PRINTMAKING – Colour, Shape and Line

Students create a print using printmaking tools, string and paint. 

Required Time

60 Minutes

Grade Level

Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 1


Language Arts
Visual Arts



Crayola Washable Paint Crayola Marker & watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") Crayola Construction Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") Soft Rubber Brayers or Small Paint Rollers Kitchen String Masking Tape Styrofoam Meat Trays - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") Plastic Cutting Boards - 1 per student

Shop Crayola Products


PRINTMAKING – Colour, Shape and Line - Step One

Step One

  1. Tape pieces of string (widthwise) onto a plastic cutting board. 
  2. Continue until you are happy with the web-like design you have created.
PRINTMAKING – Colour, Shape and Line - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Tape the plastic cutting board onto a large piece of construction paper. 
  2. Tape along the top and sides of the construction paper. 
  3. Do NOT tape along the bottom of the construction paper.
PRINTMAKING – Colour, Shape and Line - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Insert a piece of Crayola Marker and Watercolour paper under the web through the opening at the bottom.
PRINTMAKING – Colour, Shape and Line - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Place a small amount of paint on each paint tray. 
  2. Place a brayer (roller) in each tray.
PRINTMAKING – Colour, Shape and Line - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Roll the brayers back and forth a few times to spread the paint out evenly on the brayers.
PRINTMAKING – Colour, Shape and Line - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Roll one of the colours over the web. 
  2. Continue rolling until you are satisfied with the effect.
PRINTMAKING – Colour, Shape and Line - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Roll the other colour over the web. 
  2. Continue rolling until you are satisfied with the effect.
PRINTMAKING – Colour, Shape and Line - Step Eight

Step Eight

  1. Gently remove the paper from the web and place it on a flat surface to dry.
  2. Create a second print and clean the rollers at the same time.
  3. Insert a new piece of paper into the web and roll the brayers over the surface without adding more paint.  
PRINTMAKING – Colour, Shape and Line - Step Nine

Step Nine

  1. Gently remove the paper and roll over the surface with the brayers until all the paint is removed. 
  2. Use both brayers without re-rolling them in the paint.  
PRINTMAKING – Colour, Shape and Line - Step Ten

Step Ten

  1. Mount the prints on contrasting construction paper.
  2. Compare both prints.
    How are they the same?
    - How are they different?
    - What shapes do you see? 
    - What happened to the colours? 
    - What do you like best about the prints?

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • work independently and self-regulate;
  • create personal responses to the centre materials;
  • share their ideas with peers;
  • demonstrate a sense of accomplishment; 
  • express personal responses to prints.


  1. Art Centre - Set out a variety of found objects, paint and paper.
    - Encourage children to experiment with ways to make multiple marks on paper using the objects and paint. 
    - Demonstrate how to create a monotype by painting onto a piece of paper and then placing another paper on top of the wet paint. 
    - Gently rub the paper before removing it from the surface to create the print. 
    - Set out small muffin baking tins, different sized round cake baking tins, plastic cutting boards, paints, rollers and Cotton-Tips.
    - Demonstrate how to apply paint to the flat surfaces of these items using a paint roller and then to draw into the paint with a Cotton-Tip before placing a piece of paper on top of the surface.
    - Gently rub the paper before removing it from the surface to create a monotype.
    - Have students share their work with the class.


  1. Gather all the materials necessary for this project.
  2. Complete steps 1 to 3.
  3. Purchase or borrow from the library books about printmaking or illustrated with different types of prints, such as, Early Childhood Art - Painting and Printmaking, by Amelia Ruscoe; Ed Emberley’s Complete Funprint Drawing Book, by Ed Emberley; Last Night, by Hyewon Yum; Seasons, by Blexbolex; Ella Sarah Gets Dressed and Best Best Friends, by Margaret Chodos-Irvine;  and Swimmy, by Leo Lionni.
  4. Tape a long piece of brown packing paper to the floor. Place a cookie baking tin at one end of the paper and pour a shallow amount of water into it. 
  5. Place a variety of found objects in a basket beside the paper. For example, wooden spools, forks, cardboard tubes, and anything that can be used to make a printed mark by placing it in paint and pressing it against the paper.
  6. Place a container of paint near the water tray.


  1. Conduct a read-aloud with a book featuring illustrations that are prints such as Swimmy, by Leon Lionni focussing on the pictures and how they might have been made.
  2. Have children sit along the edge of the length of the brown paper.
  3. Ask students to take turns stepping into the water with one shoe and then walking across the paper. 
  4. Talk about the marks left on the paper. Compare the wet marks with the sole of the shoe that made it. 
  5. Discuss what prints and printmaking are.
  6. Add some paint to the tray and place a variety of objects beside it. Ask children to choose an object and take turns placing it in the paint and then on the paper.
  7. Talk about the image you created together. 
  8. Introduce the challenge.



The Challenge

  1. Create several prints using the string printmaking web.
  2. Use your imagination and problem-solving skills to explore ideas. 

The Process

  1. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan beginning with step number 4.
  2. Observe students as they work.
  3. Ask questions of children while they are working.
    - What is happening when the 2 colours mix?
    - What shapes do you see?
    - What does your print make you think of? 
    - Look at the lines and all the directions the lines go in.
  4. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Place students into groups of 3 or 4 and ask them to share their prints with each other. Ask students to share the following:
    What shapes do you see?
    - How are the prints the same?
    - How are they different?
    - What happened to the colours?
    - What do you like best about your prints?
  2. Display all the prints in the classroom.



  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their prints – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to areas in the print, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - Printmaking_tracking.pdf)