MONOTYPES with Watercolour and Shaving Cream

Students explore a unique way of making monotypes with shaving cream and watercolour paint, and develop an understanding of a simple, and beautiful printmaking process. 

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 1 to Grade 8


Art Techniques
Language Arts


colour monotype print printmaking


Crayola Watercolour Sets - 8 Count Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 11.4 cm x 15 cm (4 ½" x 6") - 6 pieces per student Crayola Paint Brushes Flat Container such as Styrofoam or Plastic Tray Styrofoam or Plastic Trays - 1 per group of 4 students Small Pieces of Cardboard or Plastic Paint Scrapers - several per group Water Containers Paper Towels Bamboo Skewers - several per group Scent Free Foam Shaving Cream - 1 per group

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MONOTYPES with Watercolour and Shaving Cream - Step One

Step One

  1. Spray about 3 cm of shaving cream onto a tray.
  2. Use a piece of cardboard to make a smooth, level surface.
MONOTYPES with Watercolour and Shaving Cream - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Dab watercolour paint directly on top of the shaving cream.
  2. Use several different colours.
  3. Make sure the paint stays on top of the shaving cream.
MONOTYPES with Watercolour and Shaving Cream - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Lightly drag and swirl the paint with a bamboo skewer.
  2. Make sure the paint stays on top of the shaving cream.
MONOTYPES with Watercolour and Shaving Cream - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Gently place a small piece of paper on top of the design.
  2. Press down lightly - just enough to pick up the paint.
  3. The paper should be sitting on top of the shaving cream.
MONOTYPES with Watercolour and Shaving Cream - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Pull the paper off the shaving cream.
  2. The shaving cream will be smeared all over the paper.
MONOTYPES with Watercolour and Shaving Cream - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Scrape the excess shaving cream off the paper with a small piece of cardboard.
  2. The design will stay on the paper.
MONOTYPES with Watercolour and Shaving Cream - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Make several prints using different colours and swirls.
  2. Use the same shaving cream - just mix the paint into it, smooth it out and repeat the process.
  3. You should be able to get about 8 prints before you have to change the shaving cream.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create several monotypes using shaving cream and watercolour paints;
  • experiment with a variety of ways to use colour and create pattern;
  • explain their process; 
  • express opinions about the works.


Have students:

  • use the technique to create postcards to send to friends and family - (Downloads - PostcardTemplate.pdf);
  • challenge themselves to make a new artwork that includes some of their monotypes;
  • share their work with others.


  1. Create a sample.
  2. Place students in groups of about 6.
  3. Set up enough foam shaving cream stations for each group.
  4. Cover tables with newspaper and have lots of paper towels on hand.
  5. Make sure you have a spot to place the prints while they dry.


  1. 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.
  2. Ask what other types of prints students might know about.
  3. 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. 
  4. Explain that today's lesson is a workshop to explore how to make monotypes with foam shaving cream and watercolour paint. It's for experimenting and trying out ideas to see what happens.
  5. Introduce the challenge.



The Challenge

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

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students. For example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - created several monotypes
    - used several different combinations of colours
    - made several different patterns

    - explained what I did
    - kept the paper in good condition
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Encourage students to experiment with a variety of ways of applying paint and creating pattern.
  5. Observe students as they work. 
  6. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.
  7. Encourage them to work with colour combinations and textures to get unique effects. 


  1. Have students work in pairs or small groups.
  2. Ask them to:
    Compare the experiments and describe to each other what they did to get certain effects.
    - Describe feelings the works evoke.
    - Discuss challenges they may have had and how they solved them.
  3. Ask them to tell how they felt about doing this project.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss the prints – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - Monotypes_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students glue their favourite print into their sketchbook/journal, and write a reflection about it.
    - Explain how you made the print.
    - What do you like best about this print? Why?
    - What 5 words come to mind as you look at the print?
    - What do you see in the print that makes you think of these words?