Friday, September 25, 2015

Relief Printing for Kids: Yarn Stamps

To me, printmaking is more than just an art standard to teach, it is a passion of mine. I have a couple of degrees in it so it feels like a big part of my identity. My yarn stamp lesson was a fun and easy way to introduce the students I love to the medium I love, just like I was introducing two good friends who I knew were going to get along really well. 
The following technique is great for young children and students like mine, who have multiple disabilities. Each student picked a shape, letter or symbol to make. They folded a rectangle cardboard in three parts so that the middle part was less than a third and the two sides would bend back and be pinched together to become the handle. We used masking tape to keep them together. 

I like thick yarn for this project. It absorbs the paint and stands out far enough to keep the paint from the cardboard. Cut a piece of yarn and glue it to the bottom of the stamp in the desired design. If you want to make a letter, make sure it is a mirrored version of itself. For example the letter "K" would turn left instead of right. Symmetrical letters such as "O", "M" and "T" will work easily, but it never hurts to look at the stamp in a mirror to make sure it will print correctly.

Once the yarn is dried, you just pour tempura or acrylic paint in a shallow plate and begin dipping and stamping. 

 Think about the whole image. Repetition and rhythm are principles of design. Try out a couple of  different colors.

My students are visually impaired, so we did some of our prints on recycled braille paper. For other prints, we added sand while the paint we'd stamped was still wet. The tactile element is so important for my students, but I wish I had used colored glue instead of paint for the stamping. Unfortunately, a lot of the sand fell off after the paint dried.

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