Creating Upcycled Art: Making Print Blocks with Found Material

 Creating Upcycled Art: Making Print Blocks with Found Material

Creating crafts on a shoestring budget is right up my alley. I love creating, but do not like expensive products. Ever since leaving high school, I have wanted to do linoleum printmaking again. The materials were always a bit expensive. When I was browsing Pinterest recently, I saw someone post pictures of how to make a common piece of trash into a free substitute for the linoleum. There were no written instructions, but I knew I could figure out the steps.

This Craft Can be Done by: Any Age

Creating Upcycled Art

Time Needed: 15 minutes plus drying time

Items You Will Need:

  • A Styrofoam takeout container
  • Scissors
  • Dull Pencil
  • Paint brush
  • Paper Napkin or paper towel
  • Craft paint
  • Paper
  • Optional: tracing paper

The Step-By-Step Process

  1. Cut the flat top and bottom out of a clean and dry Styrofoam takeout container. Leave smooth edges.
  2. The print will ultimately come out in reverse, so all lettering and views should be done backwards. One tip is to draw it out beforehand on a piece of paper and then use tracing paper to have a reverse of the drawing. Gently sketch out a design using the dulled pencil in the Styrofoam. Everywhere that is pushed down by the pencil will show up as a void. Only the intact places that have not been sketched will take paint. With this in mind, create textures and depth to your piece. Dots, squiggles and accent lines can make a big difference. Add a border to your design for a more finished look. When you are satisfied with the design, its printmaking time!
  3. Lay out an opened paper towel or paper napkin. Place the newly created print plate in the center. Take an inch wide synthetic bristled brush and smooth on a thick layer of paint on the print plate. The paint needs to be very smooth in order to give the best result.
  4. Lay your paper on top of the print plate. Be careful not to move around the paper once it is laid in place. Gently smooth out the paper so it makes complete contact with the paper. With caution, peel back the paper, revealing the print. Allow to dry.


The print can be matted and hung on the wall or used as the basis for other crafts such as place mats or decoupage. Your imagination is the only limit. It is so easy, your home will soon be filled with colorful prints.

If you want a bit more professional look, invest in some block-printing inks and a hard rubber roller. It will have more even coverage. I lack storage and funds, so was glad to find easy success with what was already on hand.

Adam Guzman

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