Printing Party!

This month’s Inspired Projects article is all about how to get the little printers in your life excited about what you do! This family day weekend (February 14th – 16th, 2015 in Ontario) is the perfect time to share the magic of printing with your kids. Below are three crafty activities and four opportunities to get out and about with your little printers in the City of Toronto. Your kids want to learn what you do and there’s no better way to show them but through fun activities!

Get Crafty

Why not introduce kids to printing technology through the magic of arts and crafts? These activities are suitable for kids of all ages, including making paper, potato letterpress plates, and invisible ink!

Making your own paper is a fun and effective way to teach kids where paper comes from and provides an opportunity to discuss environmental sustainability. To make paper with your kids, all you need are a few simple household items and a workspace you don’t mind getting messy! There are a variety of ways to approach papermaking at home, but one of the simplest ways can be found here (no blender required):

Another exciting project to try is making potato letterpress “plates”. Potatoes cut in half act as the perfect medium from which to carve letters or images (or use a cookie cutter for more refined results). Once you’ve engraved your image area, it can then be stamped into water-based paint and onto paper, effectively demonstrating the primary printing technology that was in place for hundreds of years. Make beautiful art for family and friends, or stamp the prints onto a roll of craft paper to make DIY giftwrap. Check out how Martha does it here:

Finally, every kid on the planet will covet the opportunity to make invisible ink! A simple solution of lemon juice mixed with water will create an “ink” that allows kids to write a secret message on a sheet of paper. Once dry, they can hold it up to the light to reveal what’s written. Alternatively, gently iron the paper on a low setting and the secret message will appear as a light brown colour. Find the step-by-step method here:

Get Out & About

There is nothing like seeing something up-close and experiencing it first hand to inspire kids to learn about a subject. It’s time to take your Printing Party on the road and visit four must-see spots around the City of Toronto that bring printing’s past, present, and future to life.

Stop #1: Mackenzie House Museum – Step back in time and allow your kids to experience a real newspaper print shop from the 1860’s. The Mackenzie House Museum was the home of Toronto’s first mayor and controversial newspaper publisher, William Lyon Mackenzie. Historical workshops are budget-friendly and family-friendly, complete with knowledgeable staff dressed in historical print-shop wear. This building is also rumored to be one of the most haunted in Canada… if you believe in that sort of stuff. More information can be found at:

Address: 82 Bond Street, Toronto, ON

Hours of Operation: Saturdays & Sundays from noon – 5:00 p.m.

Stop #2: Toronto Star Building – Fast forward a few decades and head to the Toronto Star building to view a real linotype machine in the lobby of the building. This machine was used by the Toronto Star newspaper to set lines of hot metal type, which were then assembled into pages and printed using traditional technology.

Address: One Yonge Street, Toronto, ON

Hours of Operation: Building is open 24 hours

Stop #3: KOZO Letterpress Workshops – Letterpress printing and book arts classes are the perfect opportunity to make beautiful, handcrafted work come to life in an afternoon. There are a variety of upcoming small group workshops available.  More information can be found at:

Address: 257 Broadview Ave, Toronto, ON

Hours of Operation: Fridays & Saturdays between 2:00 – 6:00 p.m. and when workshops are scheduled

Stop #4: MakerKids Maker Space – 3D printing holds infinite possibilities for kids to create something completely unique. MakerKids is a unique facility designed specifically for kids and it’s one of the only spaces of its kind in the world. Kids will receive hands-on experience working with 3D printing instructors in specialized workshops. More information can be found at

Address: 2241 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON

Hours of Operation: When workshops are scheduled

And finally, for the adults who have had a long (but fun!) weekend spending time with their kids, it’s time to concoct up some delicious treats of your own… Heidelburgers & Müller Martini’s anyone?


Diana Varma is an Instructor at the School of Graphic Communications Management at Ryerson University and the Owner of ON-SITE First Aid & CPR Training Group, a health & safety company that provides training to the Graphic Arts Industry.