monoprinting & teaching the creative collective

For my last printmaking lesson with my 6th graders, I really wanted to try something a little different. In most of our projects these past 6 weeks, their imagery has been basic shapes (footballs, peace signs, flowers etc), their names or just their initials. I'm not looking for deep intellectual pieces but when they immediately resort to something familiar or simple it takes the aspect of play out of creating. Their willingness to play and experiment with a new medium and just see what happens is absent. Which is incredibly sad to see in a group so young! 

So I made them do monoprinting! Quick, abstract, instant results and pretty unexpected and uncontrollable results! Also to keep with Melyssa's Creative Collective and the current prompt, "Anything-Goes Art," it gave me an excuse to just play around with a medium I haven't worked with since college! Albeit, I just made some basic sample prints to illustrate how to do this project but it was definitely a nice break from my usual routine of watercoloring/writing/cleaning/binding repeat. 

And even better, I had everything I needed at home to make these quick little prints! 


  • Saran or plastic wrap
  • Masking tape
  • Paints (we used acrylic but any paint will work)
  • Paint brushes
  • Assorted pieces of paper
  • Optional: paper plates

1. Tear off a piece of Saran wrap and tape it to your table. If you have messy kiddos, use a craft table or put a table cloth underneath the plastic. A piece of tape in each corner should be good to keep it in place. 
2. Squeeze out a little bit of paint either in the corner of your Saran wrap or on a paper plate.

3. Paint across the Saran wrap, roughly the size of the paper you'll be printing onto. The thicker it is on the Saran wrap, the more paint that will transfer to the paper when you print. If you want to do writing, just keep in mind you will have to paint it backwards in order for it to be facing the right direction once it's printed. 
4. Quickly place your paper on top of the paint and push down evenly all over the paper. If you wait too long, the paint will dry and won't transfer to the paper. 

5. Carefully peel up the paper from one corner and see what you made! 

6. Wait for the paint patch on the Saran wrap to dry (it doesn't take very long!) or move onto a clean patch to spread more paint for another layer! You can also wait for your paper to dry or print immediately. If you print immediately, the colors will blend. Whereas if you wait, they'll be more like layers on top of each other. 

7. Keep repeating steps 3-6 until you're happy with your print! Then make another! Or three...

I LOVED watching the kiddos let loose and just play and make a mess. They were probably more productive today than all our other days combined! We did make quite a mess but the best part is that all you have to do is peel up the Saran wrap and toss it for clean up! Perfect! 

Have you ever tried monoprinting? Or have you done printmaking with kiddos before?


  1. I'm a teacher too and this seems like an awesome idea! I like how showed the project along with the process you went through to teach it! :)

    1. Awesome! It really is a lot of fun, definitely something that most kiddos haven't tried before. I'd love to see the results if you teach it to your students :)

  2. That's so exhilirating to see them come out of their creative shells! I teach as well, and will definitely use this with the kids I work with :) The super easy clean up is a great bonus too!!

    1. I think it took me longer to set up than it did to clean up, definitely a nice perk about this project! Let me know how it goes with your students :)


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