I remember making styrofoam prints in art class when I was in 2nd grade, and I thought it was one of the coolest art activities that I had done at the time. I have been wanting to recreate that fun experience with my boys, so I’ve been trying to save up flat pieces of styrofoam. Most of our foam came from take-out containers or meat trays – just make sure that the edges are flat or else it makes printing difficult!
Start by drawing your design on to the foam. You can use ballpoint pen or pencil, but be sure to press down hard to indent the lines. We went over our drawings a few times just to be sure the lines were deep enough.
Give the foam a light and even coat of paint (we used tempera). It would be handy to have a brayer for this step and the next, but we made do with a foam brush and my rolling pin.
Flip the painted piece of foam over on to a sheet of paper and give it a firm pressing with the brayer/roller – make sure that it doesn’t move around as you’re rolling it!
Peel back the foam and marvel at the amazing negative image you’ve just created! (I swear he’s totally excited here…I obviously did a great job of capturing that emotion, eh?)
It also made for a great lesson in mirror imaging as some of the boys’ first attempts had backwards lettering when we made the prints. Don’t forget that everything will print in reverse!
I wish we had more foam because we whipped through these pieces SO quickly! The boys loved it, and it’s definitely an activity that we will revisit again in the future.