prints on cards
When I discovered printmaking after college, I learned how to make everything from intaglio prints to screen prints. I simply adore working in this medium!! Children and printmaking haven’t been an easy combination for me — the inks can be toxic and the materials can take over a space, but I’ve been taking every opportunity I can to bring printmaking down to my child’s level, and each of our printing sessions has been engaging for both of us. There’s so much magic in pulling prints — if you haven’t tried it yet, I encourage you to give it a go. I’ll add links to our other printmaking projects at the bottom of this post.

Monoprinting is a lovely combination of printing and painting. Printmaking is usually defined as a images made in multiples, and monoprints are the exception as each “print” is one-of-a-kind (“mono” meaning “one”). These prints are ridiculously easy to make — you just need a little bit of table or floor space to store the drying prints.

To make these prints, we started with:

rolling brayer on cookie sheetN chose a green and blue paint combination. I squeezed a little bit onto the cookie sheet (you can always add more if it’s needed) and she moved it around with the brayer.

Q tipsI placed a cup of Q-tips on the table for easy access.

drawing in ink on cookie sheetThen she used a Q-tip to make marks in the paint. I’m interested in giving my daughter full control of her art-making experiences, and would only step in to smooth the paint or help remove/add paper. I believe that taking on the role of facilitator encourages her creative confidence.

ink designs on cookie sheet

pressing the paper for monoprintShe pressed paper down to pick up the print.

peeling back the monoprint paperAnd peeled it back to reveal some printing magic!

drawing patterns on ink for monoprintSo many patterns and shapes were explored.

green painted handsAnd of course, no painting activity is complete without the requisite hands-in-the-paint experience!

monoprint paintings

I often get asked “what do you do with all that art after your child makes it?” If only we could keep every piece! But my house is small and I can’t keep a lot of stuff around for very long. A lot of it gets recycled, a few key pieces are saved in our archive box, most of it is photographed, a few pieces make their way onto our fridge or walls, and the rest gets turned into gift wrap, presents, or cards. Because we used thin paper to make these, they were perfect for cutting up and glueing onto thank-you cards with a glue stick.

More printmaking projects on TinkerLab

Bubble Wrap Prints

Sweet Potato Prints

Abstract Prints using Foam Trays

Sink Mat Prints

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  1. These are really very pretty. My DD would love this. Great for making cards for her teachers as schools are closing next week here.
    By the way,I love her apron,too. Outstanding 😉

    • She “stole” my cooking apron. I like it too 🙂

  2. What a beautiful post! These are great monoprints! Printmaking is always so intriguing to children! The magic of making multiple images is so fun. Thanks for mentioning some of my printmaking posts.

    • Your projects are so inspiring, Melissa!

  3. Beautiful! I think printmaking is my favourite with children. These are very striking and so perfectly age appropriate. PS Is it wrong that I really want you to do a pictorial tour of your home?! it looks so stylish! (not that I would have expected otherwise of course!)

    • You’re WAY too kind, Anna. I must do a good job at isolating the pretty parts of my house from the chaos, but thank you!!

  4. These look so fun and simple. Eiya loves working with her hands. We will give it a try. Thank you for sharing. : )

    • Sheau, I bet that Eiya would enjoy this project or one of the other printmaking projects. Start simple and see how it goes.

  5. Love this!! We make this with finger paints using hands to smoothen the paint and little fingers to draw. Will have to try tempera and its high time i buy a brayer for putti 😀

    • Roopa – brayers are awesome, and I’m sure you’ll use it more than once.

  6. we just finished finger painting with corn flour and dye and used the printing idea with that, lts of fun and mess! I love the way you’ve used the tray defines the space for the art work. Thanks for your ideas…

    • Good point about the tray as a defined work space, Catherine. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of that.

  7. Your daughter’s expressions are priceless — so serious! Love the idea too.

    • She can be very serious and focussed, Nell 🙂

  8. These are so beautiful! Love the colour combinations N has chosen.
    We do lots and lots of printing and stamping, too. Incidentally, in my post yesterday, I shared 12 stamping/printing ideas…

    • I love all your stamping ideas, Rashmie. Thank you for sharing!!

  9. What a great idea! Printmaking was a passion of mine, before children, but I never thought to adapt it for them. Thank you so much for the inspiration.

    • You’re welcome, MariaElena!! Isn’t printmaking the best?

  10. Rachelle, have you seen this book http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hand-Printing-Nature-Laura-Bethmann/dp/1603425594/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1310853524&sr=1-1 It is full of great print making ideas that can easily be done with kids. It looks like it has been updated here but my mom has the previous revision from a second hand shop and I love it. We have done some apple prints, zucchini prints and potato prints. I am looking forward to doing some prints with leaves in the manor they describe. It was nice because we were able to do the fruit prints with watercolor paints so they were easy to clean up and non toxic.
    Well, thanks again for all your ideas!

    • Sarah, this book hasn’t crossed my radar yet, and it looks like a new version comes out next month! I’ll have to check it out. Thank you!

  11. I really like this idea. I’m always glad to find ideas for open ended art that can be done at home with materials and equipment most people have on hand. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Those are beautiful! This is going on my list of things we must do. Thank you for sharing! I just blogged about a new way to make bubble art, that I’m sure your kids might like. I hope so anyways. Anyways, I love your blog and I’m so glad I ran across it!

  13. i absolutely LOVE these and can’t wait to try this out with my students! thanks for all the awesome ideas. 🙂

  14. I love these types of activities because they appeal to all the age groups I work with….thanx for the idea!

    p.s.- when we find ourselves under a mountain of art work, we trim it up into bits and pieces for collaging.

  15. What a great idea. I am sure my daughters would love to do this too… Thanks for the inspiration!

  16. This is great! I lover how into it her expressions show she is. You could bind some of her prints as art journals and let her create a whole shelf of books.

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