Hadley Hooper, Tableau, 2016. Theater flats, paper, wheat paste, Ikea chairs. © Hadley Hooper.

Hadley Hooper, Tableau, 2016. Theater flats, paper, wheat paste, Ikea chairs. © Hadley Hooper.

Seeing Texture

Prepare an art center with Styrofoam trays, printing ink or paint, rollers, paper, and a mixture of tools and materials that create imprints, such as:

  • Legos and game pieces
  • Pen and marker caps
  • Recycled items that provide a thick imprint edge
  • Drawing tools such as pencils, plastic forks and clay tools, and wooden dowels

Provide a flat Styrofoam surface for each child. Demonstrate how to make a deep indention in the plate using various materials listed above. The indention must be deep for it to work well. Using a roller, apply a layer of ink on to the Styrofoam surface. Lay a piece of paper on top of the inked Styrofoam surface. Using a small clean roller (the classroom block center is a great place to find the perfect size for this project), roll over the top of the clean paper. Gently remove the paper to reveal the image. Following the demonstration, allow for children’s open exploration of these materials to create patterns and reveal different textures.

Guiding questions:

  • What shapes or patterns do you notice when you reveal the print?
  • Which items make prints of shapes such as circles or squares? How can you use these to make a pattern?
  • How do the lines change depending on how hard you press down on the materials?
  • What changes do you notice when you print the same plate twice or three times?

Gather materials for exploration and demonstrate how to make deep marks in the Styrofoam. Then, ask young artists to make their own marks.

After marks are made, roll a layer of ink or paint across the surface.

Lay a piece of paper across the top of the surface and use a clean roller or your hands to make sure it is evenly pressed down.

Gently remove to reveal the image. Repeat as many times as you like with the same surface, by re-inking and reprinting.