Printmaking is an engaging process! It provides the magical challenge to think in reverse and the instant gratification of creating art multiples as images, textures, and patterns are transferred from one surface to another.

It’s a great activity to engage multiple senses, especially touch and sight, as artists find and design their own tools from materials found all over the house.

For this activity, experiment with a variety of materials, tools and methods for printmaking! Find new, creative ways to use and combine everyday items and recycled materials and explore their properties with paint.

Check Out Sparks Workshops

If you haven’t yet, check out the Sparks Workshops at the Children’s Museum of Tacoma and the Children’s Museum at JBLM. The theme for this month’s workshops is printmaking, and our friends have been using a wide variety of materials and paint to make all sorts of colorful creations!

Interested in joining us? Check out our scheduled days and times below! No registration is necessary to participate.

Children’s Museum of Tacoma:

Every Friday: 10 – 11:30 a.m.

Every first Saturday of the month: 10 – 11:30 a.m.

Every third Thursday of the month: 6 – 7:30 p.m.

Children’s Museum at JBLM:

Every second Sunday of the month: 10 – 11:30 a.m.

Activity Prep

Printmaking with paint can get a bit messy, so don’t forget to place some cloth or newspaper down to protect your table and other surfaces.

While you can complete this activity using normal paint, it can get a bit messy, so why not make your own washable paint? And good news: you might have everything you need to make it at home already!

Begin by mixing 2 parts dishwashing liquid and 1 part cornstarch, then adding food coloring drop by drop until you get the desirable color. This creates a delightfully colorful compound that is easier to clean with water than normal paint.

Start Printing!

Use any objects that you and your child can find at home! Some great options include:

  • Legos
  • Aluminum cans
  • Bottlecaps
  • Crumpled paper
  • Potato mashers
  • Forks
  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Styrofoam
  • Leaves

Apply paint to your object either by dipping it or by brushing the paint on with a paintbrush. Then, place it paint-side-down and apply pressure before lifting it back off. Experiment with different amounts of pressure to see what changes!

Consider also combining or altering found objects in new ways. For example, what happens when you wrap string or rubber bands around objects before printing?

Ask Questions

As you and your child are printing, consider asking some investigation questions about the activity to help them think more deeply about the activity.

  • Did you expect this object to make this print?
  • Why does the same object make different prints depending on how hard you press?
  • How does the print change if you move the object around?
  • How does the amount of paint on the object change its print?