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A few weeks ago I did some posts on tempera paint- why it smells and how to make your own. Well I also found out you can adjust tempera paint for printmaking purposes. Here’s how…


  • Tempera Paint
  • Flour
  • Paper- preferably something a little thicker or sturdier that can hold up to your ink mixture
  • A Brayer or rolling pin of sorts (like toliet paper) to roll the ink onto your print
  • Something to carve your print into, called a block. We used styrofoam from plates but they also sell soft rubber rectangles called Speedy Cuts
    for printmaking purposes
  • A tool to carve into your block. We used pencils, put a toothpick or fork would work too in the styrofoam. For the Speedy Cuts you will need some kind of Speedball Linoleum Cutter.
Printmaking with Tempera Paint

Printmaking with Tempera Paint


  • Mix up your ink. Add flour to the tempera paint until it thickens up. You will add a lot more flour than you think. Our mixture used about one cup of flour for about half a paper plate covered in paint.
  • Carve into your block with your tool to remove areas where you don’t want any ink. In our process the raised areas will be what inks onto your final print. It is like the idea of a big stamp.
  • Once you are happy, use the brayer or rolling pin to put ink onto your block. You want to try and make the ink even over the image. When rolling the brayer through the ink you will hear a “schtick” (a stick with a little longer on the shh part) when the brayer is lifted from the ink. You can check out this video for properly inking up a brayer.
  • Place your inked block onto your paper and use a rolling pin or your hands to add pressure to transfer the ink to the paper. You can create as many prints as you want. And if you want you can go back to the block and add changes if you see areas that need to be changed after your first test prints.

Lessons Learned

We used a lot more flour than I ever would have imagined. Start by adding a good amount of flour and then continue by adding smaller amounts of flour when you get closer to the right consistency.

You want your carvings to be deep enough. If they are too shallow ink will get in the spaces and show up on your print.

We did notice a bigger difference between our ink and store bought ink than what we did with making our own tempera paint. However, for the cost and the amount of ink we used it was still the best process for us. If you are looking to do a lot of printmaking than buy some ink might be the best route.

Remember your print will print in the reverse so if you doing letters make sure your flip them so they will print off the correct way.

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