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The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002


  • Thursday, Friday10 am-3 pm
  • Saturday 10am – 4 pm
  • Sunday 12 pm - 4 pm

Closed Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday

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Making Art Together

Printmaking with 4th and 5th Graders

I'm just back from a trip to Syracuse, New York area, where I worked with the students at Manlius Pebble Hill School. I taught 2 bookmaking sessions with 3rd graders in the morning and 2 printmaking sessions with 4th and 5th graders in the afternoon.  Fortunately, I remembered to pull out my phone and snag a few shots at the end of the last session of the day! Here are some of the beautiful and diverse monotype prints by the 4th and 5th graders.

Printmaking with 4th and 5th Graders/ Eric Carle Museum Studio Blog

We used Crayola brand Artista II washable tempera in magenta, turquoise and yellow. Any additional colors on the paper students created by overlapping different colored plates. The students worked in reductive monotype, inking the whole plate and using tools to remove select areas of the paint.

Printmaking with 4th and 5th Graders/ Eric Carle Museum Studio Blog

To make the colors more transparent I mixed the paints with a good amount of Speedball brand Screen Printing Transparent Base. This is the best brand I've found to make tempera paints more transparent for printing or painting.

Printmaking with 4th and 5th Graders/ Eric Carle Museum Studio Blog Printmaking with 4th and 5th Graders/ Eric Carle Museum Studio Blog

Thank you to the art teacher, Linda McGinley for all her help, and to the students at Manlius Pebble Hill School!



We enjoy exploring materials and ideas in the Art Studio, and we’re excited to share our process with you! Please consider the following factors when adapting these posts for your learning environment: 

We facilitate a variety of programs within the Art Studio for a wide range of age groups. Please carefully consider the age appropriateness of each individual activity in your own learning environment.

Our projects are always done with adult supervision and proper safety precautions. Be sure all of your projects are overseen by adults who likewise follow proper safety precautions. The adults overseeing your project must also be responsible for handling or assisting with any potentially harmful equipment or materials. 

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is not responsible for any damages, injuries or liabilities that result from any activities contained within this website, and we expressly disclaim any responsibility or liability therefor. From time to time, we reference materials that we have found to be particularly important in our projects. We do not receive any monetary compensation for recommending materials. 




Tuesday, May 5, 2013 - 3:03 pm
The prints look fantastic! Great project! Do you think the Speedball Screen Printing Transparent Base would work with water-based block inks? If that won't work, do you think water-based block inks would work with an acrylic medium instead to get the transparent look? Thanks!
Monday, June 6, 2013 - 12:58 pm
Hi Julie, Great idea to try the Speedball Screen Printing Transparent Base with block inks! I just did a little test mixing it with the Speedball water-based block inks and it made the ink transparent but not sure about how well it made the colors blend when overlapped (I put red on yellow and yellow on red and they sorta just sat on top of each other). I think I would still prefer to use tempera paints to get a range of colors. If you have a bunch of water-based block inks to use up, I would try Speedball block printing ink extender (to make the inks transparent, and retarder (to keep them from drying out so fast). Good luck!

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