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"GREEN" Print Making In The Classroom



The ECO KARVE printing plate is a fabulous teaching tool not only to instruct students on the art of printmaking but also to incorporate an ecological lesson. You are able to use recyled material to actually create art or in this case a print! 

Our materials list Includes:

  • 1 - 4" x 6" Eco Karve Printing Plate
  • 3 sheets of recycled block printing paper
  • Water based  paint 
  • "Snap Out" Hard Rubber Brayers
  • Quick Release Lino Cutter handle and knives
  • Small Paint/Ink Mixing Trays

CLASS 1 - I had my 6th grade beginner art students research unusual & unique foliage that can be found around the world.  We started in the library searching biology books. They each had to select one image to copy onto their 4" x 6" ECO KARVE printing plate.

CLASS 2 - I had them draw their selected image directly onto the printing Plate using a pencil. This worked out really well as mistakes are easily erased from the plate with a vinyl eraser. 

CLASS 3 - We venture outside in search of different colored dirt. As we collect 3 large paint buckets of dirt in three colors we discuss how paint is originally derived from elements in nature. Different plants, bugs and dirt have been used to create various pigments. For example redder colored dirt has higher amounts of Iron while Green is usually derived from leaves and foliage. We take our buckets back to the art room and fill each one with water and stir the mixture up until its a thin mud. This mixture needs to sit and seperate for about 2 days. 

CLASS 4 & 5 - We discuss the principles of printmaking, its history, techniques and safety requirements as our mud settles. Then the students begin carving out their image using Quick Release Lino Cutters and knives.  I found the ECO Karve Plates to cut easily & beautifully  and are  much easier to use than traditional linoleum.  And since the plate is 1/4" thick, we are able to use both sides!

CLASS 6 - Now that the printing plates have been carved it is time to finish the prepration of our paint/printing ink. After the 2 days you will see that the water is floating on top, in the center you will have clay and on the bottom will be dirt. Simply drain off the water and discard it and the scoop out the clay like material into paint mixing containers. 

CLASS 7 - I set up stations for 3 colors to print at and the students begin rolling out our homemade paint and using 1 sheet of their recyled printing paper for each color.

CLASS 8 - Each student hangs their prints and we do a critique of work discussing what we've learned.

This was such a fun and dynamic lesson to do with my kids and the Eco Karve being a recycled material really put the icing on the cake! 

I will definetely be ordering more of these for my classes in the future!




Using Scratch Board media in the classroom can sometimes be a challenge.  While the students enjoy the discovery of any new material they sometimes draw a blank when it comes to subject matter.  I started to take the class outside when I introduced them to Scratch Board, this seemed to help bring their inspiration out and the materials are easy enough to transport, any notebook and pencase will do just fine.

Each student was to pick an outdoor scene from our local park, which luckily is just across the street from our school.  First, they draw a rough design into their sketch books and then translate the basic shape onto the Black Scratch Board using a Scratch Knife Holder and a Scratch Knife. I encourage them to elaborate on their sketch and really pay attention to the line and texture details in the scene.  This helps them get a feel for how the Tools and the Scratch Board work together. Even the most mininal and raw pieces turn out to quite well.

Back in the classroom I had them experiment applying watercolors to the Scratch Board.  All the students had an unique and inspiring visual stories of how they see their surroundings.


Materials used in this project:

8.5"x11" Black Scratch Board

Scratch Knife Pen Holder - Wood

Metal Scratch Knives, Arrow and Heart Shaped











Parent Category: Blog
Foam Printmaking Is An Easy Way For Artists of Any Age To Create Beautiful Pieces Of Art Foam Printmaking

An easy subject for this type of printing is... yourself! Print, mount, & frame to create beautiful gifts for family & friends.

While at home with my daughter I had her draw a picture of herself, in pencil, on a regular sheet of white paper. 

We then flipped the image over on to a 9" x 12" Foam Printmaking Plate and using the side of the pencil, we shaded over the back of her drawing so the image transfered onto the foam plate.

