a tray and rolled it thin and evenly onto the Styrofoam plate.  Perfecto every time.  The older child was then on a roll.  She probably made twelve engravings, but fell in love with one.  It was a wolf howling at the moon, just like the subject she chose for her paper mache the day before.

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It was then fun to watch as the child put her own spin on the work.

The final pieces were wonderful.

On another note, the poor younger child’s paper mache kitty cat blew up! LITERALY!  The balloons both popped and the glued papers flew through their air like confetti.  Luckily this sweet little child had a great sense of humor.  Instead of falling apart and crying, she laughed!  We recreated another cat base and re-paper mached the structure.

We are now back on target.  I need some sunny days to dry the paper mache though.  It’s been wet for the past two days and the paper mache figures are still sopping wet.

Tomorrow I have a few more projects planned.   I better get some rest if I’m going to be able to keep up with them!


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