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!)


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


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


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.