Craft Foam Printmaking

Craft Foam Printmaking at

Materials: Craft foam; scissors; glue (Elmer’s or tacky); sturdy cardboard cut to size slightly smaller than paper; brightly colored construction paper*; block printing ink or tempera paint; brayer; glass or Plexiglas for rolling out ink. *I really like the Tru-Ray paper; it’s smooth and sturdy feeling.

I love printmaking, and I wanted to make sure to incorporate it into the preschool art explorers class I’m leading at our homeschool co-op this session. This activity was inspired by “Playful Prints” in What’s the Big Idea? by Joyce Raimondo, and it’s perfect for this age group, because it also involves cutting, something my preschoolers love to do. (Although I think it would work well for all ages. I enjoyed making a sample!) The steps are simple.

1. Cut out shapes from craft foam. Make sure they’re large enough that they won’t be too difficult to either glue down or ink. That was the only parameter I gave the kids; they cut out whatever shapes they wanted.

2. Glue the shapes down onto the cardboard, making sure to leave some negative space. Don’t overlap the shapes. Again, the kids glued them down whichever way they wanted.

gluing down foam

3. When the glue has dried (at least enough so the shapes won’t wiggle on the cardboard during inking), ink up the brayer and apply ink to the foam. Try not to get it on the cardboard.

inking the plate

4. Lay the paper on top and smooth over the back of it to make the print.

print with plate

That’s it! Depending on the age group, this technique could be used to make patterns, designs, or to depict a simple image or scene…or it could be kept abstract. Choosing brightly colored paper and black ink made for a really vibrant and striking print. This is deceptively simple, with fantastic results.

2 thoughts on “Craft Foam Printmaking

  1. Bells

    What I took from this is that pre schoolers love to cut. I’ve never seen Alice with a pair of scissors since all mine are grown up ones. I now need to know if she gets to try them at preschool! I will buy some kid scissors for her to learn with when she’s here. Thanks for that, it never occurred to me.

    1. amy Post author

      LOVE to cut…all the ones I’ve met anyway! One session of that class, I brought in a bunch of different papers and such, and they spent the whole time cutting. One girl cut craft foam into itty bitty teeny pieces, happy as a clam. (Why do clams have a reputation for happiness anyway? I’ve no idea!)

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