Media & Techniques

Use Simple Materials to Make a Print With Tempera Paint

There are so many methods you can use with tempera paint. The possibilities are endless. Today I’d like to talk to you about my favorite tempera paint technique: using a cardboard collagraph and tempera paint to make a print.  If you’re familiar with traditional printmaking techniques, you know that it can be an expensive and time consuming process requiring special tools and materials. Depending on your budget, traditional printmaking projects maybe out of the question.

Using tempera paint for printmaking is inexpensive. Many of the materials you need can be found in your classroom. It doesn’t get much better than that!

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Here are the materials you need to make your collagraph:

  • Cardboard
  • Yarn
  • Glue
  • Scissors

Step 1:Draw an image on cardboard. Examples of images include sea creatures, animals, abstract designs, people, etc.

Step 2: Glue yarn to cardboard. Students glue yarn on top of the image, creating a collagraph.

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Step 3: Paint tempera paint on the yarn.

Step 4: Make a print.

VIOLA! You have an inexpensive and unique printmaking lesson.

Adaptations: For younger students, have them glue yarn onto a cardboard paper towel or toilet roll and paint yarn. Students roll the cardboard paper towel or toilet roll onto paper to make a print.


Want to add color to your print? Use crayons, colored pencils, markers, watercolor paints, or oil pastels to add color to the prints. (My favorite technique is having students paint the prints with watercolor and add lines, shapes and patterns with oil pastels on top.)

Have you ever used tempera for printmaking?

What are other creative collagraph ideas you have?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Cassidy Reinken

Cassidy Reinken, an art educator, is a former AOEU Writer. She enjoys helping students solve problems and reach their potential.

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