Friday, July 25, 2014

Project: Foam Printed Seashells

Foam plate printing is so fun and super easy. It's a great printing project to do with small children. We've used this technique for many things including thank you cards and gift tags making them much more personal. The beauty of this type of project is that any drawing looks great when it's printed. 

Step One: Gather materials. Seashell(s) of any variety, paper, scissors (these are the greatest ever!) ball point pen, rubber brayer, inking plate (or a cereal box works well), block printing ink, foam printing plates, newspapers. 

Step Two: Sketch a rough draft of the seashell. I told my 5 year old, Gio, to draw what he sees. He asked me where he should start and I told him to think about it himself. After some time, he figured it out and just started drawing. I reminded him to look at the seashell more than the paper. 

Step Three: Loosely copy sketch onto foam printing plate using a ball point pen. Gio figured out that it's important not to press too hard otherwise the pen will not move so smoothly over the foam.

Optional Step: If you like, draw another sketch to create another printing plate.

Optional Step: Transfer sketch to foam plate.

Step Four: Get the printing materials together, including the prepared printing plates.

Step Five: Squeeze about a quarter sized dollop of ink onto your inking plate and roll with the brayer. Be sure to lift the brayer after each roll to ensure even ink coating. Also, roll in both directions, horizontally and vertically. 

Step Six: Roll the inked brayer over the plate. Roll it both ways, horizontally and vertically. After the initial rolling, use short, quick rolls to evenly distribute the ink onto the plate. Careful not to touch the plate, only touch the edges.

A well inked plate.

Step Seven: Move the plate to a clean part of the newspapered table. That way the outside ink will not transfer to the paper. 

Step Eight: Carefully line up paper and press down. Use the flat side of your thumb and move it carefully over the entire plate. Be sure to press the edges well. 

Step Nine: Lift the paper to reveal the print. 

Step Ten: Let the finished print dry!

Step Eleven: Repeat.

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