Written by: Andrea Mulder-Slater
[Andrea is one of the creators of KinderArt.com]
You don't need a lot of expensive, hard to locate materials in order to teach printmaking. In fact, most of the lessons listed in KinderArt, make use of recycled materials that can be found in any home. If you are working in a classroom setting, simply make up a list of goodies that students can collect and bring in from home.
Basic Printmaking Supplies List:
- Old shirts or garbage bags with arm holes cut out of them to help keep clothing clean.
- Newspapers or plastic grocery bags will keep work surfaces clean.
- Ink. This is the substance that will be added to the printing plate. Water-based block printing ink can be purchased from any art supply or educational supply store. It can be used for most of the printmaking activities listed in KinderArt. If you don't have access to printing ink, you can substitute paint that is thick and sticky. If you have poster paint that is too thin, add some regular household flour or even white glue to thicken the paint.
- Old cookie trays or pieces of plexiglass. You will need several of these later on to use as ink trays.
- Soft rubber brayers. These are special printing rollers but you can also use small painting rollers instead.
- Printing surfaces. Construction paper, manilla paper, cartridge paper, newsprint, fabric etc.
- Sponges. Collect a variety of sizes, shapes and thicknesses.
- Rags. Any old fabric will do.
- Books and pictures with examples of prints.
- A source of water. This could be a sink or a bucket of water that is brought into the classroom as needed.
Printing Using a Brayer (roller):
Some of the lessons in KinderArt refer to
printing with a brayer. The directions for doing so are as follows:
- Place a small amount of ink on the plexiglass, cookie tray or glass sheet.
- Roll both ways to allow the roller to evenly pick up the ink. Roll until the ink comes up in little "points".
- Roll away from yourself slowly - to pick up ink.
- Roll toward yourself quickly - to remove excess ink.
- Once the roller is "inked", roll onto the printing plate. You probably have to go through this process several times before enough ink is placed on the plate.
- Once the printing plate or block is "inked", place paper on top and using either your hand or a wooden spoon, rub lightly over the surface of the paper.
- Remove paper and repeat process for more prints.
A Word About Paper:
There are so many different types of paper available from handmade to bond, the choices are endless. For printing lessons in a classroom setting, all you really need is white bond paper, manilla, newsprint or bristol board. If you have access to (and a budget for) special printmaking papers, you will notice a definite difference in the quality of printing. Rice, mulberry and watercolour papers all work extremely well with printmaking projects. Keep in mind however that with printmaking, you tend to go through a lot of paper. If you have papermaking facilities at your disposal, why not have your students make their own printmaking paper?
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