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Pop Culture Art - Styrofoam printing

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styrofoam sheet/trays, tempera paint, pencil or golf tees, paint roller, white paper


This project is adapted from an idea in the book "Make it POP! Activities and Adventures in Pop Art", which features the artistic styles of famous pop culture artists.  This project is inspired by the artwork of Andy Warhol, and his famous paintings of celebrities.  Warhol painted famous pictures of celebrities in playful, colorful ways.

To start, show children some of Warhol's artwork (you can google it online - or show photos from a book, such as Andy Warhol: Pop Art Painter).  Show how Warhol uses non-traditional colors to paint the features of famous people (ie. blue hair, green face, etc). 

Explain to the children that they will be able to make their own unique picture in a fun way similar to Warhol's paintings using styrofoam sheets.  Have the children use a pencil or golf tee and "carve" out a design or picture out of their piece of styrofoam sheet.  They may need to go over a certain line or curve multiple times to "carve" out their design.  This is great fine motor skill practice!  (NOTE:  This project can get messy as pieces of styrofoam will scatter .. to help keep this project neater, have children do this part on a tray or in a shirt box). 

Explain that whatever they carve out of the styrofoam will show up as white outlines on their finished painting.  Preschoolers and kindergarteners may have difficulty in making a picture of something specific (like a portrait) ... so this exercise is simply for them to be creative and experiment with this style of making art.  Encourage them to make lines, designs, stripes or simple shapes. 

Next, have the teacher or child roll on a color of paint onto the styrofoam with a roller.  Be careful not to glob the paint on, as the it will fill in the lines.   Then, place a sheet of white paper on top the painted styrofoam and gently rub your hand over it.  Slowly lift off the paper and see the finished print! 

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