Sunday, March 27, 2011

"Etching" with Scratch-Foam



Packets of Scratch-Foam can be purchased from art supply stores. It is the same type of material that vegetables are often packed in at the grocery. So if you have something that you can re-use, all the better. I used a pen to draw the image of the house on my sheet of Scratch-Foam, making sure that I pressed hard enough for the pen point to make an actual impression in the foam. With the brayer I rolled water-soluble block printing ink onto my foam plate. I turned the plate over onto a sheet of paper and applied some pressure with the palm of my hand. As you can see the lines that you have pressed into the foam are the color of the paper that you are using. Very different looks can be achieved depending on the combination of the colors of both ink and your paper.

Friday, March 25, 2011

how to make your own stamp



Sheets of foam can be purchased at most art supply stores and they are very easy to cut. I drew this paisley onto the foam and used a pen to make the little dot designs. Using a glue stick I adhered the paisley to a block of wood. You can use acrylic paint or block printing ink applied with a brayer or a brush. Another alternative with small children is to use commercial ink pads. The stamps are a fun way to make your own wrapping paper.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Gyotaku Prints



At one time Japanese fisherman would make prints of their fish so that they could have a record of prized catches. These prints were made by pressing rice paper onto a fish that had been covered in ink. Making fish prints with children is a simple introduction to printmaking. You can use a fresh fish or you can purchase rubber replicas from art supply stores. The poor perch that I have pictured is missing a fin, but you'll get the idea. I've found that tempera paints work well and if you give the child 2 or 3 colors the prints will have a more dimensional quality. In the print pictured I used blue, yellow and some gold paint with sparkles, and printed it on a piece of canvas. You can use rice paper, newsprint or even paper towels.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Basic Instructions Gelatin Prints

1. To make your printing plate (beige rectangle in the middle of the photo of supplies) prepare 2 boxes of unflavored Knox gelatin following the instructions on the box. I used a 9x12 cake pan as the mold. After the gelatin becomes hard in the refrigerator you will be able to cut it into slabs, just like brownies, in the size that you would like your prints to be.

2. You can use either acrylic paints or water soluble ink and apply it to the surface of the gelatin slab with a brayer or a brush.

3. Place stencils, doilies, leaves, string, flowers....on top of the gelatin plate.

4. Gently press a sheet of paper on top of the plate.

5. Apply a different color to the gelatin plate along with other objects and print again on the same print.


This process requires a little trial and error and some unexpected results. When I did this printing project with a group of four year olds I gave them a whole stack of paper to work with and told them that some of their results would be disappointing, but that that was part of the process. By using more than one color you can achieve some interesting overlays. The gelatin plates can be washed and stored in the refrigerator for at least a week.