Monoprint making is the official term – painting on trays is the early childhood term!  A monoprint (sometimes called monotype) is when only one print is made at a time after which the artist must begin again.  The process is basically painting (or inking) on a non-porous surface and then pressing paper on top of the painted surface resulting in a single piece of art.

This is a great activity for any age!  The level of color and pattern making will depend on the age and awareness of the child.  I love making painted paper for collage work such as Eric Carle’s illustrations.  Here’s how:

  1. Set up a painting surface.  A tray is ideal.  I have also covered a table in foil for monoprinting.
  2. Paint brushes – you can use a regular paint brush, scrub brushes, dish mops, back scrubbers. . .anything you can swirl paint with!  (Look in the dollar store!)

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3.   Squeeze tempera paint on to the painting surface.   I like to use two colors.

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4.  Press a sheet of paper (we used construction paper) on top of the paint.  Rub all over the top of the paper.

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5.  Lift the paper off the tray and see what you created!  Save all “pulls” as you never know what it might be perfect for!   Keep painted papers in a box for future art works.