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Puzzle Prints

Puzzle Prints
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Kids can use old puzzle pieces to create fun puzzle prints.

By Andrea Mulder-Slater

What You Need:

  • old puzzle pieces
  • white glue
  • cereal box cardboard
  • safety scissors
  • paint or printmaking ink
  • paintbrush or printmaking brayer (or roller)
  • Basic printmaking supply list (see below)
  • Printing with a brayer instructions (see below)
  • A word about paper (see below)
  • construction paper

What You Do:

    1. Talk about printmaking and how when you make a print, you can make several of the same image.
    2. Cut a piece of cereal box down to a nice size (about 6″ x 8″)
    3. Take several puzzle pieces and arrange them on the cereal box cardboard. The pieces can be arranged to create a picture, or they can just be laid down in a random pattern.
    4. Once you are happy with the way the pieces look, glue them down and let the glue dry for an hour or so.
    5. If you have a printmaking brayer, follow the directions below for printing with a brayer. If you don’t have a printmaking brayer, use a paintbrush to cover the puzzle pieces with paint (or ink).
    6. Lay a sheet of paper on top of the painted puzzle pieces and rub gently with the palm of your hand.
    7. Remove the paper and sign the print and add the numbers 1/4
    8. Do 3 more prints so you have four all together. The second print should have the numbers 2/4; the third soul have the numbers 3/4 and the fourth should have the number 4/4 (of course you can do more than four, but then you have to number accordingly).



Basic Printmaking Supplies List:

  • Old shirts or garbage bags with arm holes cut out of them to help keep clothing clean.
  • Newspapers or plastic grocery bags will keep work surfaces clean.
  • Ink: This is the substance that will be added to the printing plate. Water-based block printing ink can be purchased from any art supply or educational supply store. It can be used for most of the printmaking activities listed in KinderArt. If you don’t have access to printing ink, you can substitute paint that is thick and sticky. If you have poster paint that is too thin, add some regular household flour or even white glue to thicken the paint.
  • Old cookie trays or pieces of plexiglass. You will need several of these later on to use as ink trays.
  • Soft rubber brayers. These are special printing rollers but you can also use small painting rollers instead.
  • Printing surfaces. Construction paper, manilla paper, cartridge paper, newsprint, fabric etc.
  • Sponges. Collect a variety of sizes, shapes and thicknesses.
  • Rags. Any old fabric will do.
  • Towels.
  • A source of water. This could be a sink or a bucket of water that is brought into the classroom as needed.
  • Paintbrushes.

Printing Using a Brayer (roller):

  • Place a small amount of ink on the plexiglass, cookie tray or glass sheet.
  • Roll both ways to allow the roller to evenly pick up the ink. Roll until the ink comes up in little “points”.
  • Roll away from yourself slowly – to pick up ink.
  • Roll toward yourself quickly – to remove excess ink.
  • Once the roller is “inked”, roll onto the printing plate. You probably have to go through this process several times before enough ink is placed on the plate.
  • Once the printing plate or block is “inked”, place paper on top and using either your hand or a wooden spoon, rub lightly over the surface of the paper.
  • Remove paper and repeat process for more prints.

A Word About Paper:

There are so many different types of paper available from handmade to bond, the choices are endless. For printing lessons in a classroom setting, all you really need is white bond paper, manilla, newsprint or bristol board. If you have access to (and a budget for) special printmaking papers, you will notice a definite difference in the quality of printing. Rice, mulberry and watercolor papers all work extremely well with printmaking projects. Keep in mind however that with printmaking, you tend to go through a lot of paper. If you have papermaking facilities at your disposal, why not have your students make their own printmaking paper?

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