Article Type Making Art Together Making Art Together Categories Printmaking Theory and Resources

Printing with Found Materials 2

Diana MacKenzie

This post is all about making printing rolls made with PVC pipes.  This is the project for you if you are interested in printing in repeat on a large surface like paper or fabric.  (Directions below)


I started by spraying Scotch Super77 on the outside of the pipe so I could position the fruit netting and yarn on the surface without it sliding off.  Also try any other relatively flat textured found or natural materials to stick to the pipe.  Not everything will stick but experimenting is all part of the fun!

I sealed the yarn and plastic netting with two coats of water-based Minwax Polycrylic Gloss (available at hardware stores).  The gloss needs to dry completely between coats.  Cleanup is easy with soap and water and brushes can be safely rinsed in the sink.  An alternative to the Polycrylic is to use any brand acrylic gloss medium available at art supply stores.  I prefer to use the Polycrylic gloss from the hardware store because you get more for your money.

Once the second coat is completely dry, the pipe is ready to ink up and roll!  Try tempera paints or any water-based printing ink and use a brayer to get the paint into all the nooks in the yarn and plastic netting.  See my previous post for printing surface suggestions.

An easy alternative to the process above is to cut out shapes from sheets of adhesive-back foam (available at craft stores) and stick them to the PVC pipe.  Try printing multiple colors at once by rolling sections of the pipe in different colors. Mix the handmade printing roll with stamps or drawings or print directly onto a t-shirt or make your own wrapping paper.

The great thing about these printing rolls is they can be rinsed off in the sink and used again and again.  PVC pipe is available in different diameters, so you could create an assortment of large rolls and mini rolls.  The third and final post on printing with found materials will appear next week, so stay tuned!



Diana, smiling wearing an orange scarf and brown shirt.

Diana MacKenzie

Public Art Program Educator from 2007-2016, Diana has a BFA in Printmaking from Syracuse University and creates mixed-media works inspired by her travels, combining her interests in printmaking and sculpture. She received her M.A.T. from Mount Holyoke College in June 2017, and continues teaching visual arts to children and adults.

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