Simple STEAM Printmaking Bookmark
I was specifically asked to use a the Gelli™ Printing Plates after the organizers for a summer STEAM program saw a demonstration I did at a local Makers Fair that was really a to preview my summer classes. This project was done as part of a STEAM workshop in a local middle school, but was open to children of all ages in the community. As a result, the project needed to be able to be completed and successful for children who ranged in age from 4-14. The concept I decided to use with the Gelli™ plates was that the idea that oil & water don’t mix. It’s a concept that students learn at a young age, but they don’t always make connections to how that fact applies to their daily life. This very simple science concept comes to life for kids with the fast & friendly Gelli™ Plates Printmaking. The librarian that hosted the event designed it in such a way that kids were free to approach several different stations with self directed learning activities then had two areas that were leader directed. This activity was a leader station but the kids were guided only on process and shown a few samples of possible outcomes. This was a fast process that allowed kids to move quickly to other stations during the allotted time.
5x5 Gelli™ Printing Plates
Sakura Color™ Juior Artist Cray-Pas oil pastels
Brightly colored, slightly watered down acrylic paint, I used Plaid Crafts Apple Barrel™
Heavy weight paper cut into bookmark sized pieces, I used Canson™ Acrylic 140lb
Yarn & fibers for tassel making
Kids used oil pastels to draw outlines of images, letters, shapes & ideas onto the bookmarks
Kids used color mixing knowledge to decide what 2 or 3 colors they would choose for their printing plate that would look good together & not mix into a muddy gray or brown.
*I didn’t have enough brayers to use for this large group so instead students used a damp sponge cut into thirds to dab small amounts of paint onto their printing plate which created a great texture for the bookmarks. And, clean up was super easy!
We laid the bookmark paper, OIL PASTEL SIDE DOWN, on top of the printing plate & rubbed the back of the paper with their hand then lifted the print. Because part of the plate still had paint on it & part of the bookmark remained white the kids moved the paper around the plate to cover the white parts and lift most of the paint from the plate.
We set aside the bookmarks to dry while they cleaned the plates with baby wipes for the next person. Once the plate was cleaned students helped the drying process along either by fanning the bookmark in the air or by using a low powered hair dryer on the cool setting.
Once the paint was dry students used a craft stick to gently scrape away the paint from their oil pastel areas to reveal their design in bright colors. As they did this we talked about the artistic & practical applications of oil & water not mixing. As they “found” their oil pastel designs under the paint, students were prompted to think of examples in life where oil resists water. From salad dressing & suntan lotion to wax crayons & watercolor or car wax and car washes students brainstormed together to make a pretty impressive list.
Finally, students used a hole punch on their paper, then added yarn/fibers to through the hole to create a tassel.