Painted Letter Prints


Practice art and letter-making and exercise the creative process by reusing styrofoam items instead of tossing them in the trash with this sensory craft.


  • styrofoam
  • a popsicle stick
  • tempera paint
  • card stock or construction paper
  • a paintbrush
  • white printer paper
  • a dark marker
  • scissors


    1. p-longCut the styrofoam into squares.
    2. Use a craft stick to ‘draw’ a letter into the foam. Press hard enough to make an imprint, but not so hard that you rip the surface. Tip: If your child is making a letter that isn’t symmetrical, she’ll need to draw it on backwards. For example, my son’s name begins with “I”. He can just draw an “I” onto the foam. It doesn’t look any different backwards. But, if your little Esther, Luke, Robbie or Sebastian is making their first name letter, you need to make a backwards printing plate. One way to do this (if your child isn’t into or able to draw it backwards) is to draw the letter with a marker onto a piece of thin white paper. Flip it over (so that it is now a mirror image of the original) and put the paper onto the styrofoam. Press the craft stick through the paper on the lines. When she takes off the paper she may need to go over her lines if they aren’t deep enough.
    3. Paint over the surface with tempera. You don’t want her to fill in the lines with paint – it won’t print well. If the paint seeps into the lines, have her run the craft stick through the painty lines to remove it.
    4. Press a piece of card stock or construction paper on top. Have her pat the paper to transfer the paint.

    5. p6Pull apart the printing plate and paper to reveal the image!

    When your child is done making her paint-print letters you can hang them on the fridge to display or use them as a deck of alphabet cards. Try this activity over and over again, until your child has made a complete alphabet set. She can use them to spell words or she can string them together (just punch holes on the sides and tie them together with yarn or thin ribbon) to make a name banner.