Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Printmaking with Recycled Trays

I found that one of my third grade classes was attempting to recycle their 20 breakfast trays by making a mountain of them that overflowed into the hallway. 
I encouraged them to try stacking them up so they would take up much less room. 
I also started to take the rinsed and stacked trays to use for paint palettes. 
This inspired me to do a styrofoam tray recycling project with the third grade students.

We used the trays to make printing plates rather than the styrofoam sheets we often order. 
The students drew designs and pictures (no numbers or letters) on each section. 

The first printing task was to color each section with marker and print it on white paper. 
When they had printed all of their sections in colored marker I rolled black ink onto their plate and each student printed it on to the large brown paper to make a collaborative piece. 


  1. Beautiful! I love the ingenuity. My school also has those trays with the divided sections and I've also been using them for paint palettes and for distributing scraps of paper.fabric. I've been collecting Styrofoam egg cartons; using the bottom section for paint and the lids for printing plates but I haven't collected enough to even attempt a printmaking lesson. This would work out lovely. Thanks for sharing your awesome ideas!


  2. What a great idea! Last year I had TONS of these trays, where was this idea when I needed it! Lol. Great blog :) If you have time check out mine,

  3. What a COOL idea. I just finished cutting what seemed like a zillion styrofoam pieces (from the larger sheets we ordered) on Friday to get ready for a new project later this month. I am DEFINITELY visiting the cafeteria to take a closer look at our styrofoam tray. Why did I never think of this??! You are brilliant! THANKS.