My Color is Rainbow – A Beginners Guide to Printmaking


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Have you read “My Color Is Rainbow” by Agnes Hsu of Hello Wonderful and illustrated by Yulia Gwilym? If not I certainly suggest it! It’s a story about Little White Arch… the little guy below… who takes us on a journey to discover color as he tries to figure out what color he could be. My little creatives absolutely love this book, and I thought it was a perfect one to use as we did a little exploration in color and printmaking.  We took a week and did one technique and color each day. It was such fun and a great learning experience, so I had to share! Lets begin our journey!

SET UP


Before we get started there are a few things you should take into consideration when setting up these print making activities with your little creatives.

  • Table Protection – These projects can often get messy, so its a great idea to cover your table with an old table cloth or some craft paper
  • Protective Gear – To protect those sweet threads your little has on give them a smock, old shirt, or if its warm enough have them strip down to their undies.
  • Finished Print Space – You’re going to need somewhere to put your finished prints. So make sure you have an extra table, floor space or hanging wire available to put the finished prints. Never under estimate the amount of printing they’ll want to do either!
  • Hand Wipes – It’s always a wise idea to have some wipes or paper towels near by should something go wrong or your little needs to wipe their hands while working. Making sure your sink is nice and clean for cleanup afterwards is also something I highly recommend.
  • Book Stand – If you’re following along with the book it’s super handy to have a book stand to place to book in for your creatives to look at and pull inspiration from. If you want to try your hands at making your own books stand there’s a pretty cool and simple tutorial here.
  • Time – I would allow at least an hour for each project. It’s definitely one you’re going to want to join in with as well, make your own prints while helping your little creatives make their own. They will love to spend the time with you and you’ll be surprise what you learn from them!

 

RED AND LOVING : FINGER PRINTING


We started out our adventure in print making with our own prints, our finger prints. I thought this was a perfect pairing for ‘red and loving’, since one way to show our love is with our hands. We can give a helping hand, or hold someone’s hand to show them that we love them. It was also a great way to explore the prints we carry with us everywhere.

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  • Ink Pad
  • Paper
  • Paper – to cover the table
  • Fingers, and possibly hands or other body parts 

1. PRESS one finger in the ink.

2. ROLL or press your finger on the paper. Do this gently and slowly to get a good print. Try another print without going back to the ink pad. Did you get a better print? or was it too faint?

3. REPEAT Slowly use other fingers, see what shapes and patterns you can make just using your fingers. My little creatives then extended this to their hands (of course).

DISCUSS: What shapes do you see in your fingerprints? Do your fingerprints look the same as someone else’s? What are some ways we can show love with our hands?

TIP: If you still have ink on your hands after washing them, use a pumice stone to get the ink off.

 

ORANGE AND FRIENDLY: COOKIE SHEET MONOPRINTING


I chose cookie sheet monoprinting for ‘Orange and Friendly’ since cookies are meant to be shared with a friend. Monoprinting is a form of printmaking that has lines or images that can only be made once. In this case we’ll draw our image on the cookie sheet and pull a print one time. My little creatives had such fun with this, and I’m sure yours will too!

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1. SQUEEZE some paint onto the baking sheet, per the picture below. We used 2 different types of orange. Start with a small amount and add, as you need, its better to start off with to little than too much.

2. ROLL the paint with the brayer. You can let your little creative do this they will love it! Roll it until the paint is fairly even across the surface. On our first try we rolled quite a large area of paint, then adjusted it to be a bit smaller than our paper and quite liked how it turned out.

3. DRAW with the Q-Tip.

A TIP: Have a play around, see what happens when you use the Q-Tip like a pencil, or when you press it to make dots. What if you use it lying flat with both ends touching the surface. If your creative doesn’t like what they drew, no worries, they can roll the brayer over and start again.

          

4. PRESS your paper down, evenly if you can, all over.

5. PULL back your paper to reveal your print. This part is best done slowly if possible, but definitely something you want your little creative to experience on their own. Revealing a print is pure magic!

6. REPEAT As you can see from our 3rd picture we did quite a few prints. The bottom ones were our first attempts, I think we used to much paint to begin with, and rolled too large of a paint area, but we figured it out by the end!

DISCUSS: What are some friendly images you can draw? My little creatives liked ‘hearts’ and ‘snow’ as they could invite a friend to play in the snow. Mr. 6 Also drew Little White Arch, our friend from the book.

          

 

YELLOW AND HAPPY: DIY STAMPING


For Yellow and Happy we had to go with stamping, I mean who isn’t happy when stamping? These DIY stamps are the best for little hands and so much fun to make and stamp with!

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1. GATHER some fun textures to print with, we used the ones below.

