Printmaking can be a messy disaster with Elementary students! Trying to reinforce the concept of white borders used to be nearly impossible for me. And forget any sort of even borders! I've discovered that having an orderly printing station is the key! Now my students prints turn out beautifully!
TIP 1 :: Put out one tube of ink at a time and have it contained. Have the students roll the ink on a small tray with sides (this old acrylic frame works great!).
TIP 2 ::Old catalogs or phone books work great for ink application! Once you've printed your plate, turn the page, and you have a clean page ready for the next person to come through!
TIP 3 :: Create a laminated template for the kids to use to help them register their prints. I create mine by tracing around the paper that you will be printing on, then laying the printing plate down in the center and trace around that. This enables students to get their prints in the center without being able to see the plate and since it's laminated, you can wipe it off easily and keep it clean for the next person.
TIP 4 :: If possible, keep a box of baby wipes close by to keep hands, templates, and brayers clean.
I'd love to hear any printmaking tips that other people have as well!