Elementary Art · Inspire Others

Elementary Printmaking


Printmaking is one of my favorite elementary art lessons. Yes – it’s messy, but the kids love it and there are so many different things you can do.

In Kindergarten and First Grade we focus a lot on the basics of shape, line and color. While considering my upcoming shape lessons I came across these plastic condiment containers at the dollar store and presto! I had an instant printmaking lesson. I went in the store to buy plastic “throw-away” cups, but came out with sturdy plastic “reusable” circles and squares. I love days like this.


Though I still teach from a cart I am blessed to have the majority of my classes in the cafeteria this year, but when I am in the classroom I have students turn their desks to face each other in long rows – so it makes a similar cafeteria style table. Not perfect, but you work with what you’ve got.

art table set up

This is how I typically set up for painting lessons. Every student paints on an art tray to keep messes contained. Usually groups of 4 students share a palette and on occasion I will put a palette between every 2. When brushes are used, the water cups are shared the same way. The plastic plates are also dollar store finds.


For the kindergarten class I put each shape into a different color of paint and the students took turns using the different shapes/colors. They loved printing their designs and I love the results.


To add more interest for first grade I had them print in black only on the first day. And I added a smaller circle.


After their paintings dried, they used tempera paints to paint inside all the spaces. It took two 30 minute lessons to do the painting for a total of 3 class periods to complete the project. Absolutely beautiful masterpieces! And I have since used the little condiment cups to hold sequins and such. They were a great find. Easy to stack and store and have many uses.


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