Printing With Negative Spaces

Today we introduced the idea of printing with negatives spaces to create different sorts of objects (e.g., sheep, a tractor and birds).

Printing with Negative Spaces

The idea was to place paper shapes on top of a piece of paper, print over the whole sheet of paper and then remove the paper shapes to reveal white, or negatives, spaces. Once the painting was dry, extra features were added in with a black pen.

Materials Required

  • A large piece of paper for printing on
  • Shapes cut out of paper
  • Paint
  • String
  • A wooden block or a piece of thick cardboard
  • A paint brush
  • Black pen.

Printing with Negative Spaces - How To Do It:

Start by drawing shapes on plain paper and then cutting them out. We drew cloud shapes, a duck shape and a tractor shape.

Printing with Negative Spaces

Dip the shapes in a container of water. Shake off any extra water.

Printing with Negative Spaces

Arrange the shapes on the painting paper. The water will help to keep the shapes in place during the printing process.

Printing with Negative Spaces

Wind some string around a block or piece of thick cardboard. Tape down the ends to keep the string in place. This will be used for printing.

Printing with Negative Spaces

Paint the string on one side of the block.
Printing with Negative Spaces

Press the paint covered string block all over the paper sheet. Add more paint as needed. Print over the top of the shapes you placed on the paper.

Printing with Negative Spaces

Once the printing is complete, carefully peel off the paper shapes. A white, or negative, space will be left.

Printing with Negative Spaces

Flowers can be added by printing them with your fingertip.

Leave your print to dry.

Printing with Negative Spaces

Once your painting has dried, add some details to your masterpiece.

Some Examples of Details Added To Our Prints

Printing with Negative Spaces

The bird received a beak, legs and some extra feathers.
Printing with Negative Spaces

The sheep were given heads, ears, legs and some curly wool.
Printing with Negative Spaces

The tractor needed wheels, a steering wheel and a farmer, of course!

Printing with negative shapes is an art process I'm keen to explore further with the boys. Next time, we'll try printing over different shapes (e.g., triangles, hexagons, etc) as part of a maths focus.

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Return to the Articles List for other children's learning activities or children's book reviews.

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