1. Give them a piece of mat board, for their collagraph plate, to work on that is a little smaller than the paper they will print with...they will have a nice white border on the edges of their prints and space to sign, title and number them.
2. Encourage them to use lots of glue to hold their pieces in place...gluing right out to the edges.
3. Suggest they cut shapes and pieces from materials that are fairly similar in thickness...like string, yarn, cereal board cardboard (chip board), fabric, etc. If they cut one or more of their shapes from something much thicker it may cause some of the less thick shapes not to print.
4. Spray shellac over the entire collagraph plate, after the glue is entirely dry...drying overnight is best. Be sure the shellac is completely dry, too, before inking the plate. Don't skimp on the shellac.
5. Tape the inking tray to the table, so it doesn't scoot around, before the kids start rolling out the ink. Spritz the inking tray with a little water before adding water soluble ink with a flexible palette knife. Roll the ink and water to mix.
6. Add a spritz of water and a small dab of ink, roll to mix, before inking the plate again or before inking the next plate.
7. Center the paper over the plate, lay it on the bed of the press, adjust the pressure, roll it through. You may need to hold the paper to the plate as it comes through the press...sometimes it will slide around otherwise.
8. Have a bucket of warm, soapy water and some toweling handy so they can keep their hands clean. Prints, sans fingerprints, are much more attractive!
PS We have the most beautiful day blessing us...the trees and bushes are totally white with hoar frost. It is gorgeous!