Glue Block Prints

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In traditional block printing, you carve away at a block of wood to leave a raised image. You then spread ink or paint over the image and press onto paper to make your print. Glue block prints are a child-friendly way of replicating this idea as there is no carving involved.

Plus, drawing with glue is super-fun. Especially if you spread some glue over your palm afterward, and let it dry while you watch TV and then peel it away and marvel at your dead skin cells stuck to the glue. I digress.




  • cardboard
  • glue with nozzle top
  • 2 brayers (rollers)
  • paper
  • ink or acrylic paint
  • printing tray (or aluminum foil covered cutting board)


1. Draw with the glue onto the cardboard, or make a pencil drawing first and go over it with the glue. You may want to practice first on some scrap paper to get a feel for how quickly the glue comes out.

2. After the glue is dry, squeeze out some ink onto a printing tray and coat a roller with ink (or paint- we used acrylic thinned with water so it wasn’t too gloppy). Of course, we don’t have a printing tray lying around, even though I may have to change that very soon. So we used aluminum foil to roll the paint onto. Plus, I squeezed 2 colors down and partially mixed them together. This gives the effect of different colors on your print.

acrylic paints and roller

This was too thick- thinned it down with water!


3. Roll your roller into the ink and then spread it over your glue drawing.

4. Place your paper over the inked-up glue drawing and roll over that with the clean roller.

glue block print


5. If you like, you can add another layer of a different color ink over your first and try some more printing. After the prints are dry, you can go back in with marker, colored pencils, water color, etc. to add some multi-media interest to your print.

print with colored pencil


Tips: Glue flattens out somewhat when it dries, so you may want to go over the initial glue lines with another layer of glue for bolder lines. Don’t get too detailed with your glue drawing, as the glue comes out quickly and spreads! Thoroughly rinse the paint roller, and wipe down your glue print before switching to a new color, otherwise your colors will end up muddy looking.



  1. 07/05/2013 / 8:04 am

    Thanks, this is such an easy yet effective printmaking technique for young kids..
    🙂 Elizabeth

    • 07/08/2013 / 9:08 am

      Hi! Yes, it’s super-easy, and is probably a great intro to printmaking for kids.

  2. 07/06/2013 / 3:49 pm

    My kids love glue so this will be a hit in our house!

  3. 07/06/2013 / 6:31 pm

    Worth the reminder! Super cool print Idea!

  4. 07/14/2013 / 8:18 pm

    I saw an idea in a book that we are going to try this summer that is very similar. To use cut rubber bands to create these images (instead of glue) (my mailman uses them for our mail so I have been collecting them)
    I just wonder how well our campers will be able to do them. I guess we’ll just have to see

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