OP ART PRINTS – Using Geometry to Fool the Eye

Students use a craft foam printing plate and tempera paint to create an edition of prints in a non-objective, Op Art style.

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OP ART PRINTS – Using Geometry to Fool the Eye


  • Crayola Tempera Paint
  • Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12")
  • Crayola Scissors
  • Foam Core Board - 10 cm x 12.7 cm (4" x 5") - 1 per student
  • Self-Adhesive Craft Foam - 8 cm x 12 cm (3" x 4.5") - 1 per student
  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • Rulers
  • Paint Rollers - Soft
  • Plastic Trays
  • Old Magazines


Step 1
  1. Trace the shape of your craft foam on a piece of drawing paper.
  2. Use the instruction sheet to carefully measure and draw your op art design on this rectangle. (Downloads - GRID.pdf)
  3. Shade in the alternating pattern.
Step 2
  1. Use your plan drawing as a guide to transfer your design to the self-adhesive craft foam.
Step 3
  1. Use your plan drawing as a guide to transfer your design to the foam core board.
Step 4
  1. Carefully cut out the shapes.
  2. Remove the paper backing and stick the shapes that are shaded in your plan drawing to the foam core board in the appropriate spots.
  3. This is your printing plate.
Step 5
  1. Place the printing plate on an open magazine.
  2. Pour some tempera paint into a plastic tray.
  3. Gently roll the soft roller into the paint.
  4. Roll the paint over the printing plate.
  5. This is calledinking the plate.
Step 6
  1. Gently lift the inked plate off the magazine page which probably has paint on it.
  2. Turn the magazine page and place the inked plate face up on the clean magazine page.
  3. Place a piece of paper on top of the inked plate.
  4. Rub a wooden spoon over the paper to transfer the paint to the paper in a smooth way.
  5. This is called burnishing.
Step 7
  1. Carefully pull the paper off the printing plate to see your print.
  2. This is called pulling the print.
  3. Place the print in a safe place to dry.
Step 8
  1. Make an edition of 4 good prints.
  2. Number and sign them.
  3. An edition of 4 prints is numbered 1/4, 2/4, 3/4, 4/4.
    - The first number shows the order the print was made - first, second etc.
    - The second number shows the number of prints in the whole edition.
  4. Signing and numbering are done in pencil at the bottom of the print.
    - Usually the number is written in the lower left corner.
    - The title of the print goes in the middle.
    - The artist’s name in the right corner.
  5. Mount your prints on construction paper for display.
  • Subjects:

    • Language Arts,

    • Mathematics,

    • Visual Arts

  • Grades:

    • Grade 5,

    • Grade 6,

    • Grade 7,

    • Grade 8,

    • Grade 9

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