Line printing supplies are simple, low cost and are probably already nearby. Cardboard, Paint and Paper are all you need to get started. As you discover the many applications of Children & Printmaking: Thinking and Creating with a Line, you will begin to save cardboard boxes and cut them into line printing stamps.

straight line-printing tools

Cardboard line stamps cut from corrugated cardboard boxes or heavy duty cardboard are used in all of the activities on this website. After experimenting with many different sizes of cardboard stamps, I have found the dimensions 3 x 2.5 inches and 1.5 by 2.5 inches work the best. Packaged line stamps and reusable line stamps are also available for purchase here.


One color of tempera paint is all that you need for most activities. Using a squeeze bottle makes paint easy to distribute. Limiting choices to one line and one color puts the emphasis on placement, direction and construction. The supply section is filled with suggestions for how to effectively use and manage studio materials in a classroom. It is helpful to review before you begin.

Supply List

  • Larger rectangles of corrugated cardboard, thick cardboard or mat board cut on a paper cutter. Begin with 2 per person of the larger line stamps or the reusable line stamps
  • Smaller line stamps – one or two per person in reserve
  • Squeeze bottles of tempera paint for easy distribution in primary colors – red, yellow, blue, black and white. Regular tempera paint (not washable, which has more filler in it) works best since it has more color pigment. If the paint seems too thick, add a little water and mix. Be sure to try it out before you distribute it to children!
  • Trays or coated paper plates for holding paint
  • Practice paper 9x12 inches (standard copypaper works well for this — or scraps of newspaper)
  • 12x18 inches or larger paper for printing
  • Large rolls of paper for group practice and murals
  • Newspapers or plastic table cloths to cover tables (padding the surface of the table with newspapers can also be helpful)

2 girls look through cardboard tools

Use the longer side of the cardboard, the side you can see through.

To Print a Line

A small rectangle of cardboard dipped into paint easily becomes a tool for making lines. Dip, Lift, Press, and Repeat.

pad-printing with straight line tools

Experiment! Print a strong line (it helps to stand up when printing). Try vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines. Extend, cross and connect lines. Form shapes and a multitude of other structures. You will soon realize that you are thinking and creating with a line!