We live in rural Wisconsin where the winters are beautiful, as well as long, and cold. It is because of the winters that makes the warmer weather such a treat, and when it is here we like to soak it all in. With the warm weather I like to take our homeschool lessons outside whenever we can. I especially like heading outdoors for our art class which leads me to our homeschool art lesson for the week.
Botanical Print Making
Taking art class outdoors is great for a few reasons first, nature is abundant with inspiration and supplies, we went to our backyard for supplies to complete this project. Aside from that, working outside also helps strengthen a bond and appreciation for the environment through observation, the fresh air helps the kids sleep better, and clean up is super easy. I feed the kids outside a lot for this reason alone there is less to sweep and the chickens eat the leftovers.
The supplies needed for this project are easy and inexpensive:
- Paper: any paper will do even newspaper if that is all you have just something to print on
- Rollers: I used paint rollers that are normally used for house painting use what you have
- Brushes: if you don't have rollers a wide brush can be used instead... or experiment with both
- Paint: I use craft paint with the kids. The color is vibrant, it is water soluble for clean up and super cheap. I don't like to spend much on their paint because they use it very liberally. The only downside is that it isn't washable so make sure to wear smocks if you use it.
- Greenery for printing: this is the fun part, go outside and gather any plant that lays flat and has and interesting shape.
Looking for things to print is a big part of this lesson it is great for plant identification or scavenger hunts. Play with this step, have fun with it, and do what works for your kids. This would be a great time to teach kids about what plants are edible or which ones are dangerous.
After you have your supplies together get printing. Take your greenery and center it on your paper,
Load your roller with paint and paint from bottom to top with firm steady pressure also, be generous with the paint because the roller will soak it all up. Your kids will probably need help with this part because they have a tendency to want to roll like crazy. Rolling in one direction will keep the print looking nicer and keep your wildlife from ripping.
After you roll one side flip your leaf over and roll it with a clean roller or brayer in the same manner. This will make a mono-print which is a print that can be made only once. It is also a point to teach positive and negative space with both prints next to each other.
Hang them up when you are done and enjoy! A fun way to work with these again is to look at your prints and try to find the plant they came from. These can also be put in a art journal or science binder for plant identification. I like to find ways to merge different subjects and lessons this is a project that can also be made during a lesson on plants.