Pop artist, painter, printer, icon—the list goes on. Andy Warhol is an important figure in both American history and world art. Introduce your young child to this pop art legend by helping him create an everyday object print. Similar to Warhol’s famous soup can art, this art activity encourages him to turn a simple household item into a masterpiece. He'll explore the world of art and use basic artistic concepts such as shape, line, and space to design a meaningful piece of art in multiples.
What You Do:
- Begin by discussing Andy Warhol as an artist. Show reproductions of his work to your child in books or web images. If you are lucky enough to have a museum nearby with one of his works, take a family art viewing field trip. Talk about the frequent use of everyday objects as subjects for his art.
- Introduce the concept of printing and creating multiple images. Compare the process to using a stamp and ink pad.
- Help him find a suitable and appropriate object for the subject matter. Does he have a favorite food such as soup, yogurt, or cereal? Is there a favorite toy that can be used?
- Have him use a wooden stylus, a tooth pick, or even a craft stick to draw an image of the object on scratch foam or styrofoam. If he is using a styrofoam plate or tray, you may need to first cut the sides to make it flat. Make sure that your child is using enough pressure to see the image in the styrofoam. If he is struggling to draw what he sees, point out shapes and lines in the object that may be easier to recreate.
- Use a roller or brayer to roll paint across the styrofoam plate. If you don't have one available, he can simply use a paint brush to cover the images. Young kids often want to press the paint down into the lines that have been etched into the plate. Explain to him that the print will not work if he does this. He should see the white etched lines after the paint has been applied.
- Press a piece of construction paper down on top of the styrofoam plate. Have him press firmly across the entire piece of paper to transfer the painted print.
- Pull the paper off and repeat multiple times.
One print plate can be used over and over again. For new colors, wash the paint off and start again. For another fun activity, try adding crayon or chalk drawing on top of individual prints (once dry) to change the overall look.
Can't get enough Warhol? Try painting your own Warhol-style self-portrait!
Erica Loop has a MS in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education. She has many years of teaching experience working in early childhood education, and as an arts educator at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.