Media, materials and processes: printmaking

Basic printmaking techniques can help learners to gain insight into some of the ways that images function and are reproduced.

Learning Intentions

  • We are learning about how we can transfer images, textures and patterns from one surface to another.
  • We are learning to make our own decisions about how to combine printmaking and other art and design processes to communicate images and our ideas.

To help set this work in context, you may wish to refer to the other Key Elements for Key Stage 3 Art and Design on this microsite:

Learning Activities

Help the pupils discover more about printmaking by:

  • printing with found materials, for example:
    • by inking objects, papers and surfaces such as cling film, bubble wrap and corrugated card, and printing their interpretation of a theme, e.g. a landscape;
  • making block prints:
    • make relief blocks by gluing or painting textured materials such as paper, card, fabric, gesso or papier mâché onto a flat base; the pupils can ink the relief surface and print with it;
    • create incised blocks by engraving into a variety of materials such as raw vegetables or balsa wood; make lines, shapes and images in the surface with engraving objects or tools;
    • make a multicoloured block by cutting up a block, inking and reassembling it before printing;
    • make a polystyrene, lino or wood print block; engrave the block, ink and print the first colour, then engrave the block again, ink with a different colour and over-print onto the first print;
    • use registration techniques for accuracy, e.g. mark up the paper to be printed; and/or
    • experiment with different ways of applying pressure to the printing block, for example hand rubbing, burnishing with a wooden spoon, using a roller or using a press.
  • creating subtractive and additive effects in monoprints working with two or more colours, for example:
    • draw into an inked surface and take a print;
    • paint the image with ink onto the flat surface and take a print; or
    • make a multicoloured transfer monoprint by preparing the block with several colours;
  • making screen prints:
    • use cut paper or other materials as a stencil;
    • use other resist methods such as screen fillers;
    • use registration techniques to make a print of more than one colour; or
    • making a single print and an edition of prints.

Help the pupils produce an original piece of work by:

  • transferring monoprinting onto a painting to highlight detail;
  • using stitching to enhance block prints on fabric;
  • combining fabric crayon work with other forms of print and/or add stitching;
  • screen-printing lengths of fabric to be used in soft sculpture;
  • block printing and monoprinting on thin card and paper to produce graphic designs; and/or
  • combining printmaking with paper sculpture projects.