Lesson Plan: Monotypes using Createx

Monotypes Using Createx™

Submitted by: Brenda Robson, First Baptist Academy, Dallas, Texas
UNIT: Impressionism - Printmaking
Lesson: Monotype with Createx
Grade level: Middle School - adaptable to higher grades (examples are 5th/6th)

Related Lessons: High School Examples from Ken Schwab, Leigh High School
Easy Monotype Lessons - Trace Method and Subtractive Method
Self Portrait Monotype - from Holly Kincade
Tempera Paint Monoprint - from MaryAnn Kohl



  1. Show student PowerPoint of Impressionists paintings

  2. Present a brief history of monotypes - discuss how monotypes look different than paintings.

  3. Demonstrate three different monotype processes - trace method - subtractive - additive (painterly - using Createx - alternate method to come)

Objectives (from Judith Fowler):
the learner will

  • Learn about printmaking processes and offset images.

  • Learn about the history of printmaking and the artists who developed these processes.

  • Learn a little about the history of printmaking and the artists who developed these processes.

  • Write a story about their pictures and display their work in the classroom or hallway

  • Combine the monotype printmaking process with other media to create mixed-media works.

monotype prints monotype prints


1) Printing Surface- use a flat non-absorbent surface such as a sheet of Plexiglas or frosted polyester mylar. (Brenda used laminating film scraps). Masking Tape.
2) Paper-Use absorbent, unsized or lightly sized papers such as Silk Screen Paper., Rives BFK paper., Japanese Rice Paper., or handmade papers without sizing. (note from Judy: I even used white Tag board. and Watercolor Paper. with students)
3) Createx Monotype Colors. and Createx Monotype Colors.. (note from Judy- I used Monotype 7 color set - plus an extra bottle of monotype base)
4) Painting tools- Brushes., color shapers, foam or soft rubber Brayers., Q-tips. - Paint Mixing Trays. are helpful
5) Blotter paper or Newsprint..
6) Drawing Boards. or other flat surface for flattening print.
7) Soaking tray for paper. Spray mist bottle.
8) Etching Press. and blankets (optional)


Createx Monotype Handbook pdf [Archive] 36 page illustrated booklet which explains the many uses of the Createx Monotype Colors. Chapters include proper materials, techniques, troubleshooting, much more. Written by Julia and Gail Ayres. - Createx Instructions (Archive). See their other guides.


Book: Monotype: Mediums and Methods for Painterly Printmaking. by Julia Ayres

Singular Impressions: The Monotype in America.

Singular Impressions: Monotype in America - Presents various monotype artists - and shows video segments - step by step process. From Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Monoprints and Monotypes see history and development of monoprints/monotype and more.

Akua Waterbased Ink site has directions for monotype


See Lesson Plan from Printmaker William A. Walmsley (Archive)
Short video clip (The archive of this video seems to be missing) - monoprint subtractive technique lesson - images of Walmsley's work and more.


Teacher prep:

Cut Plexiglas (mylar. - - acetate. - or laminating film. 3/4" to 1" (2 - 2.5 cm) larger than desired print - depending on width of masking tape). Clean plate with a washcloth and detergent to remove residual oils and paint. Note from Judy: I got my Plexiglas. free from a local lumber company that repaired windows.


Mix Createx colors with monotype base ahead of time and put colors in Mixing Trays. for each table. Trays with lids work well. Colors will stay moist if you put a small damp sponge in tray.


Procedures (Adapted from Createx)

Painting the Image

  1. Select photographs of landscapes - or up close nature from magazines for inspirations.

  2. Make a sketch of basic shapes and plan colors using any media.

  3. Tape a border of masking tape onto printing surface. This will give you a nice clean border all around your print (tape is removed before running through the press)

  4. Brush thin layer of Createx base onto plate and allow to dry (this will help color release from plate).

  5. Put drawing/composition under printing plate. Apply color directly to the dry plate using a brush, Sponges., brayer, etc. Avoid heavy impasto strokes and buildup of paint which can spread during printing.

  6. Allow paint to thoroughly dry before transferring.

Wetting the Paper

For unsized papers (and thinner printing papers): (e.g. Arches 88.) Prior to printing your image, thoroughly wet the paper by spray misting it with water until it is evenly damp. When paint is dry on the plate, remove excess moisture from paper with a paper towel or blotter. Then transfer image. You can put through etching press under blankets - or rub the back with the flat side of wooden spoon.


For sized papers: (e.g. Rives BFK paper.) Hand transfer: Soak paper for up to 4 hrs. in warm water. Press transfer: Soak for 30 mins. in warm water.


Note from Judy: I used hand made paper with my students and it required very little soaking - we sprayed both sides with water bottles and blotted between towels.


