Printmaking is a favorite process of mine because there are just so many amazing variations. These block wood prints take a traditional printmaking idea and put a simple, kid friendly spin on it.
What do you need….
Gather up some small scraps of wood. Any odds and ends will work. Look for pieces that have an obvious grain, even knots are good, unusual shapes are a bonus. Stay away from engineered wood that is pressed together, as it won’t have the cool grain texture that real wood creates when printed.
Grab the washable markers, a spray bottle of water, and some paper towels. You’ll also need paper to print on. Plain white lightweight copy weight paper will work just fine for this. It’s helpful to have larger paper to mount the wood prints on. We used this larger 18 x 24 black construction paper but feel free to use whatever you have available!
This process goes more smoothly if the wood surface is slightly damp. Spray a little water on the wood first and use a finger to spread it out. This is a great time to chat about the element of texture that’s evident in the wood. Check out this free printable about texture for a thorough definition and a place for them to demo their own understanding.
Once the wood is slightly damp grab a washable marker and color the entire surface. Use one color or layer them. The colors will blend together because of the dampness. Use a spray bottle to dampen a paper towel. Wipe a white piece of paper with a damp paper towel so it is slightly damp before pressing it on top of the markered wood block. Rub the paper gently to be sure it is completely touching the wood and the marker transfers completely to the paper.
Lots of wood prints can be done on one paper but it can be hard to get the wood block positioned precisely. For that reason I recommend printing lots of wood prints and then cutting them out. The prints become like little building blocks perfect for building up an architectural collage. Take time to play with the pieces; building, starting over, and building again.
When your artist is complete use a glue stick to fix their wood print pieces to a background paper. Encourage overlapping to create a sense of space and even allowing pieces to extend off the paper.
Adding details, building a city….
Encourage your kiddos to think about their wood print pieces as the building blocks of a city. They’ve got the basic building shapes but they need to add some details and personality. Grab a black permanent marker and some details to your collage. You could also add white paint markers or chalk markers if you had them and some construction paper scraps.