Summer Art Camp: Abstract Art & Printmaking Activities

Over the summer the school provided week long summer camps that were open and free to all Concho residents. I hosted a week of "Art Camp" for students in two different age groups. We explored printmaking techniques including relief printing, monoprints, printing with found objects, and making our own stamps. Also, we discussed the concepts of realism and abstraction, and defined the differences between 2D art and 3D sculpture.

I encouraged students to come up with their own projects and explore subjects that interested them. In addition to printmaking supplies students also had painting, drawing and scrap materials available for mixed media projects. At the end of each day we gathered for "show and tell," and students shared their favorite pieces using the art and printmaking terms that they had learned.

Make Your Own Rubber Stamp

For this project we used wood blocks of various sizes ranging from 2 to 5 inches; an old rubber inner tube obtained free from a tire store; elmer's glue and scissors. This is a two part project because the stamps must be allowed to dry before using. To make a stamp, cut a shape out of the rubber inner tube and glue it to the wooden block. Add as many shapes as desired before setting it aside to dry.

After an hour or so the block can be inked up by painting it with a brush or pressing the stamp into paint that has been rolled out. We used water based tempras and construction paper that was supplied by the school.

Printing with Styrofoam

Styrofoam relief prints are also pretty simple. We used recycled Styrofoam trays and plates, as well as a variety of tools for making impressions. Pencils work well, as do Popsicle sticks, and large nails. To make relief prints simply press into the Styrofoam until you have created the desired design. These blocks can be used immediately, making this a good one day project. Styrofoam blocks are inked just like the rubber stamp project above.

Found Object Prints

For this project I shopped at the local dollar store, as well as raided my personal scrap pile. We used a variety of things including: bubble wrap, cardboard, string, a spatula, a potato masher, match box cars, jar lids, washers, nut shells and halved apples. One afternoon we took a walk and gathered leaves, branches, grasses, dandelions and a pine cone that we also used for found object prints. We also cut sponges into a assortment of shapes for more printing fun.