Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Printing Using Polystyrene Packaging

I haven't done this for ages but I wanted to pass this technique on just in case you didn't know of it. Yesterday I showed my students printing using polystyrene pizza bases. 

This is a cheap, effective and quick way of making relief prints using recycled pizza packaging. 
The polystyrene is very receptive to imprints, so anyone including small children is able to make a printing block using this material.

You can cut the polystyrene to what ever shape and size that you want, using a craft knife or scissors. 
Here I wanted to make two blocks that interlocked so that I could have two distinct colours in my print. 
You draw the lines that you want, or stipple, cross hatch etc using a biro or sharp pencil. 
As long as you can feel the imprint with your finger then it will print.

Above: you can see the inked block and the first print. 

I used block printing inks and a roller but you can use acrylic paint and brushes. 
Roll or paint the ink/paint onto the block, once inked  place on the paper. I always like a wider border at the bottom, like when you are framing a picture and try to place it centrally. 
It is important to  keep your hands clean so you get a clean print. 
Turn and rub from the paper side (friction on polystyrene can burn) be careful not to move the block on the paper surface. 
Peel the paper back on one corner to check that you have transferred enough ink.

Below you can see the red riding hood printed in red to complete the image. 
When you have finished printing for the day you can wash your block to use again, if you want to. 

Below: finished print on left and blocks on right.