Submitted by: Christine Eldred, Warwick High School
Title: Victorian House Prints
Grade Level: Beginning High School (Level 1) and Advanced High School (Level 2)
This lesson is offered at two levels, Level 1 for beginning High School students and Level 2 for more advanced students.
Level 2 - The project is printed in clay and can be glazed or painted with acrylic paint once fired. Examples are from a Warwick High School Senior.
Level 1- The project is for beginning High School students and is printed using traditional block printing ink rolled on with a brayer. Examples below are Warwick High School sophomores.
Pictures of two block printed houses
Click on all images for full size
Drawing Paper, Drawing Pencils, pens, pointed sticks, tape, Sharp Scissors, Scratch-foam plates
Level 1 Printmaking Paper, Block Printing Inks, newspapers, Brayers and surface to roll ink on
Level 2 Moist Clay, slab roller/Rolling Pins, Kiln, Glazes, or Metallic Acrylics or other paints.
1) Students should study architecture. Have them look at pictures of houses. I recommend Dover Publications because they offer a large selection of architectural coloring books that are copyright-free for the first 10 copies. I copy many examples for students to study. I recommend having them study architectural terms, try drawing different pattern like bricks, scallops, etc., and practice different doors, windows, gables, etc. Level 2 is given architectural examples from around the world, while level 1 is limited to Victorian. Some years level 1 may be given castles instead.
2) Using cheap paper students will divide the paper up into grids and draw variety of doors, windows, roofs, porches, gables etc. in each grid block.
3) Students are allowed to share their extra blocks. They can move their blocks around trying to create an interesting house. They may find that they need to make extra blocks to fill in spots. Tape blocks together once students have a house.
4) Student place their taped blocks onto scratch-foam plate. Tape in place so it won’t slide. Trace around the outer edge with a pencil, pen or pointed wood stylist. Trace over the pencil lines on the inside blocks.
Hint: Remind students that everything will print in reverse, so I recommended not using house numbers or any names carved into plates.
5) Take off the paper once all the lines have been traced. Students must re-trace every line deeper, especially if they intend to print into clay. In the above example, the student pressed down with a ball point pen. Students will need to be encouraged to add more patterns.
6) Cut away outer edge with scissors, and cut inside spaces with a blade or have students completely press down areas that aren’t printed with heavy lines (like above).
7) The plate is done! Now just follow directions on the scratch-foam box for printing for level 1.
After creating individual prints you may want to create a group printing of the best houses on roll paper and hang it up in the hallway.
8) For level 2 roll out a very large slab. Press foam plate into clay and go over the plate several times with a rolling pin or clay roller. With a knife cut away the edges clay while plate is still on. While plate is still on move clay onto a flat board for drying. Once on the board genteelly remove plate and cut away inside areas.
9) Wait until the clay in at least leather hard to move into the kiln. Allow to finish drying completely in the kiln, may take days. If clay is bone dry when moved into kiln it will likely break.
10) Once fired clay house can be glazed and re-fired. Students can paint with acrylic paint.
11) The level 2 examples were painted with metallic acrylic paints, when completely dry, glazed with a mixture of black oil paint and turpentine. Let it set for a moment and then is rubbed with a soft rag so that the dark remains only in the cracks.
The criteria for grading the Victorian House Foam Plates are:
Must have used at least 7 or more paper blocks used
Must have an interesting outer edge
Must have some interior cut-away spaces
Must have 5 or more different architectural patterns
like bricks, honey cone, scallops, herring bone, parquet, lattice, panels, stone, etc..
Must be neat and students best effort