By Jan Miller
In this post children use found materials as printing blocks to create colourful patterned papers. The papers are then used to construct 3-dimensional paper houses. The houses are assembled collaboratively to create a village like display and are then photographed; giving the opportunity for the children to develop their photography and computer editing skills.
Notes for Teachers
Week 1: Sponging colours onto A3 cartridge paper.
Colours are mixed and shared. Off-cuts of old cleaning sponges or damp upholstery sponges were used to wash the paint quickly across the A3 paper. This ensures less paint was used and the paper would dry quickly if printing in the same session. You don’t have to worry about streaks as the printing will cover it. Using poster colours and white household emulsion gave a nice chalky quality. (Avoid too much paint as it may crack when folding and constructing).
Making printing blocks
Printing blocks were made using repeated architectural patterns. We looked out of the window and used photographs of surrounding buildings for inspiration. Roof tiles, bricks, pavements, shapes of doorways and patterns of windows were closely examined. Press-print (quick-print) is the easiest method and the blocks can be small as they will be repeated. They can be used on both sides or from old off-cuts. Even used patterned printing blocks from other projects (press print or lino) can be used. If time, the patterns can be drawn and recorded in sketchbooks.
WEEK 2: Printing the blocks onto coloured paper
Printing can be an unaided and a quick process in this project – overlapping, not enough ink and too much can all give unexpected and effective unplanned results. Even if the blocks break – you can still use them. You can print full sheets or section off with different patterns.
Print your own block or work collaboratively.
The printed papers can be used alongside ones that are simply coloured textures or patterns. Even unwanted pieces of artwork can be used or printed over to create a layered print. Printing can be an unaided and quick process in this activity – overlapping, not enough ink and too much can all give unexpected and effective unplanned results.
Even unwanted pieces of artwork or printing blocks can be used to layer printing.
Paper stencils for doors and windows were placed on the painted paper before the print was made and removed to leave gaps in the pattern. These were used on other houses.
WEEK 3: Cutting stencils and constructing houses
A template of a simple house shape was made with folds and just one join with a tab end (2 gable ends and 2 rectangles fit along the A3 paper). Just a dot of glue with secure the end. Then the roof was slotted on to the chimney tabs. Variations in shapes and sizes were encouraged as was the personalised addition of doors and windows cut from other patterned papers. Even opening doors and windows advanced them to new levels.
WEEK 4: Photographing and Editing
Clusters of houses were photographed together, looking through gave an understanding of perspective and focal point. They photographed them on mirrors to create reflections and symmetry. Pupils took their houses around school to photograph them in everyday settings; the variation in scale adding interest. They used Microsoft Photo Editor – easy to use software – when viewing their images to control and manipulate editing facilities such as crop and enhancing the colour, saturation, and light.
Editing – enhancing the colour after photographing on a mirror base.
Getting out and about photographing the houses around school.
Full circle creativity: some pupils were keen to subsequently work from their photographs, creating a piece of 2D art using inks and oil pastel resist.
Some pupils made 3D versions in clay using a rolled out pieces of clay. Found materials such as lego pieces, pegs, wood, pastry cutters, marbles, and pencils were used to add pattern and texture, then when leather hard, the edges were scored and brushed with water to build.
With thanks to Jan Miller for contributing this resource. You can find more of Jan’s resources here.