Unique art prints made from bubble wrap

Unique art prints made from bubble wrap

Who doesn’t love bubble wrap? Here is a simple printmaking activity using just bubble wrap markers, and paper. Children of all ages can color designs onto any type of bubble packaging and make prints. The prints can then be used to make cards, wrapping paper or displayed as art! The possibilities for creativity are endless. If you can keep yourself from popping the bubbles, you can rinse them off and use them again and again!Markers and a plastic bag sitting next to a piece of paper decorated with dots and hearts transferred from the plastic bag.

This project was inspired by Bubble Wrap by Courtney Starrett, on view at Mint Museum Uptown.

A mannequin torso draped in an opaque silicone shaw with opaque balls of varying sizes adhered to it
Courtney Starrett (American, 1977–). Bubble Wrap, 2008, silicone. Gift of the Artist. 2015.47

SUPPLIES: 

  • Copy paper or construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Bubble wrap in assorted textures/sizes, cut into pieces or shapes  
  • Assorted colored markersSupplies listed for this project grouped together on a table: bubble wrap, markers, scissors, paper, plastic bag


Instructions:

Begin by choosing a piece of bubble wrap. You can compare the different types and sizes and talk about the properties of air in the bubbles and how they provide cushioning. Children can draw and color on the bubble wrap to create a color pattern or something more abstract. Notice how the ink from the marker does not get absorbed into the plastic. Don’t wait too long to make your print or the ink will dry. 

A highlighter sitting next to a sheet of bubblewrap that has the tops of the 'bubbles' colored on with markers
A heart cut from a sheet of bubblewrap colored with concentric hearts going toward the center

Flip your bubble wrap over and press it firmly onto the paper to create your print! There might be enough ink to make another print and each one will be totally different. Experiment with the different bubble wrap types if you have them. Older children can draw designs onto big bubble packaging. 

A sheet of bubblewrap sitting next to a piece of paper decorated with colored dots
A hand presses bubble wrap to a piece of paper, showing how the marker transfer to the paper

Any image will be printed in reverse so lettering would need to be drawn backwards. 

An air-filled clear plastic bag with the name "patty" written backwards on the outside
The name "Patti" written upon a piece of paper next to a pink sharpie

You can extend this activity by looking for shapes and patterns in your prints and drawing in details to turn them into faces, animals, and more. Now you can pop a few bubbles for fun! Seamus the cat was very helpful until… POP! 

Multicolor paint dots on a piece of paper with pen drawings on top of the paint. With the pen marks, the dots have been turned into faces and a bumblebee
A gray cat standing on a sheet of bubble wrap looking at the camera