Introduction to Printmaking

Here is an introduction to printmaking. This is a simple lesson for the absolute beginner. It is a single transferable print which is so versatile and fun to create. Gather your supplies and enjoy your creation!


Students will receive an introduction to single transferable image print making using potato stamps to create their own Tree Reflection using a limited colour palette.

Newspaper or protective surface
11" x 17" (or bigger) white paper
Painting Smocks
Potatoes cut in half
butter-knife (optional)
Paper plate
Container of watery blue paint
Tempura paint
Blue (watered down)
Paint brush
Protect desk with a newspaper.
Put in painting smocks if you have them.
Roll up long sleeves to the elbow.
Optional: use a knife to cut a simple skeleton into potato flat. A star pattern will work, as will stripes, and the traditional center line with veins coming out. Remove skeleton to leave patterned potato flat for stamping. Collect knives.
Place paper on protected surface.
Students write name on back of paper.
1. Fold paper in half
2. Dip brush into  brown paint. Paint  a short vertical line above the fold. repeat to make a Y shape. Continue painting Y shapes off first Y to form a tree trunk. Place paintbrush in water when not in use. Fold paper again, press gently to ensure transfer of paint, and gently peel back to reveal reflection print
3. Dip potato end in green paint. Stamp on tree ends. Vary colours with yellow green and blends to fill your tree with leaves
Fold the paper again and gently peel back to reveal reflection print
4. Add an island or grassy knoll for a base along the top of the fold. Print again.
5. Using the watered down blue paint, fill in the sky and the water.
6. Drag your blue brush horizontally across the water area to create watery distortions.
7. Dry
Double mat with white paper and coloured paper to match art.
On the white paper underneath the artwork go three writings:
LEFT: print number. Our art project only created one image so we would write "1/1" which means 1st print of only 1 print available, thus ensuring its value.
RIGHT: Artist's Name and Date Year
MIDDLE: Title of Artwork if there is one
These always look amazing.
Try adding bright red apples,
or doing pink cherry tree blossoms,
or autumn colours reflections,
Or grey stormy skies
Try finding other things you can use as stamp shapes.
- We've used cardboard with rubber bands, erasers, pencil sharpeners shaped like circles and hearts, sponges, etc.
The possibilities are endless.

Introduction to Printmaking

Reference Pictures

Intro To Printmaking, Demo 1 - Making Tree Trunks

Intro To Printmaking, Demo 1 - Tree

Intro To Printmaking, Demo 1 - Tree Final

Intro To Printmaking, Demo 1 - River Grate

Intro To Printmaking, Trees on Island