Print your perfect place!

  • Thank you to Jo Brody for sharing this project! From Jo:
    Imagine a place that makes you happy or gives you a warm feeling. This is a great way to make you feel better if you are feeling down or worried.
    This kind of thinking is sometimes called “Imagery” (from the word imagination) and it is a scientifically proven way to help people feel better when they are sick and can even help their physical healing process! I alway imagine my favorite beach when I am at the dentist!

  • In this project you’ll use “printmaking” to create and (almost) magically transport yourself to a special place that gives you the feel-goods.
    You can also create a kooky character that you can even turn into a cartoon strip with speech bubbles, or use your print to create a fun graphic or design that gives you joy when you look at it!

  • Step 1 of 9

    For this project, you’ll need:
    Paper
    Rubber Stamp Ink Pads or paint — or if you don’t have paint, try making your own, or using coffee, berries, or beets to make your own homemade ink!
    Brushes
    A paper plate or some other surface you can squeeze your paints out on
    Colored pencils, markers, drawing pencils (try a stick dipped in your paint, coffee or berry juice!)
    Scissors to cut old sponges into shapes

  • Step 2 of 9

    First of all, what is printmaking?

    Just like it sounds, printmaking is the making of prints. To make your prints or “marks,” you cover the surface of an object with ink or paint, then press it onto paper. You can also paint a line or mark on a smooth surface and press that onto your paper.

    The best part is that you don’t always know how it will turn out. You might get the surprise of a dark smudge or accidental line or shape, which just gives you new ideas to work with!

  • Step 3 of 9

    Before we get started, here’s a short video of Jo sharing some of her print-making techniques.

  • Step 4 of 9

    Ready to make your own prints? Great!
    First thing to do is hunt around your home or classroom for objects that you can use to make your marks and shapes. We’ll call these “texture tools.” Here are some ideas:
    Sponges
    A cork
    Egg cartons cut into individual cups (use both ends!)
    “Pink Pearl” school erasers or any kind of eraser
    (hint: use the eraser on a pencil for polka dots!)
    Bubble Wrap
    Torn cardboard
    Mesh bags from grocery store oranges or avocados
    Anything else that will make cool shapes or lines when painted and printed onto paper!

  • Step 5 of 9

    Have you gathered all of your supplies?
    Okay, now it’s time to…
    Squeeze out some paints onto your plate or other surface, OR…
    Get out your stamp pads, OR…
    Fill small cups with your coffee, berry juice or other homemade colors
    You are now ready to make your first print!
    Playing is always a good place to begin. See what happens when you dip your different texture tools into your paint or inks and press them onto your paper. Now try painting or drawing directly onto your objects and pressing them onto your paper.

  • Step 6 of 9

    Planning vs. playing:
    You can plan your Perfect Place (or kooky characters or graphic design print) by carefully making marks in to create exactly what you want your picture to be, or you can just go wild making lots of cool marks and shapes and let your experiments inspire your picture.
    (There’s no right or wrong way to make a print, there is only your way.)
    It is also really fun to experiment with designs that don’t try to look like anything you see in real life (this is called Abstract Art).

  • Step 7 of 9

    Okay, now is the time to let your imagination run wild!

    Take those colored pencils or pens and transform your prints into your Perfect Place, the kookiest character you can imagine—anything that makes you smile and feel warm inside!

  • Step 8 of 9

    Surprise a friend, support the Post Office!
    After you’ve made a bunch of prints and turned them into little works of art, staple them together into a tiny book to send to someone you love (you can also try our Make a Tiny Book project and stamp out a story or series of tiny pictures onto the pages).
    Find an envelope (and a stamp with enough postage) and mail the whole shebang to a special friend or family member who might also be wanting a special Perfect Place to imagine.
    (shhhhh! Don’t tell them! Surprise mail is THE BEST!)
    Once you send your surprise off, it’s time to start all over again!

  • Step 9 of 9

    Want to share your prints with us? We would really like that.