Art Smart: Sandpaper prints

By Annie Ballin

This fun project gives plenty of opportunity to create “oodles” of one-of-a-kind pictures! Because it is great for all ages, it is one of my favorites.

  • Sandpaper, medium grit
  • Scissors
  • Crayons
  • Iron
  • Cardboard (for ironing on)
  • Paper (cardstock works well)

STEP 1: Prepare your materials. Heat iron on high and cut the sheets of sandpaper into fourths.

STEP 2: Draw your design on the sandpaper, pressing firmly. (Remember your drawing will print in reverse!)

STEP 3: Place the paper on the cardboard or towel and lay your colored sandpaper upside down on your paper. Place another piece of paper on top.

STEP 4: Iron the backside of the sandpaper. Press firmly and keep the iron moving for approximately 30 seconds. You want to melt the crayon, but not burn the sandpaper!

STEP 5: Let cool for a few more seconds before picking up the sandpaper. Voilá! Your print is complete!

Once you get the hang of the process, begin experimenting with different sandpaper grits and types paper; try cutting the sandpaper into different shapes; or use fabric crayons and print on t-shirts or other clothing.

Parent Tips

This project is suitable for all ages, although parental supervision is recommended for work with (or near) the hot iron. Here’s what your child will learn:

  • Fine motor skills: Press hard with the crayons for vibrant color transfer
  • Coping skills: Not every print turns out. Each print prints only once; this is called a monoprint. This offers a good opportunity for discussion — did you press hard enough with the crayon? Does one type of paper work better than another?
  • Self-confidence: Printmaking offers lots of opportunity for “Wow, I did it!” moments.