Printing with Styrofoam Plates with Gelli Arts® with Joan Bess Lesson Plan


  • Students Will Be Able To (SWBAT) make their own unique reusable texture plates for printmaking.
  • SWBAT create monoprints using a textured Styrofoam plate.


  • What is texture?
  • Why is it important to repurpose or reuse items?


  • Gelli Arts® printing plate
  • Brayer
  • Paint
  • Paper
  • Styrofoam plates or trays
  • X-acto knife or other sharp tools


Repurpose – adapt for use in a different purpose.

Texture – The feel, appearance, or consistency of a surface. The way something feels or the way it looks like it feels.


  • Creating the Styrofoam Plates
    • Step 1: Place a Styrofoam plate on a cutting surface and using an X-acto knife, cut some slivers or shapes from the plate. Remove them to create a few holes or empty spaces. The plate works essentially like a stencil.
    • Step 2: You can also inscribe marks into it that will show in your print. To inscribe marks, turn the plate upside-down. With a ballpoint pen or sharp pencil, draw marks into the bottom of the cut plate to create additional design elements. Make small holes by pushing the tip into the Styrofoam.
  • Printing with the Styrofoam Plate
    • Step 3: Apply paint to the Gelli Arts® plate and place your Styrofoam plate on the wet paint. Gently press the foam plate into the wet paint. Cover with your printing paper, rub to transfer the paint, and pull your print.
    • Step 4: While the Styrofoam plate still has wet paint on it, apply different color paint to the Gelli Arts® plate, then press the foam plate into the gel plate. This will give you a multi-colored print.

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