Art Lesson Plan: Silkscreen Self Portraits

Silkscreen Self Portraits

Submitted by: Connie Ferguson, 2012 Arizona Art Teacher of the Year and Teacher at Riverview Elementary in El Mirage, Arizona. (Formerly art teacher at Monroe Middle School, Monroe, WI)
UNIT: Silkscreen Printing - Pop Art
PROJECT: Self Portrait Silk Screen
FOCUS: Positive/Negative Space and Color
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OBJECTIVES: the learner will:
1. Create a black and white image using technology as an emphasis.
2. Understand and apply their knowledge of positive and negative space.
3. Produce an Andy Warhol style painting/silk screen.

STATE STANDARDS: the learner will:
B4 know ways in which art is influenced by artists, designers, and cultures.
J7 learn to use art criticism and aesthetic knowledge in art and design.


Video: Pop and NeoPop.1
DVD: Who is the Artist? [DVD].
Poster: Andy Warhol – Self Portrait - Celebrity Portraits
Websites: Silkscreen print defined - with examples
Warhol portrait examples from La Canada High School
Brief History
Andy Warhol Online "Make your own silkscreen"- Fun online silkscreen demo. The site allows you to follow Warhol's creative process while making your own art choices.
The Warhol: Silkscreen Printing - This is an interactive online tutorial. Also see their online resources for teachers.


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Video – Discuss the movie (See instructional resources above)
Critique a print of Andy Warhol’s work.
Past student work
Demonstration of process
Display of tools with flash cards to match the tools




Digital Camera

Positive Shape

Drawing Pencils.

Negative Shape

18x24 (46 x 61 cm) Tag board.


Light Box

Silk Screen

X-acto Knife.




Tempera Paint.



Pull a Print



Reserve Computer Lab
Display of tools

Water basins

Screen Printing Units.

Screen Printing Ink. – Black


Palette Knives.


Masking Tape.

White Glue.

Assorted Mat board.



  1. Using the digital camera, students have their picture taken.

  2. In the Computer Lab (absent students will use the art room upon return of absence), students log on, insert disk, and follow these procedures: Start, Accessories, Microsoft Photo Editor, File, Open, A Drive, choose the photo.

Pull down menu-Effects, choose Stamp. This may be manipulated to the degree of detail you wish to work with. Always undo before resetting the adjustments. (Other software programs may use Posterize)

  1. Fit to page- 8 ½ x 11" (21.5 x 28 cm) - print.

  2. Place the masking tape around the outside of the tagboard to create a border, section the tagboard by placing tape vertically and horizontally through the center of the tagboard. This will result into 4 equal vertical rectangles.

  3. On tagboard, trace the hair, neck and shirt. Do not trace the facial features - only the outline of the face. Trace this in each section of tagboard. Store printout in your portfolio.

  4. Get paint palette. Put masking tape on the lid and write your name on the masking tape with a black marker. This is your paint palette during this unit. You may wash out the paint palette at any point.

  5. Choose color scheme for the silk screens. Get only the colors for the first background. If the backgrounds are to be the same color, paint all 4 backgrounds at the same time. Keep paint edges sharp.

  6. Choose color for the hair. Follow the same paint guidelines as the background.

  7. Choose color for the face. Follow the same paint guidelines as the background.

  8. Choose color for the shirt. Follow the same paint guidelines as the background.

  9. At any point of this process, you may need to wait for a section to dry before proceeding to the next section. Begin step 12 instead of watching paint dry.

  10. Gather cardboard, X-acto knife and photo print out. Make sure you use the cardboard to protect the table. Cut the black areas of the print out. This is the Positive Space when you print. All parts need to be attached to retain the stencil. You are to keep the full sheet, throw away the small cutout parts (save Negative Space). Store this in your portfolio.

  11. All backgrounds are painted (and dry), stencil is cut—you are ready to screen print. Printing must be done during one class period. Ink will dry in the screen and will not print, you can’t wash it because the stencil is paper and the washing will ruin it. That is why it must be done in one class period.

  12. Gather supplies or go to another work area where other students are using the supplies. You will need: a screen, ink, squeegee, newspapers, palette knife and your stencil and backgrounds. Find a partner to help you hold the screen.

  13. Cover the table with newspapers, layout the backgrounds, place the stencil onto the first background, lining it up with the hair, face and shirt that has been painted. Place the screen on top of the stencil. Watch for gaps around the paper edge and the screen frame. If there is a gap, you will have a printed back area. You can use wax paper and masking tape to block out any gaps around your paper stencil. The partner needs to now hold the screen.

  14. Place a small amount of ink along the top inside of the screen, using two hands; angle the squeegee at a 45 degree angle and pull toward you. Scrape the extra ink off onto the bottom of the screen. Your stencil will stick to the screen. No adjustments can be made.

  15. Move the screen to the next painted background, this will be harder to line up, do so slowly.

  16. Scrape the ink up from the bottom and more to the top, add ink if necessary. Repeat the pull.

  17. Repeat the steps, 15-18 until all backgrounds are silk screened with the image.

  18. Put tagboard onto the Drying Rack..

  19. Wash the screen, you must throw away the paper stencil. Wash the squeegee and palette knife. Throw away the newspapers. Check the table to make sure all supplies are clean – dry – and put away. Wipe down the table.

  20. When the ink is dry, pull tape off carefully.

  21. Place nametag in lower right hand corner.


Cut the prints apart, Glue Foamboard. onto the back of each print. Put glue onto the Foam Core and glue onto a piece of mat board. This creates a 3-D effect.



Copy and Paste the Stamped image from Photo Editor to paint.
Using the small paint brush and black paint, connect any open areas between the head-face-shirt and the background.
Using Flood Fill, Fill each of the components with a different color.
Copy and paste into word, adjust size using the wrap function.
Make a collage of different color combinations.
This will give the artist a better, more artistically conscience choice of colors to be used when painting the background.


Non-technology addition is to have a generic head-face-shirt drawn and multiples reproduced on a single page, possibly 2 x 3 (5 x 7.6 cm) inches. Students can use markers or Colored Pencils.. to experiment with color combinations. Have one long hair and one short hair set (non-gender).


How to Screen Print at Home - By Karen



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