Floral Foam Prints
If two-for-one bargains catch your eye, take a look at this technique. By combining two fun activities—carving and painting—you set up only once but your kids will have double the fun. The secret is floral foam. It's soft enough for kids to safely and easily carve, makes great prints, and is available for just a few dollars at craft stores or florist shops.
You will need:
- Blocks of green floral foam
- Dull pencil or chopstick
- Tempera paints
- A disposable shallow tray with a smooth bottom (such as a take-out salad container)
- Small, soft paintbrush
- Paper to print on: this works on all but the flimsiest of papers. Try cardstock to create custom note cards.
Here's how to make your floral foam prints:
- Protect your work area with newspaper.
- Using the pencil or chopstick, carve a design into the floral foam. Very fine lines will not print well; carved lines should be about 1/8" wide and just as deep. Use the paintbrush to gently remove any foam that gets stuck in the carved lines.
- Once the carving is complete, cover the bottom of the disposable tray with a very thin layer of tempera paint. The paint should completely cover the bottom of the tray, yet be shallow enough that it doesn't settle in the carved lines of the foam block. Too much paint will result in an unclear image. You may need to experiment a bit to get it just right.
- Press the carved side of the foam block into the paint until it is evenly coated. If any part of the design becomes filled with paint, use the pencil tip to clear it. Press the paint-dipped foam block firmly onto the paper, lifting off carefully to avoid smearing. Before changing colors, clear block by repeatedly stamping it onto newspapers.