2. CUT your cardboard a little bigger than you want your stamp to be.

3. HOT GLUE the textures onto the cardboard.

4. CUT your paper roll. This will be the stamp handle. We used a toilet roll and cut it in half.

5. HOT GLUE the paper roll to the back of the cardboard.

6. SQUEEZE out your paint onto a tray or plate, or onto the back of a paper bag like we did. Use your paint brush to even out the paint, so you have a thin layer of paint to stamp with.

7. PRESS your stamp in the paint.

8. STAMP away. Experiment with how much paint you need on your stamp to get a good print.

DISCUSS: What’s your favorite texture to stamp with? What happens when you layer the stamps?

 

 

GREEN AND HELPFUL: LEAF PRINTING


The stars aligned when we decided to do Green and Helpful as it was my son’s Boy Scout trip, and we were going on a nature hike. Hello nature stamping! I was initially thinking of doing leaf rubbings, but wanted to try something new, so we tried this method which was just super duper cool!

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1. PICK some leaves. Get a good variety of shapes, sizes and textures.

DISCUSS: How are the leaves different. What is the difference between the front and back of the leaf. What leaf do you think will give the best print?

2. COLOR the back of your leaf. This has to be done very gently. I colored the back of the leaves for Ms. 4 and Mr. 2, but Mr. 6 did his own.

3. PRESS the leaf down on your paper and cover with some wax paper. The wax paper will help keep your leaf down and help it from ripping when you press on it. Make sure to give it a good press or gentle rub over the whole leaf.

4. PULL the leaf off to reveal the print.

          

 

BLUE AND PEACEFUL: STYROFOAM RELIEF PRINTING


Styrofoam printing was a must for our rainbow printing session, and I thought it would fit the Blue and Peaceful theme quite nicely. In the book the blue world is underwater and filled with the coolest looking underwater creatures, so I thought we could create our own underwater creatures on our styrofoam sheets.

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1. CUT out a rectangle shape from your styrofoam plate or tray. If you’re using scratch foam you can skip this step.

2. DRAW on your plate. Use the ball point pen or back of a paint brush (like we did) to draw some shapes. It’s quite a lovely sensation drawing on styrofoam, you should definitely make sure to try it yourself too.

DISCUSS: Blue and Peaceful. This page of the book took us under the sea.  My little creatives loved looking at the images on the page and replicating them, and designing their own under water characters. You can also ask your little creatives what are some other peaceful images they can think of?

3. SQUEEZE a small amount of paint at the top of your tray or plate (the one you’re using to roll paint on) and then evenly coat the brayer. You don’t want to have too much paint, it should be a thin ‘sticky’ coat.

4. ROLL your brayer over your foam plate. Once coated the tray should have a thin sticky layer over it.

5. PRESS your paper down on your plate, OR your plate on your paper. We did it both ways, see what works best for you. When pressing you want to make sure you rub the whole surface of your styrofoam ‘printing plate’.

          

6. PULL back your paper to reveal your print! This is seriously the squeely part.

7. REPEAT Have a look to see what worked and what didn’t work and repeat the process to pull another print.

 

PURPLE AND MAJESTIC: ALUMINUM FOIL MONOPRINTING


Purple and Majestic seemed to suit itself perfectly for aluminum foil printing, especially since foil is silver, which, lets face it, is practically gold thus pretty much royal. So it was settled.

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1. CUT your foil to be slightly smaller than your paper.

2. TAPE down your foil to your work surface, or if you have it a piece of spare cardboard.

3. PAINT your image on the foil.

4. PRESS your paper down over the foil, and gently rub over the image you just painted to get a good print.

5. PULL back the paper to reveal your majestic print.

          

6. REPEAT You can also do the “Orange and Friendly Cookie Sheet Monoprinting” technique on the foil.

DISCUSS: What are some majestic images. Why is purple thought of as a Royal color?

 

RAINBOW PRINTING:


Now that we’ve explored all the rainbow colors and printing techniques it’s time to combine them! You can use use left over pieces from the previous projects, or create new ones. Feel free to change the colors around too. Now that you’ve given your little creatives the tools to knowledge of how to print, let them experiment and try it out for themselves.

TIP: To keep the bright rainbow colors and avoid ‘Rainbow Brown’ let the paint dry before applying the next layer.

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this series we really had a most wonderful time taking Little White Arch on our color exploration of print making.

 

MY TAKE AWAY:


It was really lovely exploring each color one at a time. It made me and my children really appreciate the color. We used different shades of the color to give it a little variety, but still, it was nice to just focus on blue, or yellow. I also loved doing this activity with my children. It was a perfect project to do together. I loved seeing their un-tainted view of print making and what they could do with the tools given, they really inspired me to try new things. I think we might have to try this again over the summer!

DO TELL: Leave a comment below


  • What was your favorite printing technique?
  • What other print techniques do you like?
  • What’s your favorite color?! Mine is yellow… no blue! hmm… no green… but then again I do love a good purple…ooo and what about turquoise?! and peach?! 😉

IMAGES TO SHARE:


 

 

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