Simple Printing for Kids (using Recycled Polystyrene)

This simple printing technique is ideal for younger children to explore & produces some amazing results. I love the effect of lino printing, but even soft linoleum can be a little tough for young children to create with. This process gives a similar result but offers younger children more freedom to create independently.

To create prints like this you'll need:

Some recycled polystyrene packaging (the kind that comes with a shop-bought  pizza)
An ink roller (available online)
Water-based block printing ink (available from craft stores / eBay)
An old chopping board (or a smooth tile or tray)
Paper or cardstock

I started by cutting a couple of small rectangular shapes out of the polystyrene, then using a ballpoint pen we gently pressed onto the tile to create our designs. This takes a little getting used to, & the harder you press the more tricky it is to draw on the foam as it can start to split. 

Here's what my girl's design looked like once printed onto paper.

She clearly enjoyed this activity, so yesterday we experimented with cookie cutters & discovered they make great templates when pressed onto the polystyrene. 

After making the template with the cookie-cutter she started to create her patterns, this time using a pencil. She wanted to create smaller hearts & asked me to draw these so she could trace over them.

Once her tile was finished she was ready to print.  Using the ink roller she added the ink from the chopping board & rolled it over her tile which she loved!! She carefully lifted up her tile & pressed it down onto the paper. 

To make sure the design prints evenly rub your hand firmly over the back of the tile & then carefully lift it away from the paper! Watching the excitement & surprise on girl's face as she did this was a joy! Here are a couple of her printed designs.

I couldn't resist having a go myself! This is a great activity for all the family to join in with. 

When Minnie saw me editing the prints on the computer she was keen to have a play, & after I demonstrated how you could alter the colours she came up with these colourful prints! How amazing that our printing activity using recycled food packaging would end up with my 4yr old using a computer programme to create these fab prints! Follow the creativity of a child & you'll be taken on a beautiful journey! 

Any of these prints would make a wonderful card for Valentine's Day, or add them to a frame & you have a beautiful keepsake of your child's creativity.