LEVEL I-ART LESSON 13: The Wooden Block Print From India
This lesson is suitable for students in grades 2 through adult
Art Lesson Description:
If you’ve ever looked at fine fabrics from India (you can find pictures of Indian fabrics here), you’ve probably wondered, as we have, “How do they make these gorgeous patterns?”
The key to the gorgeous patterns on Indian fabrics can be found in small carved wooden blocks that are used to hand-print the fabrics. You can find a video showing Indian craftsmen printing one of these patterns here.
After showing students how the fabric is printed in India, the lesson introduces students to printmaking in a two-step process. First students create a background for the print with crayon rubbings and watercolor. Then they carve potato slices to make their own printing blocks. Along the way they learn about value, random and regular patterns, and analogous and complementary colors.
This lesson includes both POWERPOINT and VIDEO versions of the lesson.
List of Supplies for Each Student:
- A sheet of ordinary printer paper
- A collection of leaves
- A sheet of 11” x 14” drawing paper
- A drawing board (12” x 16” masonite works well)
- A roll of masking tape
- A box of crayons
- A set of watercolor paints
- A flat surface to spread paint on (a plate, a sheet of waxed paper, or a flat lid)
- A paint brush
- A potato
- A dull tool to carve the potato (a dull knife, the handle of a spoon, or a small wooden stick, for example)
- A sharp pencil
- A paper towel or kleenex
Suggestions for Cross-Curricular Connections:
Identifying common trees
- What Tree Is That? Identifying Trees With Leaves.
- That Tree Is That? Choose a region of the continental US, and then follow the questions that are provided.
- 15 Trees Every Outdoor Lover Should Learn to Identify.
- Tree Identification Book : A New Method for the Practical Identification and Recognition of Trees. A very good tree identification book for people who want an in-depth way to identify trees.
The geography of India
- Read Travel India: Enjoying India to the Fullest: Things to do in India.
- Read India for Kids: Amazing Facts About India.
- Learn about the Ganges River
More about Indian block printing
- PRINTING VIDEO Watch Indian craftsmen 1) prepare a random striped background on fabric and 2) print a regular pattern on top of the background.
- How to print on fabric: Learn how you can print your potato block on fabric.
- Video with pictures of wooden block designs, people printing with the blocks, and shots of patterns on Indian buildings. .
- Block printing on fabric in India.
Literature: Read Indian folk stories from the Panchatantra tales.
Learn about the religions of India
Approximate Time Needed to Complete the Art Class:
- Creating the background: 20 minutes
- Carving the potato block: 20 minutes
- Printing the block print: 10 minutes
- Total time: about 1 hour