kindergarten architecture printmaking

I love introducing printmaking to the kindergarten artists. The printmaking process is such a magical one and the kinders get completely absorbed in experimenting, collaborating, and creating. I see kindergarten for 30 minutes each week. That is not a lot of time to introduce the lesson, admire a wiggly tooth, demonstrate the technique, have the class create, reflect, and clean up! But during this project, I really do enjoy standing back and watching moments of creativity and collaboration go off like a fireworks show.

We focus on famous local Saint Louis architecture for this project but Maggie had different ideas. She really wanted to do Big Ben:) She tried really hard all by herself to make the numbers backwards on her printing plate (because I had warned them that their names would appear backward if they wrote them on the top of the plate)- so clever! I've since added some famous world architecture references for our young globe trotters.

I show them how to print one time on the middle of the paper. It usually takes them one print before someone realizes they can put multiples on a page. And that student shares this idea with another student and so on. If I had told them to do this they would have missed the joy of discovery. These moments are like fireworks that start off with a squeal of delight and then spread around the room as discoveries are shared.

I love how this one fills up the entire paper.

And this one is the Chain of Rocks Bridge. It looks like the bridge and its reflection in the water.

Another discovery I wait for is for someone to ask if they can use more than one color. I watch even more fireworks of collaboration and experimentation go off!

A natural printmaker at heart! This artist really collaborated to collect some of his favorite prints from his friends all on one paper.

Great night and day scene.

This takes two art times to complete. The first art time is spent drawing on the printing plate and the second time is devoted to printing. Fireworks show included!

Even their leftover printing plates look great!


Mary said...

What a great post! I love how you let your students discover things on their own. The original plates are gorgeous with all the different colored paint stains!

Kate Eshelman said...

I love these! Thanks for sharing!

Kate Eshelman

Hope Hunter Knight said...

nice! i haven't tried styrofoam prints at that age - you are a brave soul. they did a fantastic job - this is my favorite age to let loose with "experiments" like you mentioned, because they are almost always happy with the results.

Chesterbrook Academy Elementary said...

what a great lesson in printing.
Your students did an amazing job.
I love the variety of the prints as well as the vibrant colors.

Amie Plumley said...

So nice - I need to get brave and try this with my kids - I know they will love it. I'm already thinking of a unit we are doing that it might fit into. I'll let you know how it goes.

slim pickins said...

these are beautiful! i love printmaking, but we've mostly just used small erasers. are these styrofoam plates? or rubber pieces?

Shannah said...

Thanks all!

Hello slim pickins:) These are styrofoam plates because it is so much easier for the kinders to work with. I know lots of teachers who find these from recycled food holders. If you are working with older kiddos you can use a lino/rubber plate made super soft just for kids. My 6th graders work well with these and can use the carving tools easily on this material.

dmasse said...

the plates themselves look so rich and vibrant:)

Kaely said...

I use craft foam for printing with little ones. It works really really well. I buy it in big packs, pre-cut 5x7 rectangles at Hobby Lobby. I like it better than Styrofoam because you can press into really hard without tearing through the foam. It also cuts really nicely without leaving jagged edges.

Rebecca said...

These are so beautiful!

Anonymous said...

I love how these prints have a patina like effect. I have done a lot of styrofoam printing with my elementary students, and I have used colored background paper as well as cream and white, but I have to say the black and brown paper your students used make a huge difference in the end product. I do a lot of block building and architectural work with my students, but I hadn't thought about including printmaking in our studies. Very cool! Thank you for sharing! Your student's prints are very inspirational!
I have saved and cut up styrofoam egg cartons and take out boxes, but you can also by foam sheets through Dick Blick in large packages which makes life easier when you have a lot of students.

Shannah said...

Thanks for the nice comments:)

Definitely going to try the craft foam next time. Thanks for the tip!

Jen said...

Pretty impressive for little Kinders. I also love the colors they printed with. So rich and vivid.

Also, just want to introduce myself. I'm Jen, from drawthelineat.blogspot.com

Pretty great stuff on here!

Anonymous said...

hi there! this is awesome! was hoping to do this for my kinder class too. how exactly is this done? is that crayon wax? paint? please please give me materials and procedure :) thank you so much!!!

Shannah said...

Hello Jen, Thanks for stopping by:) I enjoy your blog!

And hello there, sure here is the short version but let me know if you have any other questions.

dull pencils
printmaking ink
barren tool (optional)
black paper

day one, 30 minute class time:
Intro the process of printmaking. I have reference photographs, I show them all before handing them out (based on who responds to what, if we have two people wanting the same they rock paper scissor or share).

Students make a quick sketch if they want but most are successful with their first try on the foam (I see them for limited time so getting this part done in time is essential). Use dull pencils so it won't poke through if they press too hard. I demonstrate what pressing too hard or too soft looks like. No words or it will print backwards. Name on back.

Day two, 30 minute class time:
Demonstrate procedure.

We use printmaking ink but you could also use tempera paint in a pinch. Just make sure to try it out first and make sure it isn't too watery. Printmaking ink is best though.

I put one or two brayers on each table and they work together as a team to take turns and help each other with the process. Normally we have assigned seats but I let them float around to choose the color they want. I put different colors at each table.

I put the colors on a large piece of paper. Just one line of color will do. Use the brayer to spread it out. They usually do a good job of this. I keep the tubes and put more out as they need it. Tell them to listen for the snake hissing sound as they roll so they know the brayer is ready to go. They put the brayer on the foam and then press the plate face down on to the paper. Turn the paper around and rub with the flat of the hand. Lift and viola! I have them sign their name and put it on the drying rack. I have a class of 12-15 and they can each make at least 3 prints in the time we have.

Hope this helps:)