Please Don't Eat the Artwork


Jasper Johns Collagraph Prints


3rd graders are finishing up their Collagraph Printing project. This project was extremely awesome and spanned over several weeks. The lesson included planning, production, and even a critique of sorts. We began by talking about Jasper Johns, an artist from Georgia who made prints of letters and numbers. We discussed symbolism and even identified symbols like peace signs, street signs, bathroom signs, etc. Then, students came up with their own symbols with personal meaning.

Next, it was time to create our “plates.” The whole point of Collagraph Printing is that it includes different textures and a variety of materials. Students loved this how-to video. With materials like styrofoam, pipe cleaners, and cardboard, 3rd graders began to build their plates.

Then the real fun/mess began! Students decided on a duo of complementary colors and could make 2 prints. They rolled the ink and carefully placed their plate onto construction paper to create beautiful images.

(Check out that neat-o digital watch!) Printing was a process I was super nervous about but it ended up being very smooth and by the second day of printing, the kids were basically running the show. Only 6 students could print at a time so while those 6 were at the counter with the ink, the rest of the students worked on a color wheel worksheet to reinforce color theory. (Borrowed from this AMAZING website ) I had only 6 printing at a time in the hopes that at the end of the class period it would not look like a rainbow threw up all over my classroom.

Check out the prints!

The last part of this project was an Art Criticism Scavenger Hunt. We talked about how in school, you mostly focus on your own work and hardly ever get to see what other people are doing. In order to foster some good dialogue and conversations, we did this interactive critique. Students arranged their artwork on their tables and walked around the room to find people who had the clue. They collected “autographs” to fill in the graphic organizer. I included clues that are cross-curricular and prompt the students to read and even do math! This activity allowed students to explore their classmate’s artwork. I got the idea for this activity from a seminar I attended which would have otherwise been dreadfully dull. I thought hey, if adults think this is even slightly fun then kids will too. I thought it would be a great way to engage the students and have them reflect on a project and the students loved this activity.

I am extremely glad to be finished with this because now we can move on to our paper chameleons — here is a preview:

4th and 5th graders are also completing their prints and they are coming out quite beautifully. 🙂

Author: artwithmsk

Hello! My name is Ms. Katzin and I am an art teacher at an elementary school near Atlanta, Georgia. Teaching art is my passion and I love what I do!

10 thoughts on “Jasper Johns Collagraph Prints

  1. Ms. Katzin, What beautiful colors! Did you find that the kids had a favorite color?

    • Great question, Segmation! I noticed that red/green was the most popular by far. Blue and orange was the second favorite and only a few students from each class chose yellow and purple. I asked my 4th graders what they would do differently if they did their printing project again (they printed with complementary colors as well) and most of them said they would pick different colors.

  2. Pingback: Jasper Johns Inspired Collagraph Prints | Art With Ms. K

  3. I love your art critique scavenger hunt! It is such a great way to get engagement and have the kids up moving around looking at their classmates pieces. I can’t wait to try this in my room.

    • Thanks, Denise! The kids really responded well to it. Send me an email ( and I would be happy to send you the digital copy. It is a word doc so you can change it up as you need! (There are a few typos in it hahaha)

  4. Love the integration of vocabulary, multiplication, and peer work exploration. Perfect Common Core lesson. Great teaching!

  5. Hi, Ms.K-
    I am actually in the middle of a collagraph lesson now with 5th grade. I also like your art critique scavenger hunt! Very clever!

  6. Pingback: 3rd Grade Matisse Collagraph Prints | Please Don't Eat the Artwork

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