After the image was transferred on to the foam, I had her trace over her picture using the Essential Art Products Foam Printing Plate Wood Tools.

Now it was time to ink the plate! My daughter adores bright colorful paints and she wanted to use 4 colors on her print. Using a Soft Rubber Brayer, she rolled out a different color paint on each corner of the foam printing plate, green, magenta, red & blue slightly overlapping the colors along the edges. This allowed the colors to mix and make additional colors.

She then pulled out a piece of 9" x 12" Block Printing Paper and carefully placed her inked Foam Printmaking Plate onto the Block Printing Paper.  Using the cleaned Brayer she carefully rolled over the back of the Foam Printing Plate. Then, by slowly removing the foam printing plate from the paper by lifting one corner, she revealed her masterpiece!

I also purchased some  8" x 11"" Pre-Cut White Mat Frames and we taped her print on the back side of the mat frame.  I had her draw a simple line image on the white side of the frame using markers which provided a unique frame for her print.

Parent Category: Blog

Jigsaw Puzzle

Thank you Essential Art Products for the Blank Puzzles!  Smile

These jigsaw puzzles always create a fervor in my Kindergarten classroom! 

Kids at this age love to write their name!  They also enjoy pulling things apart and figuring out how things work!   Puzzles are great because they encourage childrens cognitive, problem solving, hand,  eye, and self esteem skills. Jigsaw Puzzles also assist in promoting ways that challenge and set attainable goals for a child.  By succeeding, the children gain a sense of accomplishment. What better way to further encourage this than by allowing them to design and personalize their own puzzle?

I ordered a pack of 24 blank puzzles so we had plenty just in case someone made a mistake they just couldn't live with.  These puzzles provide a nice smooth white background to color and are still sturdy enough to withstand being pulled apart several times.

Needless to say, my class couldn't wait to get their hands on the puzzles and get started on their project.

We used 5-1/2" x 8" blank puzzles and left the puzzles intact, then each child wrote their name with a black marker while leaving an open space inside each letter. After the names were written, they were able to have free creativity. They were encouraged to use their favoprite colors, animals, shapes, and backgrounds inside the letters and around the outlines of their name. We used markers and crayons as mediums which worked perfectly!

I love having my kids work with these puzzles,  they instill a great sense of accomplishment and are a key learning tool!

Parent Category: Blog


This Light Box LIGHTS IT UP! 

It all started when I needed a new Light Box for my class room. The relic that was handed down from generation to generation in my classroom had seen better days. The wire had cracks in it and the plug was beginning to corrode.  I even replaced the bulbs a few times and they didn't seem to last nearly as long.  Finally, I was able to order a new Light Box.

A colleague of mine turned me on to Essential Art Products.com where she purchased an  18" X 24"  Light Box.  The price was reasonable and the exterior was aesthetically pleasing. The Replacement Bulb For 18"x 24" Light Box was affordable, easily accessible, and according to my colleague, simple to replace.

Upon receiving the Light Box, my 3rd period class and I immediately unpackaged it and cleared away a special place in our art room for its new home. We were all vibrating with excitement as we carefully placed it on its shelf and then plugged it in. The magic started immediately! The box radiated with so much light we all took a step back, squinted and sheiled our eyes from its glow!

The students were clamoring to have a turn tracing their images for our next project. To prepare for the arrival of the 18" X 24" Economy Light Box, I handed out the new lesson plan which focused on creating self portraits. I decided to have students bring in a 4" x 6" image of themselves and have them trace over it using our new light box. Since the light box is 18" x 24" in size,  I was able have 2 students tracing at a time.  We then took our tracing paper image, flipped it over on to water color paper and using a graphite pencil we shaded over the back of the image on the tracing paper and viola!, The image transfers on to the new material! Using water colors the students had to paint their photo using tints & shades of only one color. 

The results were amazing & the students were so pleased to have created a self portrait that looked so realistic.

Parent Category: Blog

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