Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Poppy Printmaking

As we move forward to Remembrance Day I have been trying a few printmaking projects with the students.

This one was done on a black painted background but black construction paper would work.

This one is just on plain white paper.


- craft foam, white or lighter colours work best.  You could also use scratch foam or a foam plate or container
- pencil
- cardboard
- acrylic or liquid tempera paint
- paintbrush
- pencil crayons
- paper for printing on


I really like using craft foam for printmaking.  Kids can just draw on it with a pencil, pushing hard enough that they can feel the design with their fingertips.

Scratch foam also works good and if you can't get your hands on that you can cut the middle out of a foam plate or container.

Here I just drew out pieces of a poppy.  Flowers, leaves, buds, and centres.  Adding contour and texture lines will enhance the print.

I buy sticky foam.  I cut the shapes out, peel and stick to some cardboard, cut out the general shape from the cardboard and then add a handle to the back with more cardboard.

I use my glue gun to stick on the handle as I'm impatient and want to get printing right away.

You could also use a loop of masking tape and tape the foam to the cardboard if you don't have sticky foam.  You could also tape them to the clear Plexiglas blocks if you use those for printing.

You can use printing ink if you have it but I tend to use acrylic paint.

I add just a touch of water to help it flow.  Now you could use a brayer to apply or a paintbrush.

If using a paint brush make a circular motion when painting, that way you won't get brush marks on the print.

Flip stamp over, place where you want on design and press.

The second print from the stamp, (without reloading with paint) is called the ghost print.  Sometimes that is the better print.

I work with 2 pieces of paper and sometimes I mix first prints and ghost prints together in a composition.

Here I'm giving my stamp a spritz with water before doing the ghost as I waited too long between prints.

That one turned out pretty good!

Continue printing.  I added some stems with a paintbrush.  Printed on the leaves and buds.
Finally I added the centre in black.

When the print is dry you can add some extra details and shading with pencil crayons if you want.

Another great thing you can do with sticky foam is cut it into thin strips and "draw" out your image.  I used cardboard as the base.

This will give you an outline of your  image.

See you next time.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Alberta Postcards

This Fall I have done a lot of these 'postcard' projects.

It's an image that would be on a tourist postcard but we make it canvas sized.

I have made similar ones for the Taj Mahal and Machu Pichu that tie into the Grade 3 social studies curriculum.  These Alberta ones tie into social studies for Grade 2 and 4.  We looked at 3 regions, prairies, forests, and mountains.

The 'Jasper' moose one is a variation of the Moose in the wild projects I posted earlier.

You can take these techniques and apply them to whatever region you are studying. It just goes to show how versatile the drywall filler on cardboard technique is.


- recycled cardboard
- drywall filler
- substrate, canvas, cardboard or hardboard
- acrylic paint
- tacky glue, glue gun for the more stubborn pieces, (adult use only)
- black scrap paper for prairie scene
- printed text titles
- textured wallpaper or paper
- photos of animals


Using your substrate to measure how large your pieces should be, cut out the parts you wish to drywall.  We used a mountain, aspen tree trunks, and a grain elevator.

Apply a generous amount of filler on the cardboard.  You need to use the brown or grey side if you are using a cereal box. The coloured side has a shiny finish that the drywall won't stick to when just all flakes off.

I leave the pieces on wax paper to dry. (6 hrs - overnight)

You may find the pieces curl while they dry just gently bend them back the best you can.  The really curvy ones will get glued on with the glue gun.

To create the hay bales we cut out circles and with the glue drew in some spirals.  Leave overnight to let the glue dry.

I use tape with the younger grades to create a STOP guideline for painting.

All 3 regions need a nice blue sky.  We used turquoise acrylic.  With the canvas we wrapped the colour around the sides and the top.
When the kids reach the tape they STOP....or at least that's the theory.

When the drywall is dry it's time to paint.

For the aspen tree trunks we just sponged on some black and grey.

For the prairie one we painted the grain elevator red.

For the mountains we painted them black and grey.  You can leave the tops white for snow or sponge on some white once it has dried.

Remove tape from canvas.  You can place it above the line to help the kids with their horizon line when painting the ground.

We wrapped the colour around the sides again and the bottom edge.

Sponge on a few clouds, this is where you can sponge on that snow for the mountains as well.

For the mountain and forest regions we painted some textured wallpaper to make our trees.  You can also use textured paper or pass it thru the crimper.

We used a piece of cardboard to stamp in some lines for all 3 regions.

For the prairie and forest it was for the grass or crops.  For the Fall season we used yellow and brown.  While you have that yellow paint out you can paint those hay bales.

With the mountain scene we turned the cardboard horizontal and stamped a few lines in white and blue for the ripples on the lake.

Cut a good tree line out of the textured paper.  I tell the kids it's like shark teeth but we want a variety of sizes here.

For the forest glue the tree line in place and then the aspen trunks.

For the mountain we glue the mountain in place first, you may have to use the glue gun for the curvy ones.

The tree line sits at the bottom of the mountain at the water's edge.

This is from another project but shows how we stamped leaves onto our aspen trees.  For fall we used autumn colours.  I have a set of unsharpened pencils that I use for this.

For the prairie, glue the grain elevator near the horizon line.  We used scraps of black paper for the roof lines and door.  I printed off the Alberta wheat pool sign.  You can email me at

if you need the logos and I can send them to you.

Glue on the hay bales.

We then added our titles that we printed off from the computer and our animals.

For the titles I added a quick paint wash for colour.

That's it.