Friday, September 14, 2012

How to make a simple monoprint

This is a quick and easy monoprint method. Before you start these steps, you should prepare the image you want to print. Or, if you prefer, you could draw freehand. A drawing with interesting lines will work best.

Step 1: Put some ink on your printing plate. A piece of glass works well, or you can use a piece of plexiglass as you see I am using. I am using water-based printing ink here, but you can also use acrylic paint. Since acrylic paint dries very quickly, you will probably want to add a retarding medium to the paint so it doesn't dry before you've finished printing.

(if you look closely at this tube of ink, you can see it was $1.00! Clearly an old tube of ink, but it still works fine).

Step 2: Use a brayer to spread the ink evenly on your printing plate.

Step 3: Position the the paper on the plate, over the ink. Then, place the design/drawing you are using over the paper. Printing paper, or thin paper works best. I like to experiment with different papers. Here I am using tissue paper. Now, use a pencil and draw over the picture.

Step 4: Now you are ready to pull your print. Gently lift it off the plate to see your results. This is the magical part of printmaking, and what makes it so exciting, in my opinion!

And here it is. You can see the tissue paper tore a little bit, so it might be too fragile to be practical for this method.

Step 5: Now you should be able to pull another print, which will be a reverse print. Here are photos of that process. You can see the lines from the first print on the plate. And in mine, you can also see bits of tissue paper that stuck to the plate.

Put another piece of paper on top of the plate and rub to make another print. A wooden spoon works great for this step.

Pull your print and see what you get! Mine is very light. I think I should have used a little more ink to begin with, and not been working in direct sunlight because it was drying the ink out too quickly! But the weather was so nice today, I couldn't bear the thought of working inside.

Here are some other prints I did today. I'm hoping to use them in collage and mixed media pieces.


  1. It's been awhile since I've done this and now I can't WAIT to try mono-printing again. Have you tried it with gelatin?

    1. I haven't tried using actual gelatin, but earlier this summer I bought a gel plate which I absolutely love. I've been going crazy making prints with it. You might have noticed that on flickr. :)

  2. Awesome....thank you so much for the tutorial!! You're a great teacher!! Love it!! I saw those gel plates and they look so cool!! I love this process!! Need some of those mediums...

    Hugs Giggles

  3. I must do this again. Used to do it a lot with the kids when I was teaching! Valerie

  4. Thanks for sharing this! Very cool results! Have to try it out now!

  5. This is such a cool idea! Great for mixed media work! Thanks for sharing x