The perfect introduction to printmaking – second graders trace and cut out their hands, then stamp their hand-print onto their artwork.
Art Lesson Video: Hand-prints
- 2 pieces of construction paper per student (I used 8″ X 9″)
- Black Tempera
- 1 Brayer (for teacher use)
- Plate or mirror for rolling the paint
Teaching creativity is almost an oxymoron. How can you teach something that inherently has to come from within another person? My goal this year has been to encourage creativity by presenting projects that are open-ended and allowing students to take their artwork in a new direction. This hand-print project combined cutting, gluing and printmaking in a way that my 2nd graders could finish it in one day. It also turned out to be a great way for my students to make their own decisions about their artwork. I came up with this lesson by reinventing a project I saw on Create Art With Me!
I usually shy away from showing my students a teacher example, especially at the beginning of a project. It can make them feel like that is the goal, and sometimes it keeps them from trying something new. But I have noticed that my 2nd graders need to see how the process is going to work. So, with this project I showed them my example, but I told them that they could make a lot of “artist decisions” for their artwork.
They got to choose if their hand was opened or closed. They decided if they wanted to cut out one hand or two. When it was time to print their hand, they chose where and how to place it.
The results were so much fun! Everyday I was excited to see how my students interpreted the project in their own way. About half the class decided to create a piece of art that was similar to my example. Which is why I think of this process as “encouraging creativity.” You can create an atmosphere that is conducive to trying new things, but it’s up to the students to decide when they feel comfortable and ready to try something different. Creativity isn’t something you can force!
The other thing I loved about this project is that it was a chance for kids to practice their fine motor skills. Projects or assignments that are only about cutting can be frustrating for 2nd graders. They need the practice, but it helps if that experience comes with learning about something new, like printmaking. And who doesn’t love having paint rolled onto their hand!