Tag Archives: ink

Two-Dimensional Ideas on Paper: Prints from Nature

Two-Dimensional Ideas on Paper: Prints from Nature

The craft NATURE PRINTS was adapted from the project “From the Yard/Nature Prints” found in All-Around-the-House Art and Craft Book by Patricia Z. Wirtenberg and published by Houghton Mifflin Company in1968


Leaves, bark, twigs

Printer’s inks or poster or acrylic paints in various colors (cheaper to use)

Drawing pencils (optional)

Rice or bond paper in white or various light colors (works best with poster/acrylic paints)

Brown wrapping paper or construction paper for use with printer’s inks

Brayer (or roller)

Piece of glass


Solvent for cleaning brayer and glass if using printer’s inks unless using water-soluble printer’s inks

  1. Collect fresh leaves from the trees or bushes in your neighborhood or yard. You will need some to experiment with and some for the last print. Other objects such as tree bark (if it’s easy to peel off) and even some twigs will work along with the leaves, too.
  2. Cover your work surface with newspaper. Lay down the glass and brayer on the work surface. Select the paints or inks that you will use. Acrylic or poster paints are less expensive than oil-based printer’s inks and easier to clean up after use.
  3. You can squeeze one color for each leaf or squeeze two or three colors side-by-side on the glass. The leaves in the samples shown used one or two or three colors at one time.
  4. Roll the paint or inks on the glass until the pigment covers the brayer. If you are using more than one color, let the colors run into each other. Roll the brayer over the leaf several times and turning the leaf over, lay it on a piece of paper like rice paper or bond paper. Use your hand to press the leaf so that it prints on the paper. Paper that is not too thick or too thin is the best to use if using acrylic or poster paints. Printer’s inks can use a slightly heavier paper like construction or brown wrapping paper.
  5. Remove the leaf and see how it printed on the paper. Experiment until you have a print that you like. Experiment with other materials from nature combined with the leaves.
  6. To create a mixed media design, color the whites of the leaves or the background paper or outline the printed leaves with colored pencils. See the two samples below.
  7. Frame the print or using old note card stationery, make note cards or poster cards of the printed leaves. They make a thoughtful gift for people who still write notes!
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Summer Camp: Textured Prints

Summer Camp: Textured Prints
Textured Print

Textured Print

  Materials: Printer’s ink, black and two colors Glass surface Brayer Lightweight paper (rice or bond) Cleaner Rags

  1. Squeeze a line of black ink on the flat piece of glass. Roll the brayer over it and back and forth on the glass. Cover the brayer with ink.
  2. Find a very rough surface i.e., woven fabric, a collage of leaves, brick, stone, etc. Place the paper over this surface. Hold it firmly with one hand as you roll the inked brayer back and forth over it.
  3. Ink the brayer again and try another textured surface on a clean sheet of paper.
  4. Clean the glass and brayer thoroughly and wait to dry.
  5. Squeeze ink in the second color on to the glass and roll the brayer over it. Coat the entire brayer with the ink.
  6. Roll that color over a clean sheet of paper on another surface or roll the new color over the first sheet inked in black. Try different combinations of the two colors and black and different surfaces.
  7. Frame the finished textured prints or use them to make notecards.


Two textured collages,the one superimposed over the second, resulted in the textured print pictured above. The print was first printed in black ink rolled over a collage made of strings arranged in a pattern and glued to a board.  Geometric patterns made from poster board comprised a second collage. After the black ink dried, the print was placed on top of this second collage. Brown ink was rolled over the geometric shapes creating the design.


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