So a few years back, when I was living in Nashville, I was really interested in screen printing. It was a new process to me and I wanted to learn it! I worked with an independent printmaker and also a printmaking company, taking classes, learning new things, etc.
This year, with my Middle School Art Club, I decided to teach my kids how to screen print. I like the connection that it brings to the real world. Kids go, Wow! I can actually make my own t-shirts, clothing, etc! I had a bunch of kids asking about the screen while it was sitting in my room, but my Art Club kids were the ones who actually got to make them.
I purchased an 18×24 exposure table a few years ago for about 200 dollars. I get my money’s worth out of it. The exposure table makes it really easy for me to burn the screen.
My art club kids were asked to come up with designs. Then, we voted on what we liked best out of all the designs. We combined them into one design that everyone was happy with. I then went home and created it on Photoshop, printed it as a transparency, and then burned the transparency onto the screen.
I took the screen into school for Art Club. I explained the process that I did at home to the students so that they could be aware of the process too, they were extremely interested! I had students working on various low maintenance projects during this particular art club, and as they were working, I pulled students aside to screen print in small groups of 3, 4, or 5.
I showed them how to place the screen wherever they wanted the design to print. I explain to them what happens if they go too far over, if they don’t press hard enough, if they don’t have enough ink, if they lift up the shirt too quickly, etc. I monitored how much ink was going on the screen at a time and I offered them individual suggestions as they printed.
Although I have ton various printmaking techniques in the past, this was my first time screen printing with my middle school students! I would love to hear what printmaking techniques are used in your classroom!
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