Marker prints are one of those projects that would make an innocent bystander think that you, the teacher, really know what you’re doing. Don’t worry- no technical skill or extensive knowledge required. Marker prints are easy and the kids think they are magical. Chances are you have everything you need to do these with your child, they require little prep work and the results are awesome!!
Marker prints are a little “ish”….
For those of you that have read other posts in my art class tab you know that I love to share books that incorporate visual arts. Children’s lit is such an accessible and fun way to introduce art concepts to kids. I almost always share a book when I teach art class at our homeschool co-op. During the rare class I don’t have book the kids really miss it!
This weeks book was Ish by Peter Reynolds. While this book isn’t exclusively about printmaking I think it relates so well! Print making with kids is not an exact art. I’ve seen more than one child melt when their print didn’t turn out exactly as planned. Ish emphasizes creating for the love of creating, not perfect results.
Printmaking creates lots of “ish.”
If you don’t already have these materials you can get everything you need at the dollar store!
You’ll need any colorful watercolor markers- think Crayola washable markers.
Styrofoam- I bought rectangular Styrofoam trays from the deli counter from the local supermarket for ten cents each. You could also use Styrofoam plates.
Pencils – these Ticonderoga pencils are kind of the Cadillac of pencils.
Sponge- any small clean sponge, or even a damp paper towel will work.
White paper- any quality paper will do.
There is practically none -Yay! The only real prep work involves cutting the edges of the Styrofoam trays or plates. What you’re shooting for is a relatively flat, smooth piece of Styrofoam for the kids to use as their printing plate. Any size of printing plate will work. Experiment to see what you like.
Creating a printing plate
We start with small pieces of Styrofoam about 2 inches square. I encourage the kids to draw a relatively simple design in the Styrofoam. We talk about dragging the pencil through the Styrofoam as opposed to punching it down. We want the lines of their design to be carved down into the Styrofoam.
A square printing plate creates the ability to rotate the design and create more intricate designs. Printing the same plate multiple times is relatively quick and easy- just add some more marker before each print!
After they have carved their outlines using a pencil the kids are ready to add color. Using washable markers they color the parts of the Styrofoam that remain raised. There is no reason to try to add color into the Styrofoam lines; although lots of kids wanted to!! It’s kind of like coloring in the spaces in a coloring book!
Marker print magic….
I use a clean, damp sponge to wipe down a plain piece of white paper. The paper should be just slightly damp. The colored printing plate should be sitting on the table face up. Kids will take white paper and lay it damp side down on the marker. They should lightly rub all over to make sure that the marker transferred fully to the paper.
Peel off the paper and the print is finished. Some kids could get more than one print each time they marketed it up. The printing plate can be recolored and used over and over! The kids all wanted to take theirs home to recreate the magic!!
These mini prints turned out great. They were so fun and really gave the kids a chance to experiment with the process. Knowing that they were just “practice” took the pressure off! We did these tiny squares as a trial run.
More marker prints yet to come!
One of my favorite things about this project was how excited the kids were to take their printing plates home! They knew the process and had the same materials at home to recreate it. I’m positive there was more marker prints being made that night!