Students explore monotypes and develop an understanding of a simple printmaking process. 

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Kindergarten to Grade 8


Art Techniques
Visual Arts


monotype print printing plate printmaking


Crayola® Washable Paint Crayola Marker and Watercolour Paper – 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm cm (9” X 12”) Paint Brushes Styrofoam Trays or Plastic Mats Paper Towels Variety of Mark Making Tools Natural Flat Objects (Leaves, Grasses) Scrap Paper

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PRINTMAKING – MONOTYPES with Washable Paint - Step One

Step One

Use washable paint to paint directly on the printing surface. 

PRINTMAKING – MONOTYPES with Washable Paint - Step Two

Step Two

If paint dries before you are ready to print, spray the surface with a fine mist. You can make a print of the painted image immediately, or experiment with other marks and materials.

PRINTMAKING – MONOTYPES with Washable Paint - Step Three

Step Three

For example, draw into the painted surface using a variety of mark making tools such as a chop stick, the end of a paint brush or cotton tips.

PRINTMAKING – MONOTYPES with Washable Paint - Step Four

Step Four

Place paper shapes or natural objects on top of the painted surface. 

PRINTMAKING – MONOTYPES with Washable Paint - Step Five

Step Five

When you are satisfied with your design carefully place a sheet of paper on top of it.

PRINTMAKING – MONOTYPES with Washable Paint - Step Six

Step Six

Press the paper into the printing plate and rub gently, but firmly over the surface with your fingers.

PRINTMAKING – MONOTYPES with Washable Paint - Step Seven

Step Seven

Carefully remove the paper. (This is called pulling the print.)

PRINTMAKING – MONOTYPES with Washable Paint - Step Eight

Step Eight

Experiment with other ways to continue the print. For example, paint on the surface of a leaf . . .

PRINTMAKING – MONOTYPES with Washable Paint - Step Nine

Step Nine

. . . and place it into a specific shape on the print.

PRINTMAKING – MONOTYPES with Washable Paint - Step Ten

Step Ten

Reflect on what you have created. How could you use what you have learned in a series of prints based on a theme?

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Create several monotypes;
  2. Experiment with a variety of ways to use colour and create texture;
  3. Explain their process; and
  4. Express opinions about the works.


  1. Have students apply what they have learned to create monotype illustrations for a book of poetry or other writing.


  1. Create a sample.
  2. Place students in groups of about 6.
  3. Gather enough plastic mats so each student has one.
  4. Cover tables with newspaper and have lots of paper towels on hand.
  5. Make sure you have a spot to hang or place the prints while they dry.


Printmaking has a long history throughout the world. It is an interesting approach to art making because it gives many unexpected results and can lead to new ways of thinking. Monotypes are one-off prints rather than many. They are a combination of painting and printmaking.

  1. The following Canadian printmakers are among many you could introduce to your students depending on the focus of your printmaking lessons:
    Jane LowBeer
    Heather Aston 
    Lorène Bourgeois ​ 
  2. Introduce the idea of printmaking to students by talking about what happens when they walk through a puddle and then onto dry ground. The marks their shoes make are prints. 
  3. Ask what other types of prints students might know about.
  4. Explain that there are many different ways to make prints and monotypes are unique because they only produce one image, while other types of printmaking produce many copies of the same image. 
  5. Explain that today's lesson is a workshop to explore how to make monotypes with washable paint. It's for experimenting and trying out ideas to see what happens.
  6. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Create a several monotypes.
  2. Experiment with a variety of ways of adding colour and texture.
  3. Demonstrate technical accomplishment.

The Process

  1. Demonstrate how to create a monotype by painting directly on the plastic surface.
  2. Show how you can scratch into the paint with the end of a paintbrush or other sharp tool before placing the paper on top of the painting, or on top of the paper after you have placed it on top of the painted surface.
  3. Encourage students to experiment with a variety of ways of applying paint and creating texture.
  4. Remind students to immediately hang their print to dry before starting another one.


  1. Display the completed prints.
  2. Ask students to find 3 things that interest them about how the work was made.
  3. Ask students to share what they found challenging about making monotypes, and what they found easy.


  1. Have students fill out the self-assessment sheet. (Attachment - MONOTYPE_self-assessment.pdf)