Printing Process

Hand transfer - Starting with one side, lower dampened paper on top of your plate ( this will protect the paper and help retain moisture). Push paper into the painted plate using any of the following tools: Createx Printing Pin, soft rubber Brayers., wooden spoons., rolling pin, or barren. If all areas of the image are not transferring, spray mist the back of the paper and continue rubbing until the image is transferred.


Using a Printing Press.- With your plate face-up on the press bed, place dampened paper over the plate. Place acetate (or clean newsprint) over the paper to protect the blankets during the printing process. After you have run the plate through the press, gently pull away the finished print.


Note: an interesting "ghost" image can sometimes be pulled by running the plate through the press a second time. These make nice images for experimental drawings/mixed media.

Drying the Print

Flattening and Drying- Place acetate, glassine, or wax paper. on top of print. Sandwich your print(s) between sheets of Newsprint..  Use a flat weighted surface to keep the paper flat while drying. Change the newsprint as it becomes damp.


Easy Monotype Lessons - Trace Method and Subtractive Method

When I did monotype with my student, they experimented with three approaches. Createx described above for middle school (high school approach to come), Trace method and subtractive method.


Trace Method

Degas, Cezanne, Matisse and Picasso are some artist who have printed this way.


Materials: Plexiglas. plates, black waterbase Block Printing Inks. (or desired color), Brayers., Quality printing paper, ball point pen and/or pencil. (Note: this can also be done with oil bas printing ink)

  1. Roll even layer of ink onto Plexiglas

  2. Lay Printmaking Paper. on top of plate (80 lb Drawing Paper. works fine)

  3. Draw on back of paper using ball point en (or pencil) - Keep hand/arm from resting on paper as smudges will transfer. Alternate - lay a drawing on top of the printing paper and trace over the lines with pen.

  4. Carefully lift paper from plate to reveal a line print.

  5. If desired - print the remaining image on the plate - for a "negative" ghost image. This can even be done after the plate dries. Use damp paper for printing and etching press.

Subtractive method:

monotype prints    monotype prints
Click for larger image Detail showing paper weaving (relief piece)



Plexiglas plates, black water base Block Printing Inks. (or desired color), Brayers., Quality Printing paper., "eraser" pointed tipped tool, assorted tools for scraping (I made notched tools from credit cards and Mat board. scraps) - alternate white Screen Printing Ink. - Black Paper. for printing.

  1. Roll choice of ink color ink onto plate. Scrape off image with tools (rubber nibbed scrape tool, trimmed credit card scrapers, cardboard scrapers)

  2. Place paper over plate and rub back of paper (this works well for non-objective - free form prints). For more detailed prints - plates can be allowed to dry and printed the following day using damp paper and press.

  3. An nice alternate approach is white ink on black paper. Acrylic screen printing ink works well. Use selected brayers as it is difficult to get all of the white ink off the brayer.

Shown above: white on black monoprint using acrylic silk screen ink. Regular block printing ink works too - but does dry faster. Cardboard pieces were notched to create the lines. After prints were dry, Acrylic Paint. was used to embellish. Paper strips were woven in. The smaller rectangle is in relief (using a piece of foam core board). This white on black idea came from Jaye Bumbaugh, professor at Bluffton University, Ohio - example was done in class "World of Art" - Master's in Education program.


Monoprint using cut paper stencils

Monoprints can be made by inking up cut paper shapes (wax paper shapes or acetate shapes) an laying them onto an inked Plexiglas. Shapes can be saved for making more prints (hence these are monoprints - still one of kind - but can be duplicated to a degree). Try turning the stencil shapes over onto a different color inked Plexiglas and making another print. If students don't work fast enough the ink will dry too much. In that case - wait till the ink has completely dried and print on damp paper the next day.


When I did monoprints/monotypes with students, there were several activities going on in the room at any given time.


monoprint    6

Submitted by Ken Schwab, Leigh High School
Monotype with Createx and Caran d'Ache crayons

Students painted directly on the Plexiglas plates. When dry, they went into the painting using Caran d'Ache Neocolor II Crayons..

Plates are printed when paint is dry. Student printed on quality Rives BFK paper..

More of Monotypes for High School - From Patty Knott:

I do them every year and always use Createx and I always extend the activity by using chine collé (Chine collé is adding paper to the print - and running through the press - printing on the collaged paper at the same time).


Last year I had them use maps. (I collect the maps from National Geographic and I have hundreds.) The Theme was "Place- Where do you want to be?" They selected a map and painted an image to go with it. Incorporating found papers is easy, especially if you have a press. Soak the found paper as you would the printing paper.  I sieve Wheat Paste. to the back of the found paper, place on top the printing paper and put all through the press with the plate. The bond is great and I've had none come apart yet. I've incorporated all kinds of papers from magazine images to sheet music to whatever.


