You are on page 1of 7

Middle School Art LP

Printing with Plexi: 5-Day Lesson Plan


Title of Lesson:
Teacher:
Medium/Technique:
Age Level:
Length of Class
Period:

Printing with Plexi!


Tyler Riordan
Drypoint Printmaking
Seventh Grade (7th Grade)
~38 minutes

Historical information about medium/technique: (From Encyclopedia


Brittanica):

Printmaking is an art form consisting of the production of images, usually on paper


but occasionally on fabric, plastic, or other material, by various techniques of multiplication,
either by the artist or directed by the artist. Such prints are each considered original works of
art, even though they can exist in multiples.
Engraving is one of the oldest art forms. Engraved designs have been found on
prehistoric bones, stones, and cave walls. The technique of duplicating images goes back
several thousand years to the Sumerians (c. 3000 bce), who engraved designs and inscriptions
on cylinder seals (usually made of stone), which, when rolled over soft clay tablets, left relief
impressions. They conceived not only the idea of multiplication but also the mechanical
principle, the roller, which in more sophisticated form became the printing press.

Key concepts about medium/technique:

Printmaking is typically used to quickly and relatively easily produce multiple copies of
an artwork/print
There are multiple forms of printmaking techniques, all of varying styles and
difficulties, and each may be used to create a series of prints of varying levels of
difficulty and clarity.
It is still possible to make prints even without a printing press or a book press.

Vocabulary Acquisition:

Printmaking: Printmaking is the process of making artwork by printing, normally on


paper. The process is capable of producing multiples of a same piece, which is called a
print.
Etching: Etching is traditionally the process of using strong acid to cut into a metal
surface to create a design in the metal.
Intaglio: [type of printing process] Intaglio is the type of printing and printmaking
techniques in which the image is carved or etched into a surface, and the etched line
or sunken area holds the ink that creates the printed image.
Drypoint: Part of the intaglio family of print techniques, drypoint is where the plate,
often a metal, is carved into with a hard-pointed needle. This technique is easier for
artists who are more used to drawing, as the needle is more similar to a pencil than the
engravers chisel.
Burr: A burr is a raised edge or small pieces of material remaining attached to a
workpiece after its been scratched/etched.
Applying pressure: Pressing the nail/needlepoint hard into the surface to scratch a
deep line.
Crosshatching: Adding tone and shadow with many small, closely set and/or
overlapping lines.

Artmaking Materials Needed (Throughout All 5 Days):

25-30 pieces 2 x 3 Plexiglas plates (one per student per class)


25-30 nails (of the hardware variety, long enough to grip well) (one per student per
class)
OR, 25-30 similarly strong etching tools/ clay needles (one per student per class)
~50 sheets of sketching paper (~2 per student per class)
~50 sheets of paper to print on (~2 per student per class)

Middle School Art LP

~25-30 permanent markers (one per student per class)


~40 thin cardboard squares (per class)
Water soluble Printmaking/Intaglio inks (multiple color choices, or just black)
5-7 spray bottles of water for wetting printing paper (to share)
25-50 Cotton cloths (cheesecloth is best, but cotton or tightly woven gauze will do in a
pinch) (enough for everyone to have 1-2 cloths)
Newspaper/Phonebook pages, as much as possible
Newsprint, as much as possible
~25-30 clean metal spoons

PROCEDURES:
DAY ONE: Making Your Designs!

ART HISTORY SEGMENT (8 minutes)

INTRODUCTION: (8 minutes)
o
o
o

o
o

DEMONSTRATIONS: (5 minutes)
o
o
o
o

Schedule: Today the lesson will be about printmaking, with a focus on drypoint
and etching. We will be designing and sketching three small plate designs
using pencil and paper before we choose one to etch.
Have any of you done printmaking before? What kinds of printmaking have you
done? How do you feel about printmaking? Why?
Some of the things you can do are you can make letter plates- like fancy letter
stamps, or like the things you see in illustrated manuscripts. Some other things
you can do are making pictoral designs instead- these can be drawings of
certain things, or they can be abstract.
No matter if you choose to print a letter plate or a picture plate though, we
expect you to make three complete designs, and to use crosshatching to show
shading in several places in your designs. You should have at least one of each
type of design- picture or letter.
Contemporary/Historical Examples (PowerPoint, hosted on Google Drive)
Vocabulary of Printmaking (use throughout, no handout or PPT though)

Show teacher examples of both picture plates and of letter plates- show one
completed one of each, and have a step-by-step showing of making sure to
plan for crosshatching.
Show at least three different designs- its important to make multiple designs
in case some of your ideas are too elaborate or difficult to etch into plastic.
Talk about difficulty of smooth, curving lines in plastic- its important to
consider how the plate will be actually made when making a design.
Talk about drawing BACKWARDS. When making designs with words or letters,
you have to carve them backwards, so they print facing the right way! So,
when designing, make the letters backwards when you draw them.

