KS3 Art: Poly Printing Scheme of Work – Adinkra Symbols

In these poly-printing technique lessons, my KS3 art pupils have been looking at African Adinkra Symbols and using them as inspiration to create their own printed artwork. They looked at the symbols, drew them out, and finally created their own poly-print artworks.


For their initial research into printing techniques, students looked Adinkra Symbols. When they were creating their drawings and designing their own symbols, the students focused on filling the space, using a range of thick and thin lines and creating symmetry.

This full KS3 poly printing project is available here.

Poly-printing scheme of work art

Here are some examples of the pupils’ work. They researched the symbols for homework and added facts about them on their sketchbook pages. In their drawings they had to focus on the use of line (adding a range of thick and thin, solid and outlined etc.)

Poly printing technique art lessons

After their initial design sketches, the art students developed their ideas and drew out their design bigger (adding an element of challenge to the work), whilst thinking of a colour scheme (I have a project teaching colour theory with Kandinsky here!) and aiming to have equal amounts of each colour.


Students did some artist research next, looking at Jane Davies for inspiration. The art students used a range of materials such as sponges, straws, forks, spatulas etc. Pupils worked in their chosen colour scheme.

Jane Davies artist research lesson, printing techniques

How to create poly-prints

Next I showed the pupils how to copy out their design onto polyboard squares and get them ready to print.

  • First they carefully drew their design onto the polyboard using a broad-tip felt tip pen.
  • Next they pushed down on the areas that they did not want to show up. I used a biro but you could easily use a sharp pencil.
  • I talked to students about how the polyboard is fragile and if it snapped, would need to be taped back together on the back.
  • I explained how this part of the poly-printing process is super important as it makes their designs clear and accurate
Poly printing technique - scheme of work

Pupils drew their symbol designs out, then did a sample print in their books. Their aim was to cover the board evenly with ink, press down firmly when printing and make sure they get the corners and edges of the board.

This full KS3 poly printing project is available here.

Poly print examples art resources
Poly printing lessons examples
Poly print lesson resources

Pupils reflected on their test print and wrote out a target for improvement. Some needed to push down more areas on their polyboard, others needed to add more (or use less) ink.


After their backgrounds were decorated using a range of printing techniques, pupils started to print! They could choose a formal or informal design for their placement. They completed their first layer of prints then we looked at techniques for adding a second layer of colour.

Poly printing technique pattern design lessons
How to poly print art lessons

Pupils then chose how they would like to add another layer of print, using either the off-setting, printing in spaces or partly inking up the block techniques. I repeated this whole process twice so pupils had two final pieces. They made their second one to show how they had improved from their first attempt.

This full KS3 poly printing project is available here.


Here are some of the outcomes, what do you think? Let me know in the comments!

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