Making Pop Art Prints: A Relief Printmaking Lesson Plan for Middle School

Making Pop Art Prints: A Relief Printmaking Lesson Plan for Middle School
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Icons of the Times

Students will learn about Pop art through relief printmaking and how to take an everyday object and make it a cultural icon of the times.

Students will realize art isn’t always necessarily “beautiful” types of objects.


Students will create a print or series of prints based on the Pop art concept.

Art Resources:

Examples of Warhol (Campbell Soup Cans, Cows, etc.) & Oldenburg (Typewriter Eraser, Clothespin, etc.) works of art

Art Materials:

  • variety of paper (colors)
  • sketch books
  • pencils
  • foam cutting blocks
  • cutting tools
  • brayers
  • ink
  • ink containers
  • chalk pastels


cultural icon-popular items from culture

relief print-printmaking method in which surface area is removed to make a relief


Class is read a quote by Warhol, “If you’re not making money with your art, you have to say it’s art. If you are, you have to say it’s something else.”

Discuss the meaning and opinions of this quote with students. Students then learn about Warhol & Oldenburg and see examples of their art.

Pop Art

Discussions revolve around Pop art style, and subject matter. Students might want to think about a cultural icon to make prints out of. Perhaps they would like to choose a common everyday object and think about making the ordinary, extra-ordinary. Students are given Pop Art Handout for their sketchbooks/folder.

Students should think about what they would like to make art prints of, or depersonalize. Before starting, they must draw a detailed sketch of what they are going to do and have their sketch approved by the teacher. Students then transfer their sketch to a foam block.

Students carve out their relief prints with cutting tools. Be certain to supervise them so that they work safely. Students make several prints of their design. They also use chalk to do under-painting. Students decide how they would like to present their work: either as a series of separate prints, or as one piece with repetition.