Printmaking is one of my favorite processes with kids because its just so simple and fun. Lego prints are a natural since Lego’s come in so many shapes and sizes! Prep work is slim since all you have to do is head over to the Lego bin and grab some black paint!
Since the subject of our prints is robots we started by reading the book Bitty Bot by Tim Mcanna. As we read we talked about how all of the robots in the book are created by adding together simple shapes. Small squares printed close to one another create larger shapes, and so on. We talked about some of the features that were common to the different robots in the book and how we might create shapes like these with Legos. This book was also great to assist in a quick review of a past lesson of warm and cool colors!
The materials needed for Lego prints are pretty simple.
You will need some paint, (tempera or acrylic,) craft foam or paper, some Legos, and markers.
Yay for easy, already have it kind of projects!
Acrylic vs. Tempera Paint
With my larger homeschool co-op art class I used tempera. I don’t like giving materials to other people’s small children that I know will ruin their clothes. With my own children I use acrylic with abandon. Tempera will produce fine results. It just tends to not be as crisp and cheap tempera paint will sometimes even crack off the page. This is our favorite acrylic paint and this is our favorite tempera.
What if I don’t have any craft foam?
We did our Lego prints on craft foam because the foam has just the right amount of “squish” to make the details of each brick really show up. This 10 pack of 9 x 12 white foam sheets is perfect! I did a couple of test runs on paper and the results were not bad at all! Stack up a couple layers of newsprint so your paper has a little give. If you are ready to do this project and realize you only have paper or just don’t want the added expense of the foam its still worth doing on paper!
Since we had already talked about shapes and layering of small shapes to create larger shapes while reading Bitty Bot by the time the kids got their Legos and foam they were ready to print! This project takes very little paint. I gave them a plastic plate that had a small amount of paint on it that was already spread out. That way they would have to work very hard to get more than a little paint on each block. (Some did work, very, very hard at this.)
When printmaking is done the Lego’s wash right off if you throw ’em in some water while you’re doing the rest of the clean up. And don’t ask me why I know this but DO NOT let any Lego’s go down your garbage disposal while scrubbing them.
The beauty of using one color of paint for printmaking is ease of prep work and clean up! But kids love color and now we’re going to add some! And it doesn’t get any easier than this!
Crayola washable markers are the easiest way to fill in all of those lovely openings. This 40 piece Ultra Clean Crayola Washable Broad Line Marker set gives plenty of color choices for a family or small class setting.
Color away, kids! I had a few kids that were unhappy with how many smears and smudges they had on their white background. In that case we cut those babies out and mounted them on a bright, new background.