Do It Yourself: Monotype Printing

During the second half of September we’ve been exploring techniques of Monotype Printing in our Innovators Lab at the Museum. What is a monotype, you may ask? It’s a single print taken from a design created in oil paint or by printing ink on glass or metal. Monotype Printing is a workshop created by our very own Teaching Artist, Paul, and is something you can replicate at home!

Guidelines + Materials

AGE: 6+

TIME FRAME: 45 minutes


  • Neon Tempera Paint 
  • Plexiglass/Masonite Presses 
  • 5×5-inch Cardstock
  • Sponges
  • Cotton Swabs
  • Straws
  • Popsicle Sticks
  • Masking Tape
  • Paint Brushes
  • Cups


1. Fill cups with your chosen paint colors. New colors can be mixed if desired, using cups and popsicle sticks.

2. Place masking tape into a 5×5-inch square in the middle of the plexiglass board. This is the area where you will be painting.

3. Begin painting on plexiglass boards. You can use paintbrushes, sponges, cotton swabs and straws to create different textures and shapes.

4. Once painting is complete, place the 5×5-inch cardstock straight on top of the paint.

5. Flip plexiglass presses upside down. You should now be able to observe what your painting looks like against the paper through the opposite side of the plexiglass. If desired, press fingers against the plexiglass to spread paint and merge colors.

6. Set press with plexiglass facing up in the sun for 3 minutes before removing print from the press. And voila! You have a one-of-a-kind monotype print ready to display in your home!

Monotype Printing is the perfect activity for introducing abstract art and Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS). VTS is a simple activity designed to build a child’s background knowledge and develop thinking skills that use detail to enhance understanding. After creating your prints, play a guessing game of what you see in each print! Is it a bird? An elephant? The possibilities are endless! 

We are always coming up with new and fun projects for our Innovators Lab workshops. For more details on current and past projects go to our Innovators Lab page. Workshops are held at 1pm and 2pm on weekends.

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