DESIGN/WORK SESSION: (15 minutes)


o
o

We are going to create 3 different sketches for designs for our plates.
DIRECTIONS FOR STUDIO:

Get out your pencils. If you dont have one, you need one.

(Teacher: pass out paper to students- just printer paper is fine, though
graphing paper may be better.)

Once you have your paper, draw three boxes on your paper that are 2
inches by 3 inches big. These are the same size as the plates we will
be printing with, and will help you plan your designs. Once the boxes
are drawn, start thinking about the designs you want to create. Can
either begin with letter designs or with picture designs- if you have a
specific letter/font idea, you can ask to trace a printout.

Middle School Art LP

Be aware that it is difficult to carve organic lines into plastic- may want
to consider when designing/etching.

You have about 15 minutes to work on your sketches.


Students will work on sketches while teacher walks around assisting with
technical aspects when/if necessary.

CLEAN UP: (2 minutes)


o
o
o
o

Make sure names are on sketches


Put all sketches in your folders
Make sure folders are all in class box
Return any borrowed materials (pencils, rulers, etc)

DAY TWO: Beginning Etching!

ART HISTORY SEGMENT (8 minutes)

INTRODUCTION: (2 minutes)
o Schedule: Today we will continue working on our designs for our prints.
When youve finished all three, call over a teacher and show us which
of the three you want to print. Once youve gotten the okay, well give
you a Plexiglas plate so you can start etching your design.
o Vocabulary of Printmaking (use throughout, no handout or PPT though)

DEMONSTRATIONS: (5 minutes)
o Show how to transfer a design to your plate- tape to back of plate (so
no moving around); use a permanent marker to trace design onto the
plate; remove original sketch from back and put it away safely; begin
carving into plate where the permanent marker lines are.
o Show how line varies depending on pressure- emphasize necessity of
burrs, for holding ink so it prints clearly.
o Demonstrate crosshatching in plastic.

DESIGN/WORK SESSION: (20 minutes)


o We are going to finish our sketches of our designs, and begin etching
them into our Plexiglas plates. Remember, you need three different
designs, at least one of each type (letter, picture), and there should be
crosshatching to show shading in your designs as well.
o DIRECTIONS FOR STUDIO:
Take out the designs you made from yesterday, and continue
working on them. If youve finished, show the teacher which
one you most want to do. Teacher will either OK sketch or make
suggestions to make it less difficult to etch into the Plexiglas.
Everyone should begin working on their etchings today.
You have about 15 minutes to finish your designs and to begin
working on your etch.
If you finish early, talk to the teacher and show them your etch.
Its unlikely well be able to print today, but there are still
several things you can do if you complete your etch before class
ends.
o Students will work on etching plates while teacher walks around
assisting with technical aspects when/if necessary.

Middle School Art LP

CLEAN UP: (3 minutes)


o Make sure names are on plates (write on masking tape, stick to back of
plate)
o Put all plates away in folders.
o Put all folders into class box.
o Return any borrowed materials (rulers, pencils, permanent markers,
etc)

CLOSURE: (2-3 minutes, if theres time)


o What did you learn about printmaking today that you didnt know
before?
o Are you looking forward to making prints with the plates you just
made?
o What might be some possible disadvantages of working specifically
with drypoint printmaking? Can you think of any advantages?

DAY THREE: Beginning Printing!

ART HISTORY SEGMENT (8 minutes)

INTRODUCTION: (3 minutes)
o

Schedule: Today, we will be finishing our etches and begin actually printing with the
plates you designed! Between today and tomorrow, we will be creating a series of
complete prints using the drypoint etched plates. At the end, you should end up with 5-6
nice, clean prints.
Vocabulary of Printmaking (use throughout, no handout or PPT though)

DEMONSTRATIONS: (12 minutes)


o
o

Recap etching strategies, include the importance of etching deeply so that the lines will
hold a lot of ink!
Demonstrate how to prepare and print your plate- ink, cloth, newspaper, wet paper,
apply paper, more newsprint, spoon, done!

