Woodblock Printing Grades 6-9

Project theme:
Tools & Materials
Material List
  • Paper
  • Glass
  • Plate
  • Ink
  • Wood blocks
Tool list
  • Brayer (roller)
  • Sandpaper
  1. Look at the Northwest coast designs and pick one you like. Can you identify the animal? Can you see the different form lines that make up the design? Take a pre-cut woodblock that will fit your design
  2. Prepare the block by lightly sanding the top and sides
  3. Paint the top and sides with primer. (optional)
  4. Lightly sand the paint for a smooth working surface, and coat with primer again, if necessary
  5. Put a piece of tracing paper over your design, with your pencil trace all of the lines in the design. Transfer your design onto the wood by taping the tracing paper face down on the block. Go over your design lines with your pencil. Lift off the tracing paper and fix any gaps or weak lines so you have a clear design to work with
  6. Carve out your design positively, making sure that the part you leave will be your finished design. The raised parts will be your finished design. Take care when carving that you always point the blade away from you and your fingers. Turn the block as you carve so that you always carve away from your body. Use your hands on the lower edge of the block to keep steady. You can also use a bench hook to hold your piece and keep it from slipping forward as you carve
  7. Prepare your paper, cutting it to size. It should be larger than your block, with extra room on the bottom for a signature
  8. Organize your inking area, on a clean sturdy table. Get your glass plate, brayer, ink, barren, and spoon ready. Set out your inking plate making sure there is no dust or dirt on it
  9. Apply a small amount of ink to the glass. Use only enough to apply a thin coat onto the glass plate. Start with about a teaspoon or dime-size blob
  10. Use a brayer to evenly roll out ink on your glass plate
  11. Keep rolling ink until it has a sticky consistency and hisses like a snake as you roll it. When it’s ready to be used the lines formed from the brayer (roller) will be close together. When your brayer is not in use put it down on its back, roller side up
  12. Apply ink to woodblock in thin, even coats
  13. With clean hands, put the paper onto the woodblock, and press with barren in small circles
  14. Use the spoon to get an even pressing onto the block
  15. Gently lift the paper off the block, peeling from one side and being careful not to smudge the ink as you lift it off the block
  16. Hang the print with clean wooden clothes pegs, or lay it flat (preferably on a rack) to dry
  17. Repeat steps 12 – 16 for more prints
  18. Clean all items used. Put the blocks somewhere to dry. You need them completely dry to use them again
  19. You have created your wood-block print! Don't forget to be proud of yourself for learning something new!

  20. When the prints are dry, don't forget to sign your work!
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