Pre k

Elementary 🎨🎨

Junior high 🎨🎨🎨🎨🎨

High school 🎨🎨🎨

The goal with this simple project was to created something non-objective (“no” “objects”, not recognizable)
The process required (or taught) an understanding of positive and negative space. Positive (the area that prints on the paper) and negative (the areas created by the empty space, what is taken away from the stamp).

*design must be thought of in terms of completed/closed shapes*

1. Get an eraser.
2. design your stamp (considering positive and negative space, and closed shapes)
3. cut away the negative space with razer blade, exacto knife, or even fingernails (if using sharp object-always cut away from yourself)

*cheap and easy project, can become more complicated as artist considers what kind of image they can create with their stamps*
*key concepts: positive and negative space, repetition, non-objective art, pattern*


Reductive Prints 

Pre k

Elementary 🎨

Junior high 🎨🎨🎨🎨🎨

High school 🎨🎨🎨🎨🎨

Styrofoam reduction Prints

bench hook – when carving keeps block from moving, in this process will be used for rolling out ink
barren – for pressing and pushing on the foam to transfer the image
brayer – ink roller
block/matrix – what the design is created on/into (in this case the styrofoam plate)
*water soluble INK (NOT ACRYLIC PAINT) AP = Non toxic (great for working with kids as won’t poison or permanently stain clothes)

Artist Proof (AP) – the “sloppy copy” the test print of the latest reduction
“Fingernail test” – slide fingertip over block, you want fingernail to catch down in the indention’s – shows that is deep enough

1. Create a design – start simple (will get progressively more complicated with each reduction step)
2. transfer design onto Styrofoam plate
3. cut out or dig in/press into styrofoam plate
4. roll out ink onto block, cover well
5. press block onto paper, be mindful of how it lines up
6. flip page over and use hands or barren to push all over the paper, ensuring the transfer of ink to paper
7. peel paper off of block, set out to dry
8. rinse off block, cut more away, once paper is dry repeat steps 4-7
9. continue process until satisfied with design

Block/Plate on left. First round of prints on right.     Example of AP (written in bottom left corner) “artist proof” – testing the block    Print by Sarah   Print by Sarah  Print by Hannah     

I found the following abstract on a university’s website describing their Master’s Theses and Culminating Projects in their Creative Arts Therapy program. I could not actually access the full study as it was an unpublished thesis and thus unavailable to the public outside of the university. However, I thought that it was very interesting that an art therapy students researched the use of printmaking in art therapy. Particularly so because I did not initially see how the printmaking process would be therapeutic when we were creating our own pieces. But reading even this short description has me very intrigued.

Jacob M. Atkinson: The Ability of Printmaking to Increase Psychological Well-Being in Art Therapy Clients

This research study explored how printmaking techniques influenced psychological well-being when used as a modality for art therapy and how different client populations responded to the printmaking process. Three different populations participated in this study; stroke survivors, children with chronic illness, and adolescents who have experienced abusive trauma. Research consisted of three consecutive sessions, in which participants were given a different printmaking technique each session. The three printmaking processes used in this study were Styrofoam relief prints, no-glue collagraph, and reductive monotypes. Bradburn and Noll’s Affect Balance Scale was administered as a pre and a post test to ascertain the overall change in the participant’s psychological well-being; while the Technique Questionnaire was used to obtain immediate feedback from the participants. Overall, the participants from all three populations improved or maintained their level of psychological well-being and responded positively to all three printmaking techniques. This study concluded that printmaking shows promise in increasing psychological well-being, and should be utilized more frequently as a modality in art therapy.

Gelli Printing

Pre k 🎨🎨

It is possible to do this with pre schoolers but it would be a teacher based activity which is not ideal in the arts but happens in preschool, kiddos could pick paint color and be assisted with rolling on the paint and then they could pick where the objects go on the role, teacher would place paper on the gelli roll and together they would press down together, teachers would peel off the paper and voila! Beautiful print. Opportunity to talk about textures and shapes with kids.

