Guest blogger series | Printmaking For All Ages: Yarn Block Prints

by Admin on 27/10/2011

in Guest blog series2 2011, Kids Crafts, Paper+Mixed Media

Steph is the founder/managing editor of Modern Parents Messy Kids and mom to a 2 year old son and 1 year old daughter. She started MPMK as a resource for helping parents to engage their kids, organize their life, and add a little style to their home. For more inspiration on things to make and do, check out MPMK’s newest feature – The Make & Play Vault.

Hello there Whip Up readers, thank so much for having me today! I’m excited to be here sharing with you a new technique I recently discovered via (where else) pinterest. Once I discovered this method, I was immediately drawn to it.

It’s a very easy way to produce the type of modern prints you might find in my favorite stores (West Elm, Anthropolgie, Crate and Barrel, etc.). When done on paper and mounted in a frame, these prints make fabulous wall art for a variety of room styles.

Check out the example above here (also seen on the set of the Nate Berkus Show).

Options really start to open up when you apply this method to fabric. I’m considering a table runner, cloth napkins, or some tea towels in fall colors. And the pattern on a large throw pillow would add a great pop of color to a neutral chair or couch.

What I love most about this project is that it can be easily adapted to kids of all ages. To illustrate this, I’ll be sharing with you how I made a print for our play space as well as how I let my 2 year old experiment with the process. Ready to get started? All you need is some yarn, paint and brushes, and a few blocks.

I began by wrapping a small wooden block with yarn. Then I knotted the end and used some tape to secure it in place. If you don’t have a block, not to worry. All you really need is anything “wrappable” in a shape of your choosing. We made Easter prints earlier this year by cutting egg shapes out of cereal box cardboard and wrapping them with yarn.

Once your printing block is ready, take a brush and apply your paint. The yarn can be pretty absorbent at first so you’ll need to experiment with how much paint to apply on a practice sheet of paper. It’s also a good idea to brush on the paint in only one direction so the yarn fibers lay flat.

Once you have your technique perfected, start stamping. I made my pattern by stamping, turning my block 90 degrees and stamping, returning it to the original position and stamping, back to 90 degrees and so on and so forth. The process is a surprisingly cathartic way to spend nap time.

To add interest, I layered on some orange paint for a few of the squares. It’s a little difficult to see the effect here but it gives the print some nice depth in real life.

Here’s the finished product. I like the look of the pattern running off the borders so I made my print larger then the matte of my frame. A grouping with an odd number of prints made in the same way but in different colors would be a nice solution for a large empty wall.

This project is a great introduction to printmaking for school aged children because it’s simple enough for them to have success. You can also do a more free-form version with toddlers. One of my mantras over at Modern Parents Messy Kids is that beginning art is all about the process, not the product. With that in mind, I wrapped a circular block in yarn for my son and let him loose with a large sheet of craft paper.

At first he used so much paint that the yarn acted more as a relief. Eventually he refined his technique applying the paint and was able to make his own version of a block print.

That’s it, thanks again to Kathreen for having me! I hope you enjoyed this project and that you’ll try it soon. Please also stop by Modern Parents Messy Kids and say hi!

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For more kids craft, creative ideas and activities go to the Action Pack website

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