If already on hand, recycled styrofoam trays with edges cut off can be used for printmaking plates.
Depending upon needs of your project, the flat tray bottom can be cut in to multiple smaller plates.
Or scratch foam can be purchased specifically for printmaking projects. (Link on product page.)
To begin, practice your drawing on paper. Then draw again directly into styrofoam or scratch foam.
Look closely and go over your drawing lines again to make sure they are deep in all areas.
Now you are ready to set up for your first print. A brayer is a special roller used to apply ink.
This first example uses water based printing ink. Roll out ink on a tray or a piece of plexiglass.
This is what your ink plate would look like if plexiglass or thin piece of acrylic.
Now roll a thin ink coat over the plate. Roll up and down and side to side to cover evenly.
Always set brayer down with the roller side up when not in use.
Place paper on printing plate. Press down over entire plate using back of hand, a lid or a spoon.
A second print taken without adding more ink to plate is called the “ghost”. Here it is still dark.
Paints can also be used for making prints. With paint, a foam roller works best. This is tempera.
Again press down or “burnish” with the back of your hand, a lid, a spoon or another flat object.
Acrylic paint will work well, but it dries on plate very quickly so transfer to paper right away.
Here’s what may happen if too much time goes by between inking plate and printing on paper.
The “ghost” with acrylics - second print without adding paint to plate - will likely be very light.
When done printing for the day, roll extra ink or paint on to scrap paper and wash brayers in sink.
Once dry, these painted papers can be interesting to save for collage projects.
Anything you can draw on paper, you can draw into styrofoam to make multiple prints!