Elementary 🎨🎨🎨

Junior high 🎨🎨🎨🎨🎨

High school 🎨🎨🎨🎨


                Printmaking as Therapy: Frameworks for Freedom (google.books)
his is a link to a book which explores the use of printmaking in art therapy.
Description of Book:
The process of printmaking can be useful to art therapists in a wide range of settings: for example, the incremental process can be helpful in groupwork, and physically challenged clients can benefit from the physical aspects of printmaking. The author book explores these therapeutic advantages of printmaking. She also describes its roots outside art therapy. Relief printing, intaglio, planographic or surface processes, and stenciling are all covered in detail, with many ideas for incorporating them into art therapy sessions. The author gives a comprehensive and clear account of the impact that printmaking can have on clients’ inner lives, using many examples drawn from her own practice.

The combination of technical information, clinical applications and practical instructions for using the printmaking processes will make this book a valuable tool for art therapists and occupational therapists.

Printmaking: Monoprinting with eating disorder patients. ( link to the following blog post)

The following is an article that I found on a blog. The blog is from a woman who is a registered art therapist who mainly works in design and education technology but still is interested and passionate about art therapy. I thought that this post was incredibly appropriate as she is basically doing what we are doing in class, by explaining the process involved in creating a specific type of art. And then she goes into specifics of how it is used or could be helpful for her target population. Because I am only beginning to learn about art therapy and do not have much of a base yet, a blog like this is incredibly helpful for me to read.

Printmaking: Monoprinting with eating disorder patients

Posted by: on May 8, 2007 |

Being an art therapist often means adapting already known art techniques to the current population one is working with. The specific needs of a group or a population may only become apparent while working directly with the individuals. Therefore, the art therapist must be versatile and creative in her practice, while always ensuring that her techniques are theoretically grounded.

I first learned how to monoprint while volunteering at La Rue Des Femmes with Saundra Baly in Montreal, Quebec. I adapted this technique to include both sides of the art therapy philosophical spectrum: art as therapy (product oriented) and art psychotherapy (process oriented). This technique was specifically adapted for an inpatient eating disorder population.

Part 1: Printing


  • Acrylic paint
  • Cafeteria trays
  • Paint brushes, rollers, things to make marks into the paint, such as popsicle sticks or pieces of cardboard
  • Water
  • Cloths (to clean trays between prints)
  • Paper (4″x5″s or small pieces of paper to add structure to the directive)

Mark off boundary of paper on the back of trays. Do a demonstration for the group as to how to make a print:

  • Put paint down onto the tray (within the boundary for the paper)
  • Press the paper down onto the painted area and then pull up.

Voilà! You have a print. You can wipe excess paint off with a wet cloth and begin the printmaking process again. Discuss different ways of doing prints, for exapmle, lots of paint vs. watery paint. If someone puts a lot of paint down on the tray, more than one print may be possible.

Instruct the group where they can leave their prints to dry. Discuss how this will be a two-part group, and allow the group to begin experimenting with the procedure. Mention that they probably will find that things are not coming out the way they intended, and that’s ok, it’s all a part of the process. Leave some time at the end of group to process what this directive was like: experiences, thoughts, emotions.

Part 2: Framing

Have some pre-made frames handy. Invite the group to make their own frames too, out of paper or popsicle sticks. Find the test print you made, and demonstrate to the group how to use the frame as a viewfinder to look for parts of the prints they enjoy, or find nice. Encourage the group not just to find nice parts in the prints they already like, but also in prints they didn’t think turned out well.

Leave time for a discussion at the end of group to process parts 1 and 2, and what the group thought this was about. Any new thoughts/anything change in the experience between parts 1 and 2?


  • Raise autonomy
  • Raise frustration tolerance
  • If color is equivalent to affect, this directive provides boundaries for affect/holding environment through the borders of the lunch tray and paper.
  • Getting in touch with potential space, which is essential for any creative act to take place, as well as play; allowing oneself to play and let experience flow, the ability to be in the moment without thoughts or judgment.
  • Success-oriented
  • One cannot rely on perfectionism because there is no way to control the outcome of a print.
  • Promoting individuality, positive self discovery
  • Not having control can be ok
  • It’s possible to make something out of mess.

Affective media

  • Helps promote spontaneous verbalization
  • Tactile — involving the body, which is often denied in eating disorder patients
  • Lowers the amount of control patients can have over the media


  • Finding the good/beauty in mess/chaos, even when its hard to see
  • Making something out of mess/chaos
  • Putting boundaries to the mess/chaos
  • Can take the framed prints home- both a reminder of success and a transitional object
  • This part of the directive seems to open the group up more for reflection and processing

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