Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Printmaking: Warhol Self Portraits

For my last after school Modern Art class I wanted my students to explore the work of Andy Warhol. Last time we studied Warhol, we did the Handy Andy prints (which are a popular one on my blog and with my students). This time, I wanted to have them try printmaking so they could explore the Pop Art  repetitive printed images of Warhol's. With this project we are using foam trays to make a printmaking plate similar to a linocut or woodcut, but without the sharp tools.

This student loves to create Manga-inspired art.
I love this piece because it shows her interests and
is definitely a POP art piece--Warhol would be impressed!

This was a great first "real" printmaking project and the results are always so bright and fun. Some children really embrace this technique and I had one student complete TWO projects with the class time since she was having some much fun. I also did the project one-on-one with my Kindergardener and he loved it too. Clean-up is great since I used water-soluble printmaking ink (although I would love to try something in the future that is more permanent so that the kids could add color with watercolors afterwards...).

This might be a bit of an expense to buy the roller (brayer) if you are doing this project at home, but once you have the supplies on had you ca make a bunch of great prints for gifts, stationary, etc. Give it a try!

Faux Linocut Warhol Self Portraits

Supplies Needed:
Adjust the dimensions of your supplies based on the size of the foam trays you are using...

  • A few 4" x 5 1/2" pieces of white paper for drawing your design 
  • Pencils and erasers
  • Foam trays or styrofoam plates
  • Masking tape
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • A scrap piece of cardboard or mat board slightly larger than your foam printing "plate"
  • Water soluble printmaking ink
  • Brayer (I use the Speedball 4" soft rubber brayer)
  • A few 5" x 7" pieces of colored paper (smooth paper with bright colors work well)
  • Glue stick
  • Large piece of construction paper to mount the finished prints on

1. Use the pencil to draw a simple self portrait on the white piece of paper. Make it unique--just like you, but don't get too detailed. 

2. Place the drawing onto the foam tray and tape down. Trace the lines of your drawing with a dull pencil. Press down enough to leave an impression in the foam tray, but not hard enough to poke all the way through the foam or shred the paper drawing. This takes some practice...using the pencil at a slight angle helps. Once you've traced the drawing, remove the drawing and go over the lines you made in the foam tray to make them a bit deeper.

3. Mount your finished foam printing plate to the cardboard using hot glue.

4. Squeeze some printmaking ink onto a spare foam plate or foam tray. Use your brayer (roller) to move the ink around, coating the roller with ink. You don't need it gooping with ink--a nice even coating works best. Roll the inked brayer over your foam printing plate. Lay a piece of colored paper o top of the inked printing plate and press gently with your fingertips. I had the children use one hand to hold the paper still while the other rubbed the image. Remove the paper to see the transferred image. 

5. Repeat as may times as you wish. I had the children make at least four copies of the image ad the they mounted them onto a larger piece of construction paper once the prints were dry.


This guy is super-cute, too! 

Love the freckles!

And this piece is super-sweet! It makes me smile!


  1. These are very cool. I understand why you chose foam, not lino. Half my class left with cut fingers yesterday after lino cutting. Nothing major, but it is a hard thing to deal with.

  2. OUCH! Yes, I remember trying to make a linocut once and if the lino is too old it is horrible to work on not to mention all those sharp carving tools--No Thanks! at least with my younger set! But these went well and are quick enough to get done (pretty much) in 1 one-hour session--at least with the two small groups I worked with. And cheap too! I've heard that some supermarkets will sell unused foam trays that fruit comes on for pennies each--foam trays work much better than the foam plates we used, but either will do in a pinch. Glad you enjoyed them!

  3. These are adorable! I really like the round format of the styrofoam plates- never thought of using them before. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hello! The plates are easy, but wasteful since you throw away the ring around the center part. I can't think of a project that would use the ring--but I'm working on it...and you can't beat the ease of buying a stack of plates and they store much better than the multi-size foam trays...glad you enjoyed the post. Thank you for stopping by.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...