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Surface Design Techniques

Ways to decorate paper

Surface Design Techniques

Ways to decorate paper
Surface Design Techniques Friday Fun

Sponge Stamps and Art

Cut up sponges and stamp
Sponge stamps cut from kitchen sponges
What you will make:

Do you know that ordinary kitchen sponges can be used to make stamps? These stamps can be used to decorate wrapping paper, party invitations, or greeting cards. Children will want to make a variety of stamps to create artistic masterpieces for display in the refrigerator door gallery. Follow these simple instructions, and you will be able to make stamps of your own design in minutes.

Doing sponge art is great for family, classroom or group craft time. It requires just a little preparation by the adult or teen group leader.

Here's what you need:
  • Kitchen sponges (new)
  • White computer paper
  • Acrylic or poster paint
  • Scissors
  • Black fine-tip permanent marker
  • Plastic lid or plate to be used as paint palette
  • Construction paper or other paper to stamp
  • Paper towels
  • Optional: Scrap paper for testing stamps and paint brushes

This project is rated EASY to do.

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Before you start
  • Make a place to work.
  • Read all of the directions.
  • Gather everything you need to do the project.
  • Think about the project. Imagine how it will look and what you will do with it.

How to Make Sponge Stamps and Stamped Art

Read all of the steps before starting.
Step 1: Group Preparation

If you plan to do sponge stamps and art with a group of children, be sure to have paper, sponges and plastic lids for each child. Other tools and materials can be shared.

Cut sheets of construction paper to 9" by 6" pieces—half of a 9" by 12" sheet or a quarter of a 12" by 18" sheet. All colors of construction paper work well.

You can cut sponges in half so each child can have one.

Step 2: Create Pattern for Sponge Stamp
Printable pattern for sponge stamps

Print these stamp patterns, make a pattern by printing some clip-art, or draw a design on paper. A simple outline design works best. For smaller stamps, try a star, a heart, a diamond, or a cross. Animal shapes are good for larger stamps—teddy bear, hippo, or fish.

Cut on the outline around the stamp pattern of your choice.

Step 3: Trace Pattern

Wet an unused kitchen sponge and wring out as much water as possible. Place the pattern on the sponge and trace around it with the marker.

Step 4: Cut Sponge

Using a good pair of scissors, cut the sponge on the trace line. Kids may need help with this step.

Step 5: Pour Paint

Pour a small amount of paint onto a plastic lid or plastic plate that is larger than the stamp. The paints can be used straight from the tube or jar, but the result may be too dark. Thin the paint with white paint, if needed. Regular stamp pads may be used with the smaller stamps.

Step 6: Make Sponge Art

Wet the sponge stamps with water and wring them out as much as you can—the sponge just needs to be damp. Dab the stamp up and down in the paint to spread the paint out in the plastic lid. Spread the paint to the size of the stamp. With the stamp loaded with paint, but not dripping wet, press the stamp on the paper with even pressure. You can use the stamp multiple times without reloading it with paint.

Tip: Instead of dabbing the stamps into paint, brush paint directly onto your sponge stamp. You can paint different parts of the stamp with different colors! This is a good technique to use when making a small number of impressions with your stamp, or when using multiple colors on one stamp.

Tip: It's a good idea to test your stamp on scrap paper before using it. If the stamped image is missing parts of the stamp, it might not have been fully loaded with paint. Or, if the shape isn't quite right, you can wash the sponge stamp out with water and make cuts to correct the problems.

Step 7: Cleanup and Storage

To cleanup, wash your sponge stamps and plastic lids with water and a little liquid soap. Let them dry before storing. Be sure to dampen the stamps before using them again.

That's it! Your sponge painting is ready for display!
Example sponge paintings made with spinge stamps

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