Sunday, August 11, 2013

Easy Flower Printing Project

This idea isn't exactly original. In fact, there are plenty of variations floating around the internet already. Anyway, Mia gave me a Mother's Day card she made at school using this stamping method, and it is super-simple to replicate at home with very few supplies. (The hallmark of a good kids' craft project, in my opinion!) So, on a rainy day awhile back, when she wanted a craft to do, this is what I pulled out.

We don't buy a lot of things that come in single-serve plastic bottles, so I have been saving these for a bit. Mia got the water bottles at school and from a birthday party. These worked okay for making flowers. The Sierra Mist was purchased to enjoy mixed with our Bacardi that we brought back from Puerto Rico. If you want the prints that most resemble flowers, these bottles make adorable five-petal daisies. The Powerade bottles are the only ones that we normally have on hand since Brett likes to drink it after long runs, however, these were not the best for producing "flower" prints. They really just made a circle, which can certainly be used for print-making, but it just takes a little creativity to make them look like flowers. My kids ended up using the bottle caps as well, so that could be the centers of the flowers, if desired.

This printmaking project is a craft that is simple enough to be done with any age of children from toddlers on up. I think it was especially nice for Mia's kindergarten class, but I think it would work well, for preschool, too. P.S. Don't be surprised if this turns into a finger painting project. This tends to happen at my house, anyway, and it did with this craft, as well!

{Finished Prints by Mia, 6, and Logan, 3}

  • tempera paint
  • empty plastic bottles (water, pop, Powerade, etc.)
  • Styrofoam trays
  • paper (heavier paper is recommended, but any will work)
  • paint brushes (optional)
  • cereal box liners (to protect work surface, optional)
  • old clothes/paint smocks (optional)
  1. Old clothes are suggested for this. My kids each wear an old t-shirt of mine for paint projects. Logan's is quite large around the neck so I secure it in the back with a clothespin. You might also want to protect your work surface. I like using the liners from cereal boxes, but you can also use newspaper or a vinyl table cloth that you are not worried about messing up. Tip: If you have more than one child, set up a paint station for each kid. This makes things a lot easier when they each have their own space and materials to work with!
  2. Pour some tempera paint onto a Styrofoam tray. We used powdered tempera paints that I mixed up before getting started, but ready-made paints would work, too. Tip: Styrofoam trays can be sterilized in your dishwasher so you don't have to worry about germs from meat! Tip: If you don't have any Styrofoam trays, use a plate. I don't suggest bowls, because you need a flatter surface to make this easy for kids. Tip: Unless you enjoy mud colored paintings, limit the number of paint colors that each child uses. I let my kids pick up to 3 colors for their tray. You can also choose colors that go with your decor if you think these will end up in frames. I let mine use yellow, red, and purple, knowing that they would mix the red and yellow together to get orange.
  3. Let kids dip their bottles into the paint and then press it onto paper. We used construction paper and white card stock, and the card stock was my preference for this project. It produced clearer, more vibrant colors, and the heavier weight withstood the wetness of the paint, which got applied quite heavily in some places. Tip: Paint brushes are optional. You might want them if you would like your flowers to have stems, for example. Or you can use the brushes to apply the paint to the bottles if dipping them into the paint isn't getting the desired coverage. 
  4. Allow paint to dry completely before displaying the prints. Or, you can use it to make a card like Mia did for Mother's Day. Tip: I like to let paintings dry on the cereal box liners, which can easily be moved from one location to another, if for example, you need to use your table or counter for meals. Tip: Keep a black Sharpie on hand, and once kids have finished their prints, label them with name and age or date that they were created. This is much easier to remember right after doing the project and it looks nice in a frame, or relatives always appreciate this sort of thing, if you are running out of room for keeping your kids' artwork.
{Clever kids made use of both sides of the bottle.}

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