Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Print Making with Plastic

For Logan's birthday celebration, his grandma brought a veggie tray from the grocery store. Since I don't usually buy these, I had never really studied the packaging before. Interestingly enough, the tray's bottom had a lovely texture that called to me: "Make some prints!"

Yes, inanimate object speak to me on occasion. We creative types think of this as the "creative process." I have no idea what "normal" people refer to this as. Anyway, it's how I came up with an unconventional way of re-using this plastic tray. Mia enjoyed making these prints one afternoon while her brother was fast asleep (probably from post-party excitement).

{One of many "star" prints made by Mia, age 6}

  • paper (construction paper, computer paper, card stock, etc.)
  • acrylic paint in your choice of colors
  • plastic packaging (ours was from a veggie tray)
  • Styrofoam tray to hold paint (or a plate)
  • brayer (or a foam paint brush)
  • something to protect work surface (we used cereal box liners)
{Black construction paper gives a totally different look.}

  1. Acrylic paint will stain, so first prepare your work space. We covered the table with cereal box liners (my favorite, at the moment), but newspaper or a vinyl tablecloth that you are not in love with will work equally well. I also recommend that kids wear old clothing or paint smocks.
  2. Pour a small amount of paint into a Styrofoam tray (or onto a plate). You can use up to 3 colors without it getting too muddy. Tip: Styrofoam trays can be re-used many times, which is why I like them. If you are concerned about germs, just run them through the dishwasher on the top rack, and voila! Sanitized and ready for crafting.
  3. Gently roll the brayer through the paint to coat it with a small amount of paint and then roll the paint-covered brayer over the textured plastic tray*. Tip: If you don't have a brayer+ -- a hard rubber roller with a handle (ours is wooden, some are plastic) -- you can use a foam paint brush to apply the paint to the tray. It will just be a bit trickier to get a thin, even coating, which is ideal for print making.
  4. Lay a piece of paper (whatever kind you have) on top and smooth your hands over the back side, applying even pressure. Gently peel off the paper and set it aside to dry. 
  5. These prints would look great in a frame or you can use them to make cards or wrapping paper.
{Apply paint to a plastic tray using a brayer.}

*Note: We first did this on the inside of the tray, and then later we cleaned it off and switched to the outside of the tray, which had the opposite pattern on it. This way we ended up with two different designs from that one plastic veggie tray!

+Note: A brayer is a nice-but-not-necessary tool to have. If you think that you will do a fair bit of print making, it might be worth the investment. I purchased mine several years ago at a craft store (either Michaels or Jo-Ann) and it cost about $10. You can also find them online.

{Here's the reverse side pattern -- 2 for 1 crafting!}

Here are 10 more ideas for print making that you might enjoy:
  1. Fruit and Veggie Prints
    {The reverse side made a "lacy" design.}
  2. Cookie Cutter Stamp Art
  3. Shamrock Stamping with Cookie Cutters
  4. Print Making with Styrofoam
  5. Sun Prints
  6. Plastic Bottle Flower Prints
  7. Stamped Art with Pencil Erasers
  8. Bubble Wrap Indian Corn Print Making
  9. A-Corny Print Making Project
  10. Rose Bouquet Print Making

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