Cityscape Prints

Printmaking with 4th graders involved endless steps and massive clean up – but it was so worth it! Using styrofoam, students print a cityscape on a painted piece of paper. Beware – they were quick to point out that it’s not a TRUE reflection. I didn’t have a good comeback for that one so I just stopped calling them reflective cityscapes.

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4th Grade Printed Cityscape

I got the idea for the lesson here and had to try it out. Class 1: I hooked them in with this video of the worlds weirdest buildings. After sketching a rough draft, they drew their buildings on a piece of square foam (I helped them cut off the space above their buildings).


Class 2: Now that we had our awesome city “stamp”, it was time to create the background. Using watercolors, they painted half of their paper with cool colors and the other half with warm colors.


Class 3: Printing Time! This took the most prep. I explained what all the tools and materials were and my exact expectations (how many people at a station, what do I do with my paper when I’m done, who cleans up what, etc…). I actually reinforced this by writing the steps on big index cards and passing them out to students randomly as they came in the door. When my demo was done, I asked who had what number card and they came up to the front of the class to read the steps again in order.


Early finishers – the process of printing is super short. Roll ink on your stamp and press. Then you have a bunch of kids milling around with nothing to do. I set up a big sheet of paper on the board. When kids were done with their individual prints, they could print on the “class” cityscape.



Here are some finished pieces:

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Three Cityscapes made it to the Winter Park Sidewalk Arts Festival!