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Block Printing with Underglazes on Wet Clay


Printing is a very popular art form that is perfect for creating repeating patterns, images and designs. Printmaking techniques can easily be transferred into working with clay with the help of AMACO® Balsa-Foam® and AMACO® Underglazes, along with the many tools you already have in your classroom. This is section one of our lesson plan on how to use printing methods for transferring images onto clay.

Sketch Design

Lightly sketch a design or image onto the Balsa-Foam® block using a soft pencil.

Carve Design

Carve the design into the Balsa-Foam® along the pencil lines by using wooden or carving tools. Varying the lines depths and widths will help make a more unique and interesting block. Be sure not to carve completely through the Balsa-Foam® block.

Completed Carving

Apply Underglaze to Foam Black

Using a sponge stippling tool, apply AMACO® Velvets or LUG Underglazes to the decorated side of your Balsa-Foam® block.

Multiple Colors

Multiple colors can be applied during the same printing using a detail brush.

Stamp into Wet Clay

While the underglazes are still wet, stamp the Balsa-Foam® into your clay.


Continue to shape the clay as desired.


Carefully pull them apart. Additional colors or underglaze highlights may be painted onto the design. Allow to completely dry before firing.