Art making is an ever-evolving process that involves research, invention, and risk-taking.  At the heart of process art is experimentation.  It is important to offer art experiences that children can bring their own ideas to test and explore.

I love introducing monoprinting to children as it gives them such a powerful process of creating art.  The first time I was introduced to monoprinting with young children was through Bev Boz in the mid 1990s. Bev Boz suggested trays with a variety of household tools as brushes.  See my post here.

A monoprint (sometimes called monotype) is when only one print is made at a time.  After the print is made – the process begins again.  Monoprinting can be done on top of any surface.  Pie pans and round cake pans are great because your print will be a circle.

Mark Making with Loose Parts:

mono printing with loose parts

The set-up of the activity is an invitation to the child to participate in the art experience. An invitation is a tableau of thoughtfully arranged materials ready for art making. For this activity I will put out a variety of loose parts for the children to explore mark making with.  They can also go and gather loose parts they are interested in using as a painting tool.

mono printing with loose parts

I like to put tempera paint into condiment squeeze bottles for easy squeezing of the paint.  This gives children complete independence in applying paint.  I do not control the amount of paint they squeeze.  For some children the process is all about squeezing the bottle.  I like to trust the child’s process and honor what is capturing their interest.  If it is squeezing paint then I let them squeeze paint.   Putting a tray under the tin will allow you to return the excess paint to the bottle.  I use a kitchen scraper and a funnel on the condiment bottle.

mono printing with loose parts

Using a paint brush, foam roller or whatever the child wishes to use – cover the surface with paint.  There is no right or wrong way.  It is a process.  It is an exploration into a medium (paint in this case) where children can explore and experiment.  

mono printing with loose parts

Now the fun begins!  The child can make marks in the paint with a variety of loose parts.  I do not guide or tell the children what to use. I try to stand back and out of the way.   Let them play with the materials and discover for themselves what is possible.

mono printing with loose parts

Bottle caps. . .

mono printing with loose parts

Sticks. . .

mono printing with loose parts

When the child is ready, they can press a piece of paper on top of the paint and press.  Again, do not worry if the paper slides or the child barely presses.  It is not important.  So stand back and let it all unfold.

mono printing with loose parts

Oftentimes children will press so hard all of the marks disappear.  It is all good.  It is process of creating.  It is the child’s exploration.

mono printing with loose parts

The joy is in the process.  And the process can continue!  I love extending art making over a series of days.  One day we mono print, the next day we use markers on the print and finally another day we collage on top.  This can build the idea that art can be a long and sustaining process that takes days to complete.

Creative Monoprinting with Loose Parts