Valentine Heart Art

So, I'll be honest.
I was not the biggest fan of printmaking until a week ago.
It was just never a technique that I fell in love with in art school.

The joy of children's art is in the exploration so I figured I should step out of my comfort zone and give it a shot with my 3rd graders. 
If you're a novice to printmaking, don't be scared.
It's not so bad, actually.
This is an easy lesson to get your feet wet.

Here's what you'll need:
Sulphite Paper {9x11}
Liquid Tempura
Pencils or Q-tips
Laminated template

We used a simple heart template that I printed and had laminated.
If you don't have access to a laminator then there are easy alternatives you could use such as a plastic page protector, overhead transparency sheets or even plexiglass.
Just attach your template underneath with tape.
I prefer to use a laminated page because you don't run the risk of the template shifting during painting.

Ultimately, you just need a surface where the paint won't dry too quickly.
I've seen teachers let the kids paint directly on the table tops before.
It's whatever floats your boat, really.

I always take 5 minutes at the start of class to demonstrate the technique and explore different ways to problem solve common mistakes.
Then we got right to work.
I put out red, purple and white paints in plastic egg cartons so the kids could easily mix new colors into the empty pits.
They used the eraser end of a pencil to create the dots.
No water needed!
Double loading the paint was half the fun!
 Once their perimeter was complete, the kids were free to fill in the heart.
I encouraged them to fill in as much of the interior as they could.

Once they were ready, they used the sulphite paper to create their final print.
They lined up the paper over their pointillism heart template gently pressed the clean page onto the plastic.
I encouraged them to rub softly and evenly over their entire paper to help the paint transfer. 
Be sure to caution your kiddos not to squish their design too hard.

Then came the exciting part- separating the two pages!
The prints were so beautiful ya'll!
As each kid began separating their prints, other kids began to gather around to see how unique each one turned out.

We let them dry overnight before outlining all of the paint edges with permanent black markers.
This was the most time consuming and tedious part of the project- but it really gave a fabulous finished look to their prints. We used the full second class to outline.
Even though there were a few hand cramps, not one kid gave up.
They were simply too excited to see their final product!

Some kids decided to cut theirs out and paste it to black paper, others preferred the white.
I'm in love with both.
Pun intended.

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