First, gently wash your plate with handsoap. Its important to remove
the oils from our hands, or the ink might not stay very well!
Next, squeeze a little bit of the ink youll be using onto a surface like
glass or plexiglass- you need to be able to move it around, so the
surface should be smooth and non-sticky!
Using a small cardboard square as your breyer, apply ink to your plate.
You dont need a lot, only enough to completely cover all your etched
lines. Scrape off any extra ink with the cardboard breyer, until the lines
are the darkest part of the plate. If you keep the parts of your plate
without etched lines clean to begin with, thats even better!
Then, take the gauze/cotton cloth/cheesecloth and wad it up into a
small ball, with one side free of wrinkles and flat. Using the flat side,
you want to GENTLY rub over your plate. This will clean up even more
extra ink.
Take a small square of newspaper/phonebook paper- rub this in all the
areas of your plate that you want to be REALLY clean (so, anywhere
your lines ARENT.) This will polish the plate in those places, and
make it even cleaner, so it prints nicely.
Next, wash your hands VERY THOROUGHLY. You want to make sure your
hands have no ink on them, so we can prepare our paper!
When your hands are clean, get your nice paper out. It should be about
an inch bigger than your plate on all sides, so 3 by 4. Take the spray
bottle filled with water, and lightly spray you paper with it. Using your

Middle School Art LP

DESIGN/WORK SESSION: (10 minutes)


o
o

hands, smooth the water around the paper until the whole paper is
wet. You dont want puddles, but do make sure that the whole paper
feels wet when you touch it!
Lay the wet paper over the inked side of your plate. Do your best to
line the paper up so the plate is in the middle, but its AOK if it doesnt
match up perfectly and comes out a little lopsided!
Next, put newsprint over the top of your paper. This will protect it when
you print.
Finally, take out your metal spoon! Using the rounded side, firmly press
it and move it around your paper, making sure to completely press it
all over your plate a few times. In order to make the print more clear
and firm, you should be standing while doing this step.

We are going to finish etching our plates, and if theres time, make 1 or 2 small drypoint
prints.
DIRECTIONS FOR STUDIO:

Take out plates from folders.

Finish your etches, and check in with the teacher to get the OK to begin
printing.

Get your nice paper- IMMEDIATELY write your name on the back! It will be hard
to do this when the paper is wet!

Follow directions from Demonstration in order to prepare and print your plates:
There will be a typed up list of steps in case you forget something, so dont
worry!
Students will work on making prints while teacher walks around assisting with technical
aspects when/if necessary.

CLEAN UP: (5 minutes before end of class)


o
o
o
o
o

Make sure names are on prints


Put all prints on drying rack
Cleaning plates: first wipe with newsprint as much as possible, then wash in sink (this
will be the most time consuming)
Throw away all newspaper/cardboard breyers/plates with ink
Wipe down tables for any stray ink

DAY FOUR: Finishing Your Prints!

ART HISTORY SEGMENT (8 minutes)

INTRODUCTION: (2 minutes)
o

DEMONSTRATIONS: (5 minutes)
o
o

Schedule: Today we will continue working on making prints. We want to make a


minimum of 5-6 clean prints- this means you might have to make more than 6
prints in order to get 5-6 good ones! Not every print will be perfect- some
might be too faint, some might be blurry, or too lopsided, or maybe there was
too much ink on the plate when you printed. Thats okay! The more prints you
make, the more practice you have, and the more chance youll have to make
good prints!
Vocabulary of Printmaking (use throughout, no handout or PPT though)

Review the steps for preparing a plate, preparing the paper, and making a
print.
Reiterate that its important that they have their names on their papers before
they prepare them for printing!

DESIGN/WORK SESSION: (~18 minutes)


o
o

We are going to continue printing our plates, while making sure to work hard to
get 5-6 really good prints made!
DIRECTIONS FOR STUDIO:

Collect the prints you made yesterday, if any. Double check that your
names are on them, and then put them into your folders so they stay
safe and free of stray ink.

Middle School Art LP

Get out your plates and prepare them for printing. If you notice that
your lines seem thinner after printing yesterday, you might want to
etch over them again so your lines will be able to make nice deep
prints today too!

You have about 18 minutes to make more prints. Remember, quality is


more important than quantity! You want 5-6 good prints. If you only
make 6 prints but all of them are clear and well made, thats fine! But
if you want 20 prints but none of them are very clear or well printed,
then thats not so great. Its important not to rush, and take your time
to make the best prints you can!

