Monday, October 29, 2012

Art Project: Linocuts with Kids

I've always been fascinated by printmaking and have tried many simpler forms of it in children's art projects. However, I had never tried linocuts before, so I was thrilled when two of his friends gave him a homemade linocut set for his 9th birthday. (Their moms helped put it together, one of whom is an art teacher at our school, and the other is the  artist, Stephanie Jünemann.)  

Linocuts require specific tools. Here you can see a roller, a set of cutting tools, two tubes of paint and sheets of linoleum. 

Here is a closer look at the cutting tools outside of the box.

Linocuts are a wonderful projects, but not for faint-hearted parents, because they involve lots of potentially messy paint and small knives.: ) But the results are stunningly beautiful and the children hone their fine motor skills through the intricate work. 

First, my son made a sketch on his linoleum plate. 

Then, he began to carve out the areas on that he wanted to remain white. A simple lesson on positive and negative space beforehand is a good idea if your child is not familiar with this. (There are some good lessons in Drawing with Children by Mona Brookes, and here is a fantastic one on the net by Kathy at Art Projects for Kids.)

After cutting a bit, my son made a test print to make sure that he was on the right track. This is to make sure that the cuts are deep enough and that the right spaces are showing up as white.

After examining what he should do next from the test print, he went on cutting.

Voila, here is the final print! Our current family read-aloud is The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, and this is my son's depiction of what he imagined Gollum to look like, before he had seen any pictures of him in books or film trailers.

My six-year-old daughter then gave it a try as well. Since both of my kids regularly use knives at home to help with dinner, I don't worry too much when they use sharp tools like these. Nevertheless, she did cut her finger once. Nothing that a band-aid can't handle!

As you can see below, her monochromatic of a princess in front of a castle is equally as striking.

So, if you are looking for a special project for your budding artist, consider a linocut set! And if you have your own linocut links, please leave them in the comments.

Linked to Waldorf Wednesday at Seasons of Joy

and Kids Get Crafty! at Red Ted Art

and Friday's Nature Table at The Magic Onions

and Grünzeug (We Love Green Stuff!) at Naturkinder


  1. You just brought back some good memories of when I did this in elementary school! It looks like you guys had a blast. I am definitely putting this on my to do list. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Another fun To Do on the list because of your great blog. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Oh I remember doing these at school.. and they are SO on my to do list ones the kids are a bit older. Great post.

    Thanks for sharing on Kids Get Crafty!


  4. Oh, I love linocuts printing, I have been meaning to get a set of these for awhile now, the kids have used them in school as well. Such a wonderful craft!

  5. What a neat kit! I've actually done something similar using styrofoam trays. You carve the design in the tray and then roll the paint over, and then print.

    Thanks for visiting Waldorf Wednesday. Hope to see you back this week!

  6. Thanks everyone for all of the lovely feedback!

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