BOOK IN A BOX – Monotype Printmaking

Students create an accordion-folded book in a small box with a cover they have decorated with a monotype print.

Required Time

120 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 1 to Grade 6


Language Arts
Social Studies
Visual Arts


colour contrast line monotype pattern repetition


Crayola Broad Line Markers Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") Crayola Glue Sticks Cardstock Paper - 21.6 cm x 27.9 cm (8.5" x 11") - 1 piece per student Cardstock Paper - 20.9 cm x 27.3 cm (8.25" x 10.75") - 1 piece per student Plastic Sheet (overhead transparency or file folder cut to size) - 21.6 cm x 27.9 cm (8.5" x 11") - 1 per student Rulers Pencils Water Containers Small Pieces of Sponge - about 3 cm x 3 cm (1.25" x 1.25")

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BOOK IN A BOX – Monotype Printmaking - Step One

Step One

  1. Follow steps 1 - 3 of the instructions to fold the paper for the TOP of your box. (Downloads - LargeBox.pdf)
  2. Open up all the folds and place the paper on your desk with the 'X' facing down.
  3. Place the plastic sheet on top of the folded paper.
  4. Make sure it lines up with the outer edges of the paper.
BOOK IN A BOX – Monotype Printmaking - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Make 4 thumbnail sketches of possible designs for your book cover.
  2. Choose the design you like best.
  3. Use markers to draw your design on the plastic sheet.
  4. If you make a mistake you can remove it with a damp tissue.
  5. The folds have created lots of rectangles.
    - the 4 outside corners will not show once the box is made
    - the top of the box will be the large rectangle in the middle of the paper
    - the sides of the box will be the outside, middle rectangles
BOOK IN A BOX – Monotype Printmaking - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Place the paper with the 'X' facing down.
  2. Dampen the paper with a small sponge dipped in water.
    - do not get it too wet
  3. Make sure the drawing has the marker side facing UP.
  4. Place the dampened paper on top of the marker drawing.
  5. Gently rub the entire surface of the paper.
  6. Remove the paper from the plastic sheet.
BOOK IN A BOX – Monotype Printmaking - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Follow steps 4 - 6 of the instructions to finish making the box.
  2. Repeat the process to make the bottom of the box using the smaller piece of cardstock paper.
    - do not decorate the bottom of the box
BOOK IN A BOX – Monotype Printmaking - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Cut 3 pieces of paper into 14 cm x 30.5 cm strips. 
  2. Glue the strips together short end to short end to make one long strip of paper. 
  3. Fold one end of the long strip of paper in 10 cm (4").
  4. Continue making uniform accordion folds until the entire strip is folded.
BOOK IN A BOX – Monotype Printmaking - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Use the folded paper to record a story or research.
  2. Add pictures and diagrams.
  3. Complete all the written work before gluing the book together.
  4. When you are satisfied with your work glue the paper into the box.
    - Glue one end of the accordion-folded paper into the the box top.
    - Glue the other end of the accordion-folded paper into the box bottom.


Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a monotype using marker and water printmaking techniques;
  • create a book in a box;
  • use line and colour to illustrate the cover of their book;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity; 
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the works.


Have students:

  • experiment with different book-making techniques to make books on different topics;
  • work with another class to share their books and stories;
  • create an instruction sheet on how to make a specific kind of book;
  • use the instruction sheets and demonstrations to teach their peers how to make their specific books.


  1. Prior to this lesson have children experiment with monotype printing using markers and water.
  2. Provide time for students to research a topic or write a story on a theme they have chosen.
  3. Gather enough overhead transparencies for each student to have one. (Use the write on transparencies. If you cannot get them cut plastic file folders to size.)
  4. Download and display the Colour, Contrast and Repetition posters available on this website.
    - teach or review the element of colour - primary colours mix to make new colours
    - teach or review the principle of contrast - use of strong differences to make work interesting
    - teach or review the principle of repetition - using similar elements over and over again
  5. Download and copy the box instructions - 1 for several student to share. (Downloads - LargeBox.pdf) 
  6. Create a sample.


  1. View and discuss a variety of books focusing on the way the covers are illustrated. Talk about how:
    - the illustrations help the viewer know what the book is about
    - it invites a reader to want to choose the book
  2. Make a list of characteristics of the book covers that appeal to them the most.
    - draw attention to the use of colour, line, pattern, and space
  3. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Create a monotype print using marker and water techniques.
  2. Create a book in a box.
  3. Use line and colour to illustrate the cover of your book.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  5. Support your ideas with evidence found in the works.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - created a box that is sturdy and well made
    - created an effective monotype
    - designed a cover that shows what my book is about
    - designed a cover that makes people want to read my book
    - constructed the book in a box carefully
    - made crisp accordion folds
    - shared my story with others
  3. Have students make 4 thumbnail sketches of possible designs for their book cover.
  4. Ask them to choose the design they like best.
  5. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  6. Observe students as they work. 
  7. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Once all the books are complete ask students to share them in partners or small groups. 
    Look closely at the cover illustrations.
    - Share thoughts about the work.
    - How are line and colour used to make the work interesting?
    - How are the illustrations inside the book similar or different than the cover illustration?

    - What was difficult about making the book? Why?
    - What was the most satisfying thing about making the book? Why?
  2. Ask some students to share their ideas with the whole class.
  3. Place the books on display so students may view them throughout the next few weeks.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their book in a box – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, holds box to the side, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - Box_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Download – Box_self-assessment.pdf) and for Primary (Download  – BoxPrimary_self-assessment.pdf)