Printmaking Techniques: Making Prints from Styrofoam

This is a technique on how to make simple prints with recycled items.   So great to be back again with another great art project for kiddos using recycled materials.

We are creating relief art (printmaking) by using a woodcutting technique on large sheets of styrofoam. These sheets came tucked between some shelving for some bookshelves we picked up over the weekend, but I’ve seen people make miniature versions using styrofoam from the grocery store (most meats comes on it, but so do portabello mushrooms and other veggies if you’re worried about germs).

Woodcutting is one of the oldest forms of art and a terrific project to introduce to your child. Have them practice creating various designs and then play with adding multiple colors to create a variety of final prints.

Fun fact: Each image created off of a single design is considered part of an edition. How fun would it be to number them, have your little artist sign them and ship them off to family and friends? What a great homemade gift!

Start by drawing by hand the design which will be printed. This time we did a dinosaur scene, but we have done large graphic designs in the past that turned out equally as cool. FYI- The larger the chiseled area, the more distinct your print will become.

Once your image is ready, use a sharp tool (we used a screwdriver) to chisel out the area that will not be inked. Ink the surface of your design taking care not to get too much paint in the chiseled area. Finally, place a sheet of paper on top and apply pressure to create the impression.

That’s it.   You can reuse the same chiseled styrofoam plate to print multiple images, I see some Thank You card making in our future!

Have you ever tried printmaking? What material did you use for your design?

10 Comments

  1. I’ve always known there should be a use for those giant pieces of styrofoam, but I hadn’t even thought of this! I have been saving up the small styrofoam containers to use for printmaking though. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. So smart Roopa! And far less mess I’m sure 🙂 I have one more piece, we’re going to give your technique a try. thanks for the comment!

  3. so very welcome Krissy, thank you for taking the time to comment!

  4. Such fun and most certainly on our to do list!

    Thank you for sharing on Kids Get Crafty! Great to see you there!

    Maggy & Alissa

  5. Looks like a lot of fun! Styrofoam is so cool.
    Visiting from TT&J

  6. Very cool project. I love the texture. My kids would love this, I just need to find some styrofoam. Visiting from TT&J. I know I follow you on Twitter but now I’m subscribing to your RSS. About time. I love your site design too. I’m going to look around.

  7. That is a great multi-sensory project! Thanks for linking up with Fun for Kids Friday. I hope you’re having a really nice weekend!

  8. I’m always looking for cool art projects for my youngest who enjoys art so much. I can’t wait to find some styrofoam for him to try this out. Thanks for sharing the technique!

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