Wrapping Up Canada

Celebrate Canada 150 by making Print Block Wrapping Paper and Birthday Cards!

Written by Deanna Millard Governor General's History Awards Winner 2003 recipient of the Governor General's Award for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History

April 26, 2017

Image shows hand made wrapping paper and cards.

I teach grade seven and eight visual arts at Longfields-Davidson Heights Secondary School in Nepean, Ontario. As a twist to the print making unit, my grade eights designed, carved and printed an easy cut rubber block to celebrate Canada’s big day. To complement the wrapping paper, my grade sevens made original birthday cards. 

Their block design had to be celebratory in nature and reflective of some aspect or scene in Canada that they liked. Though they live in the nation’s capital the topics included, but went well beyond, the parliament buildings and fireworks. Some of the topics were totem poles, orca whales, northern lights, maple syrup, provincial flowers, toques and mitts, light houses, curling and of course hockey (Paul Henderson’s iconic goal). 

The grade eights needed to find a pattern for their paper and learned how to cleanly ink their tile. So it looked like real wrapping paper, they had to use all of the edges. The sevens learned about numbered prints.  They then used markers and coloured pencils to enhance their cards. At our school art show in May 2017, we plan to show off their wares with a big pile of wrapped gifts for Canada. Cards and paper will also be for sale at our silent auction. 

My students used traditional print making tools (gouges, rubber, easy cut rubber tiles, and water based printing ink) but the project could easily be done using Styrofoam, food trays, and ink/paint. Gouging of designs could be done with a blunt tool like a dull pencil, a stick, or a ballpoint pen. We used rolls of inexpensive brown butcher paper for the wrapping paper which gave it an artsy vibe. Check out our results!

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