Jul 22, 2012

Self Portrait Foam Reduction Prints

After my success with reduction printing using printing foam with grade twos last year, I was keen to try this technique again with an older group of students. These tri-colour prints were completed last term by my grade five students. 

We began with a lot of work on self-portrait drawing. (I will post some of the results of these original drawing sessions soon).
Once each student had completed a self portrait drawing in pencil, I reduced their drawings on a photocopier and had each student trace the outline only of their drawing onto a small piece of printing foam. The procedure for printing was the same as that of the fruit prints by grade twos.

This is not a quick or easy project, but with perseverance children can produce some pretty sophisticated results - and it's still easier and safer than lino printing.



  1. WOW! These are so fantastic! I just ordered some foam sheets because I was so inspired by your fruit prints. But now you have me thinking about portraits. : ) I've done some testing myself, and I have to say I'm a bit intimidated by this project. Did you have several stations with brayers and ink set up around the room? I'd love any advice you'd like to share to make this project more successful. Thanks!

    1. Thanks so much, Mary!
      I did have several printing stations set up. I had each student make 3 prints of each colour. Most of the time I would only allow students to use one colour ink per session - ie) 1st week 3 yellow stations, 2nd week 3 red stations etc.
      The hardest thing is making sure they scratch into the foam enough between colours to create the reduction (without breaking the piece of foam!).
      Just give it a go - some will not turn out well but I think most will.
      Let me know if you have any other questions.

    2. I love these reduction prints and no need for linoleum! An inexpensive and safe way to do print making with a sophisticated look.

    3. This is a great project. I noticed that you use this process with younger children. Its seems like they would have trouble making sure that the prints register. Do you have any tricks to help students with this?

    4. Thanks Renee,
      Hmmm - registering was not much of a problem as they had their names written on the back of the foam so they knew which was the right way up and they were just placing the inked up foam on top of their last print each time, so just placing a rectangle on a rectangle.

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  3. Wooooooooooo!!! Really very nice. Here is something about Portrait Prints.


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