Learn how to make these easy DIY printmaking rollers using a paper towel tube and items around your home or classroom! Easy and fun for all ages.
Make your own printmaking rollers with free & found materials
I love the convenience of going into a teacher store and buying premade, ready-to-go products, but sometimes it feels like the costs never end.
So instead, like many of you, I like to get inspiration browsing in stores or online and see what I can make with materials I already have.
This activity is a PERFECT example of using what you already have, and this could easily be free to make.
Printmaking rollers are like giant stamps
These are like stamps that roll around! Also just like stamps, these can come in many designs.
In this post, we’re using paint to roll these around in, but if you have giant stamp pads, they would work, too!
Other fun printmaking projects:
- Styrofoam Sheet Printmaking – Cassie Stephens
- Bubble Prints – The Artful Parent
- Printmaking with Blocks – Play to Learn Preschool
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- Paper towel tubes – Save from home use or buy ready-to-go bulk craft tubes
- Shallow trays – We use these daily in the classroom, and they’re dishwasher safe
- White paper
- Printing texture supplies (ex: hot glue, bubble wrap, foam stickers, rubber bands, etc.)
Let’s get rollin’
First thing’s first: make your printmaking tubes. Depending on what materials you’re using, they might simply wrap around the tube (like rubber bands) or need to be glued on (like foam stickers).
Hot glue works great for quickly securing items to tubes, but hot glue guns are for adult use, only.
Next, get the paint ready. Add a thin layer of paint to the bottom of your shallow tray.
If you want to use more than one color of paint and avoid the colors becoming muddy, use two colors that make a nice color when mixed.
- Pink + blue = purple
- Yellow + orange = tangerine
- Green + yellow = lime
- Blue + yellow = green
Last, time to rock and roll! Invite your child to roll the tube into the paint and then onto their paper. Talk about how the different rollers make different designs.
Why is printmaking important for kids?
Creativity: We love any opportunity for children to create! When doing an activity like this, children choose their colors, create their own designs, and they can even use their completed artworks for something else like cards or wrapping paper.
Fine Motor: Gluing. Rolling, Holding. Controlling. Lifting. Pushing. Printmaking uses many small muscle movements, which also supports prewriting skills. Isn’t it so cool how in early childhood, a simple activity like this can support finger and hand development down the road?
Math: There is JUST as much math involved in this as art. Each different material makes a different design and pattern. For example, rubber bands make lines and bubble wrap makes circles. Children identify shapes and compare the differences between what each type of material makes.
And speaking of math…if you’re able to make a tube with letters on it (ex: foam letter stickers, letters written in hot glue, etc.), do it! When letters are printed, they become backward which is fascinating to kids.
What can you use instead of rollers?
We’re essentially just making stamps, and you can easily make stamps on other surfaces and materials.
Instead of rollers, you could use:
- Jumbo popsicle sticks
- Foam sheets
- Shoe boxes
- Plastic lids
- Bubble wand tubes
- Plastic cups
What will you use for your printmaking rollers?
What are you going to use for your printmaking? We can’t wait to see it!
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