Monotype Printing

We love Eric Carle and his distinctive style of illustration. Inspired by this, we tried our hands at monotype printing! 

This is basically a 19-century form of printing, also known as the type of printing that comes closest to painting, as each color is applied onto a printing plate and transferred onto the paper. The layering of the colors creates almost one-of-a-kind prints!

First, we read this book, Mouse Paint.

 It isn’t exactly Montessori as it does feature anthropomorphised mice, but the concrete description of how colors mix is one of the best and simplest I’ve read. (How to choose Montessori-friendly books here.)

Our setup consisted of two stations, one for applying the paint, and one for making imprints in the paint and transferring it to the paper.

The children used sponge rollers to create a large flat wash of paint, in which they dipped their transparencies. I only used red, yellow and blue, to mimic the traditional printing press colors of magenta, yellow, cyan (and black which I don’t have).

Then they brought their transparencies over to the second station where they drew designs using a cotton bud.

Obviously, we didn’t have a printing press or plexiglass plates, so we substituted those with heavy books wrapped in tin foil and transparencies.

Then they turned the transparency and base (ahem, the foil-wrapped book) over, pressing down hard on it to transfer the design to the paper.

Voila! The print took surprisingly little time to dry…

And they then repeated the process for the other paint colors, which led to some color mixing directly on the paper. This repetition really got them in a flow state!

You may also like our post on our Montessori art space at home.


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