It's also a great way to go back and draw & paint into the print. Last year some of my students also experimented with liquid photo emulsion then monotype over that. Monotypes are a wonderful "freeing" experience.

A couple of hints:
I discourage brushes. The best results are anything but a brush. Sticks, Feather Assortment., sponges, small pieces of card, anything but a brush. It makes it so much more spontaneous and the resultsare often a surprise.

Allow the kids to do some quick experiments so they see how the ink reacts when put through the press -- if it's too heavily applied it will "squish" (may run and/or bleed through and ruin your felts). Make sure the plate is absolutely dry before printing or it will stick Also, if the painted plate sits around for awhile dry, I find it helps to carefully put a coat of the base paint over it let dry and then print. It lifts right off.


Artist for Reference:

Sharon Strasburg - non-objective monotypes - very painterly

Note from Judy: I have used chine collé with middle students. We used scrap Tissue paper.. Inked our plates as usual - cut tissue paper (to desired shapes - some fit the shapes of image - other did geometric shapes). Placed tissue paper on top of plate then sprinkled with wheat paste. Placed dampened paper on top and ran through the press. We got a very good bond.

Submitted by: Holly Kincade, Dublin Middle School, Dublin, VA
UNIT: Printmaking - Monotype - Pop Art
Lesson: Self Portrait Monotype
Grade level: Middle School (upper elementary)



12 " (30 cm) square mirror tiles. (with cardboard easel back), Vis-A-Vis Markers,. black China Markers., Scratch-foam plates. (cut to desired size), Createx Monotype Colors., Brushes., quality Printing paper., towel blotters, Wooden Spoons. (or Etching Press.), Turpenoid..



Andy Warhol Self Portrait..
Andy Warhol celebrity portraits:


Talk to the student about color plans - present Andy Warhol



  1. Look into mirror - Draw portrait directly on mirror with black Vis-a-Vis marker (or other choice of washable overhead marker that will work on glass).

  2. Tape Plexiglas to mirror - trace over lines of portrait with black China Markers.

  3. Paint portrait on Plexiglas with Sax monoprint inks or Createx. Allow to dry Option: Make some was paper masks - use brayer to ink backgrounds.

  4. Soak printing paper - blot with towels (or blotters)

  5. Place damp paper over printing plate and rub with back of wooden spoon - or run through etching press.

  6. Wash off ink and paint again with a different color plan. China Markers. will not wash off. - print additional color plans.

  7. Clean up Plexiglas plates with Turpenoid to remove grease pencil when finished.

  8. Go into prints with fine line markers - or leave as color studies.

  9. NOTE: regular watercolors will work on sanded Plexiglas plates - or on plates covered with a layer of Gum Arabic (brush Gum Arabic on plates and allow to dry).

Submitted by: MaryAnn Kohl
UNIT: Mary Cassatt from Discovering Great Artists - Printmaking
Lesson: Tempera Monoprint
Grade Level: Elementary

Mary Cassatt - 1845-1926

The great Impressionist painter, Mary Cassatt, lived about 100 years ago. She grew up in America, but like many artists of her time, moved to Paris to live and work as an artist. She decided to be a professional artist when she was very young, even though her family felt it was not a proper job for a young woman. But Cassatt believed in herself, studied hard, and went on to become a famous artist.

The Impressionists were a group of artists who believed in painting pictures very different from the usual artwork of the time. They painted people in everyday scenes rather than posed portraits. Cassatt is famous for her painting of mothers and their children. Some of her pictures are monoprints, made by painting a picture on a flat tray, then pressing paper on top of the wet paint to make a print of the image.

Young artists create monoprints with a cookie sheet, Tempera Paint., and paper.



* Tempera Paint.
* Brushes.
* Drawing Pencils. or small stick
* flat pan or cookie sheet
* White Drawing Paper.
* paper towels


  1. Paint a picture directly on a flat pan or cookie sheet. Use many different colors. Work fast so the paint does not get too dry.

  2. Scratch lines into the painting with a pencil or small stick, similar to finger-painting.

  3. Next, place a sheet of white paper on top of the wet painting and pat it gently with one hand. Try not to wiggle the paper. Lift the paper up and see the painted picture transferred onto the paper. This is a monoprint! (Mono means "one", and each painting makes one print.)

  4. To make another monoprint, wipe the pan clean with paper towels and repeat steps 1 through 3

Note: if paint dries - sprits paper with water and blot between towels - place damp paper on plate/surface and rub back with wooden spoon to transfer paint. If you allow paint to dry completely, be sure to soak the paper - blot then print by rubbing with wooden spoon (or run through etching press).


Alternate Lesson:

Monoprinting with Watercolor Markers (Archive) from Dick Blick (note this method also works on inexpensive - or free - Styrofoam Trays.)



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