Last week, I quickly shared about my thrift store find, Tomie dePaola’s Things to Make and Do for Valentine’s Day. When I got to this printmaking craft, I was really excited because I’ve done something like this before. I think it’s a really fun project–for kids and adults–and a good introduction to block printing without investing in a ton of materials.
Here are the instructions starring Tomie’s cute kids and cuter cat: A few notes:
- I know styrofoam is a horrible thing for the environment and a few cities in the U.S. are banning the use of styrofoam take-out containers. Think of this as re-purposing something evil. I got my styrofoam trays with fish and vegetables at Mitsuwa.
- I used a brayer because I already had one on hand from a printmaking class, but a rolling pin works just fine and may be even better for kids since it’s bigger and easier to handle.
- The book suggests poster paints. I used Martha Stewart craft paint because I had some already. It worked fine, but it did dry quickly. So, I tried oil-based printmaking ink, which I also had. It worked perfectly but I would highly suggest you don’t use it if you are working with kids. It’s messy, permanent and dries so slowly.
I made my “block” by tracing the outline of the Japanese character for “friend”. I flipped it around and traced it onto my styrofoam with a sharp pencil. I went over the outline a couple of times to make a deep enough channel to get a clean outline. If I had pressed too lightly, the outline would not be as clear.My prints are imperfect, but that’s okay. It takes some practice to get the right amount of ink on the styrofoam–I need some more practice! And, if this oil-based ink ever dries, I will cut them apart into little cards and send them out as Valentines.
If you try this project, I’d love to hear about it! Happy Valentine making!