Printmaking with Bubble Wrap

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When you think of kid art, printmaking probably isn’t the first technique that comes to mind.  Bubble wrap, on the other hand, is a product known to be loved by children the world over.  Combine these two things and you’ve got a great art activity for kids of all ages.

To begin, gather paper, paint brushes, paint and some bubble wrap.  This large scale variety arrived at our house in a package last week, but you can easily pick some up at an office supply store.  If you make a special trip, buy a few different sizes to add variation to your children’s prints.

Lay your paper on top of the bubble wrap.  Use a pair of scissors to trim the bubble wrap to roughly the same size as the paper.

Next, break out the paints and let the kids have at it.  When it comes to art, I like to encourage creativity by giving as few instructions as possible.

If older kids want more direction or if you’d like to extend the activity a bit, consider these possibilites:

● Incorporate patterns: Paint a pattern on the first row or two of bubbles and ask your child to copy it.

● Paint each row a solid color and make a rainbow while teaching your children the ROY G BIV acronym (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet).

● Try some color blending and talk about the color wheel as you do so.  Remember that primary colors (red, blue and yellow) mix to make secondary colors (purple, green, and orange).

Some kids will carefully paint each circle while others will glob paint onto entire rows.  Each technique will create a different effect, which will be fun to compare and contrast.

Once your little artist is ready to make a print, simply lay a piece of paper on top of the bubble wrap and press down firmly.

As you’re doing this, you can explain that the process of putting paint on one surface and transferring it to another is known as monoprinting.  The name comes from the fact that the process results in only one unique print instead of several identical prints, as is usually the case in printmaking.

Keep in mind that this technique is great for a whole host of paper and fabric projects.  The kids will love making wrapping paper, book covers, and even custom decorated tote bags in this way.

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