Selasa, 29 November 2011

Block Printing Projects for Elementary School

Woodcuts were widely used in early printing.

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Block printmaking is an educational and enjoyably messy activity for elementary school students. Traditionally, block prints are made by carving designs into durable materials such as wood or linoleum, which are then inked and pressed onto paper or fabric. However, the carving tools used in this process tend to be too dangerous for young children. It's generally preferable to use soft materials like potatoes or soap bars. Alternatively, you can use safe commercial products such as scratch foam, which are available at most art-supply stores and can be carved with a pencil. The images will print in reverse, so the text and images must be carved backward to print properly.

Related Searches: Story Illustrations

Choose a favorite story or fairy tale and ask the children to create illustrations with a sharp pencil and a piece of scratch foam. Print out a copy of the story for each child with spaces for block prints. Have each child stamp her illustration in the assigned space. Alternatively, the children can print their designs on separate pieces of paper, cut them out and glue them onto the story pages. Bind each copy into a small book and have the children collaborate on the cover art.


Students can decorate T-shirts or other clothing by block-printing their designs on the fabric with a water-based fabric ink. For best results, have them use a soft but sturdy alternative to a linoleum block such as Soft-Kut. Children can create multiple blocks for different colors, or print a single design in multiple colors. If they want to use multiple designs or colors, they should allow each design to dry for at least 15 minutes before additional printing. Put several layers of newspaper inside the shirt to keep the ink from soaking through from one side to the other.

Vegetable Prints

Vegetable prints require no carving, which makes them a good choice for elementary school students. Instead, the child simply cuts vegetables and fruits in half and inks them to produce natural patterns. Good candidates for such block printing include green peppers, carrots, leeks, cucumbers, broccoli and citrus fruits. Provide trays of tempera paint, preferably matching the color of the vegetables you chose. Seeds should be removed before inking the vegetables -- the children can draw them in after the print dries. Possible uses for vegetable block prints include paper tablecloths for a picnic, informational posters on healthy diet choices or identification cards for vegetables planted in a school garden. This activity also provides an occasion to discuss important aspects of plant biology, such as the difference between fruits and vegetables.

Wrapping Paper

Bring a roll of butcher paper to class and give each student the opportunity to create a set length of wrapping paper with his own designs. Alternatively, have students collaborate on a single wrapping-paper design and give each child a segment when it's done. Potato printing is an ideal method for creating wrapping paper. A large potato is preferable, as it's easier to hold and offers higher definition. Children can use the same blocks to create matching gift cards.

ReferencesArts & Activities: Block Printing -- It's Elementary!Martha Stewart: Block-Printing T-ShirtsScholastic: Harvest PrintsMartha Stewart: Potato PrintsPhoto Credit ImagesRead Next:

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