Make Block Prints... Like Rembrandt

What You Need:

  • Foam tray
  • Barbecue shishkebab skewer (or the point of a ball point pen)
  • White construction paper
  • Tempera paint

What You Do:

  1. Make sure that your foam tray is completely clean and dry. (If the tray has held meat, you'll want to take special care to wash with hot water and soap).
  2. Turn the tray upside down, so that you're working with the bottom edge. Support the interior section by placing a couple of old magazines, or folded newspapers underneath.
  3. Now use the ends of the shishkebab skewer (one is pointed, the other blunt), to press out a design on the foam. You may want to make just an outline design; or you can also press whole sections, to create your design.
  4. While your child is working , you might want to take out a picture or two of famous printmakers’ work, or look them up on the internet. Rembrandt and Durer, for example, may not have had foam meat trays at their disposal; but they used wood blocks to create stunning examples of printmaking that endure to this day.
  5. When you've got a design, paint the surface gently with the tempera paint, taking care not to glob it on in such a way that it would fill the grooves you've made.
  6. Grasping the edges of the tray like handles, press the “carved” surface onto a piece of plain white construction paper. Prepare to be amazed!
  7. These art block designs can make gorgeous wall decorations, especially if you decide to make several in different colors, and frame them next to one another. Or try making cards with them. You'll impress your friends…and maybe spark the artist in your child while you're at it!

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