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


Art Techniques
Visual Arts


brayer horizontal line pattern print secondary colour shape vertical


Crayola Washable Paint Soft Rubber Brayers String Masking Tape Styrofoam Tray Crayola Marker and Watercolour Paper – 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm cm (9” X 12”) Plastic Cutting Board Crayola Construction Paper


PRINTMAKING – Colour, Shape and Line - Step One

Step One

Tape pieces of string (widthwise) onto a plastic cutting board. Continue until you are happy with the web-like design you have created.

PRINTMAKING – Colour, Shape and Line - Step Two

Step Two

Tape the plastic cutting board onto a large piece of construction paper. Tape along the top and sides of the construction paper. DO NOT tape along the bottom of the construction paper.

PRINTMAKING – Colour, Shape and Line - Step Three

Step Three

Insert a piece of Crayola Marker and Watercolour paper into the web through the opening at the bottom.

PRINTMAKING – Colour, Shape and Line - Step Four

Step Four

Place a small amount of paint on each paint tray. Place a brayer (roller) in each tray.

PRINTMAKING – Colour, Shape and Line - Step Five

Step Five

Roll the brayers back and forth a few times to spread the paint out evenly on the brayers and in the trays.

PRINTMAKING – Colour, Shape and Line - Step Six

Step Six

Roll one of the colours over the web. Continue rolling until you are satisfied with the effect.

PRINTMAKING – Colour, Shape and Line - Step Seven

Step Seven

Roll the other colour over the web. Continue rolling until you are satisfied with the effect.

PRINTMAKING – Colour, Shape and Line - Step Eight

Step Eight

Gently remove the paper from the web and place it on a flat surface to dry.

PRINTMAKING – Colour, Shape and Line - Step Nine

Step Nine

Create a second print and clean the rollers at the same time. 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 Ten

Step Ten

Gently remove the paper and roll over the surface with the brayers until all the paint is removed. Use both brayers without re-rolling them in the paint.  

PRINTMAKING – Colour, Shape and Line - Step Eleven

Step Eleven

Compare both art works.  
How are they alike?
- How are they different?
- What patterns do you see? 
- What happened to the colours? Why?

PRINTMAKING – Colour, Shape and Line - Step Twelve

Step Twelve

Mount the work on a piece of contrasting construction paper.

PRINTMAKING – Colour, Shape and Line - Step Thirteen

Step Thirteen

Give the work a title.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Work independently and self-regulate;
  2. Create personal responses to the centre materials;
  3. Share their ideas with peers;
  4. Demonstrate a sense of accomplishment; and
  5. Express responses to a variety of art forms.


  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 Q-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 Q-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. Encourage children to experiment with all the materials to make interesting prints.



  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. For example, 
    - 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 
    - 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. Have children sit along the edge of the length of the brown paper.
  2. Ask students to take turns stepping into the water with one shoe and then walking across the paper. 
  3. Talk about the marks left on the paper. Compare the wet marks with the sole of the shoe that made it. 
  4. Discuss what prints and printmaking are.
  5. 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.
  6. Talk about the image you created together. 
  7. Read a book featuring illustrations that are prints and discuss the pictures and how they might have been made.
  8. Introduce children to 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. Walk students throught 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?
    - Do you see a pattern?
    - 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. Ask students to work with a partner and compare their art works.
  2. Ask them to talk about
    patterns created
    -  how the works are the same
    -  how the works are different
    -  what was difficult
    -  what they liked best about doing this activity