If you finish early, talk to the teacher and show them all your prints,
and then point out which you think are your best 5-6 prints. If the
teacher agrees that those are your best prints, then line those 5-6
prints up in order of best of the best to least of the best, and write
1/5 or 1/6, 2/6, 3/6 in the bottom left corner of the print until
you get to the last one and label it 6/6. In the middle, right under the
center of the print, write the title, if you have one. If you dont, leave it
blank. Finally, in the bottom right corner, sign your name as neatly as
you can! If you know cursive, here is a good place to use it!
Students will work on making their prints while teacher walks around assisting
with technical aspects when/if necessary.

CLEAN UP: (5 minutes before end of class)


o
o
o
o
o
o

Make sure names are on the back of all prints. Keep ALL OF THEM, even the
bad ones!
Make sure the top 5-6 prints are labeled with edition number ( 1/6, 2/6,
etc.) and that all of those prints have your signature too!
Put all prints on the drying rack.
Cleaning plates: first wipe with newsprint as much as possible, then wash in
sink (this will be the most time consuming)
Throw away all newspaper/cardboard breyers/plates with ink
Wipe down tables for any stray ink

CLOSURE: (2-3 minutes, if theres time)


o
o
o

What did you learn about printmaking today that you didnt know before?
Are you happy with the prints you just made? What did you enjoy? What might
you change for another time?
Now that youve done some actual printmaking, can you think of
disadvantages of working specifically with drypoint printmaking? Can you think
of any advantages?

DAY FIVE: Adding Color!

ART HISTORY SEGMENT (8 minutes)

INTRODUCTION: (8 minutes)
o

Schedule: Today, we will be adding color to some of our prints by using


watercolor. Before printmaking became what we know of it today, where often
colors are added in the printmaking process itself, people used to just make
the lines as a print, same as youve just done, and then color them in by hand
afterward! They often used inks made from flowers, berries, or ground metals,
but were going to be using watercolors instead.
Part of the cool thing about hand coloring prints, is that you can change the
colors between prints! For example, if you made a print of some flowers, and
you decided to paint them blue but decided they would look better as purple,
then you can paint them purple in the next print. However, part of the
technique and difficulty in hand coloring prints is in trying to get them to all
look the same, even though youre painting each one separately!
Vocabulary of Printmaking (use throughout, no handout or PPT though)

Middle School Art LP

DEMONSTRATIONS: (5 minutes)
o
o

DESIGN/WORK SESSION: (~15 minutes)


o
o

We are going to continue printing our plates, while making sure to work hard to
get 5-6 really good prints made!
DIRECTIONS FOR STUDIO:

Collect the prints you made yesterday, if any. Double check that your
names are on them, and then put them into your folders so they stay
safe and free of stray ink.

Get out your plates and prepare them for printing. If you notice that
your lines seem thinner after printing yesterday, you might want to
etch over them again so your lines will be able to make nice deep
prints today too!

You have about 18 minutes to make more prints. Remember, quality is


more important than quantity! You want 5-6 good prints. If you only
make 6 prints but all of them are clear and well made, thats fine! But
if you want 20 prints but none of them are very clear or well printed,
then thats not so great. Its important not to rush, and take your time
to make the best prints you can!

If you finish early, talk to the teacher and show them all your prints,
and then point out which you think are your best 5-6 prints. If the
teacher agrees that those are your best prints, then line those 5-6
prints up in order of best of the best to least of the best, and write
1/5 or 1/6, 2/6, 3/6 in the bottom left corner of the print until
you get to the last one and label it 6/6. In the middle, right under the
center of the print, write the title, if you have one. If you dont, leave it
blank. Finally, in the bottom right corner, sign your name as neatly as
you can! If you know cursive, here is a good place to use it!
Students will work on making their prints while teacher walks around assisting
with technical aspects when/if necessary.

CLEAN UP: (2 minutes before end of class)


o
o
o
o
o
o
o

PowerPoint of different examples of hand painted prints from history.


Show teacher sample too.

Make sure names are on all prints


Put all prints that you colored on the drying rack
Put all dry prints into your folder
Make sure folders are all in class box
Put all watercolors back in box
Dump out water and clean off brushes, DONT LEAVE ANYTHING IN THE SINK
Return any borrowed materials (pencils, rulers, etc)

CLOSURE: (2-3 minutes, if theres time)


o

What did you learn about printmaking today that you didnt know before?
Are you happy with the prints you made? What did you enjoy? Do you think
adding color made them better? Why or why not?