Art and Design

Printing and reflection

When you print something, the stamp or ‘block’ you print with is back-to-front compared with the final image. This is important for letters because most of them only work one way round. Only nine of the capital letters are symmetrical in most typefaces. Can you work out which they are? Look at some writing in a mirror to see which letters change when they are reflected.



You will need a large sheet of paper and an office-type ink pad. Each student will need a scalpel or lino-cutting gouge, a pencil and a rectangular eraser (the plastic or vinyl ones work best)

Safety: Be very careful with the scalpels or gouges, which are very sharp. Always cut away from your hands.

The task is for the class to design and print its own alphabet. Each student should make a different letter.

  1. Decide with the group which letter of the alphabet you will design and print.
  2. Put your eraser flat on the table oriented upwards.
  3. Design your letter in pencil on the eraser. Remember the design must be back-to-front so check it in a mirror.
  4. Work very carefully, making v-shape cuts to reduce the surface of the eraser by about 3mm around your letter. Your letter should be left standing up.
  5. Touch your letter a few times lightly on the ink pad.
  6. Press the inked side hard onto a scrap of paper to test it. If you have got anything wrong you can make changes.
  7. Ink your letter again and print it in the correct place in the alphabet.

Did some of you have letters back to front?

Are the styles of letters different?

Did the letters stay in scale with one another?