Students develop an understanding of a simple printmaking process by exploring monotypes using washable paint on a plastic surface.

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Kindergarten to Grade 8


Art Techniques
Language Arts


colour print printmaking


Crayola Washable Paint Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") Crayola Paint Brushes Plastic Sheet Protectors - 1 per student Cardstock Paper - white - 1 per student Water Containers Paper Towels

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PRINTMAKING – MONOTYPES with Washable Paint - Step One

Step One

  1. Paint directly on the plastic surface. 
  2. Try to work quickly so the paint stays wet.
PRINTMAKING – MONOTYPES with Washable Paint - Step Two

Step Two

  1. When you are satisfied with your picture carefully place a sheet of paper on top of it.
  2. Press the paper into the printing plate and rub firmly over the surface with the palm of your hand.
PRINTMAKING – MONOTYPES with Washable Paint - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Carefully remove the paper.
  2. This is called pulling the print.
PRINTMAKING – MONOTYPES with Washable Paint - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Try making another print by painting over the same areas on the plastic surface.
    - What do you notice about the 2 prints?
    - Why do they look different?
    - Which print do you like the best? Why?

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create several monotypes;
  • experiment with a variety of ways to use apply colour;
  • explain their process; 
  • express opinions about the artworks.


Have students:

  • apply what they have learned to create monotype illustrations for a small book of poetry they have written;
  • share their work with others.


  1. Set up a demonstration area.
  2. Place students in groups of about 6.
  3. Place white cardstock paper into the plastic sheet protectors - 1 per student. 
  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 using paint on a plastic surface. It's for experimenting and trying out ideas to see what happens.
  5. Do a quick demonstration of the process.
  6. Introduce the challenge.



The Challenge

  1. Create a several monotypes.
  2. Experiment with a variety of ways of applying colour.
  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 ways of applying the paint
    - 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 prints and describe to each other what they did to get certain effects.
    - Choose the print they made that like best and explain why.
    - 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 write a reflection about one of their prints.
    - 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?