Printmaking For Kids: Paul Klee Inspired


Today’s art project is inspired by Paul Klee.  Paul Klee was born in Switzerland in 1879.

As a child, following his parent’s wishes, he focused on becoming a musician.  He played the violin and was so talented that at age 11 he was invited to play as a member with his city’s local music association.

As a teenager, he decided to change his focus to visual art.  He wanted the freedom as an artist to explore his own ideas and styles.

expressionismAs an adult, Klee taught art at the famous Bauhaus School of Art like another artist we’ve learned about, Kandinsky.

The style of his artwork was influenced by the art moved called Expressionism.

Expressionism is when an artist expresses their emotions or ideas in their artwork rather than impressions of the real world.

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The artwork that inspired today’s project is called Castle and Sun from 1928.


Castle and Sun, Paul Klee, 1928 courtesy of WikiArt.

I just love the whimsical nature of the castle in this painting and thought it would be a great idea to create our own castle.

Another artist who was likely influenced by Paul Klee is the designer of one of the most famous theme park rides in the world, It’s a Small World, at Disneyland.

Her name is Mary Blair.  See for yourself if you think Klee may have influenced her. 😉

You can read more about her designs of It’s a Small World here.



Small World, Paul Klee, 1914. P.1969.137 © Norton Simon Museum

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This artwork by Paul Klee in 1914 is actually titled Small World!

This artwork is an etching that is owned by the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena but not currently on display.

What a coincidence!

Today we’re going to make our very own Castle and Sun using a fun and easy printmaking technique.

Supplies needed for this project are:

  • Block Printing Ink (Red, Yellow (or Gold), Blue or a Brown)
  • Styrofoam Food Container
  • Tape
  • Small Ruler
  • Mixing Knife for Paint
  • X-Acto Knife
  • Pencil (dull is preferred)
  • Brayer
  • Pastels (Soft or Oil – either will work)
  • Palette (or flat surface to mix paint and roll brayer on)
  • White Paper for Prints



For the first step, use the X-Acto knife to cut out the flat bottom and top of your Styrofoam container.  These flat pieces of Styrofoam will be the surfaces that we create our drawing on.

Next, tape them together on the back to create one drawing surface.


Now it’s time to draw!

Use your dull pencil and small ruler to create horizontal and vertical lines to build your castle.

Be creative and fill in your large shapes with smaller ones.  Use Paul Klee’s painting to inspire your shapes.  Don’t forget to add your sun.

(Note:  The final artwork will be the REVERSE of the image you draw!)

Once your drawing is done – it’s time to print!


brown-recipeUsing your mixing knife, mix a brown base color.

An easy recipe to remember to make brown is to first make a dark purple and then add yellow until you get a brown that you like.

Place your drawing plate on a couple of paper towels to protect your table while you coat it with ink.

Next, roll your brayer in the ink to coat it and gently roll the ink onto your Styrofoam drawing plate.  Make sure your drawing is evenly coated.

Make sure your drawing is evenly coated.


Be careful not to apply the paint too thick.  You do not want the ink to fill in the grooves, just coat the flat surfaces.

Next place your white sheet of paper on top of your freshly coated drawing plate and gently smooth the paper onto the surface.

Carefully peel the paper away from the plate and you will have a print!



Once your print has completely dried, it’s time to color!!

Using your pastels, fill in each shape with different colors.

You can use the inspiration painting to help you choose your colors.

Paul Klee used the same colors for several shapes in his painting and you can do the same.



I think our castle looks a bit like It’s a Small World at night, what do you think?

Image courtesy of Loren Javier on flickr.

Image courtesy of Loren Javier on flickr.


Our Castle and Sun side-by-side with Paul Klee’s Castle and Sun.

This fun printmaking technique is very versatile and can be used in many ways.

Have fun and be creative!


The Drawing Book for Kids: 365 Daily Things to Draw, Step by Step

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About the author

Crystal has worked in the arts and taught drawing and painting for over 25 years in Los Angeles. She loves creating art, gardening, planning fun art projects, and enjoying creative adventures with her family. Find out more at

View all articles by Crystal Foth

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