Art in the Open Learning Programme

Basic mono-printing by Nursery pupils

This simply means that you can only make one print and not multiple reproductions as with many other forms of printing. Mono-printing is perfect for school, as the results are instant and the technique can be used with children of all ages, right down to Foundation stage. The technique can be used to make pictures, or simply to make patterns and textures.

Year 6 pupils making mono-prints using plastic forks, cotton buds and pencils.

Previous Page

To make a mono print you simply draw a design into a layer of paint. Paper is then placed over the design to make a print. Here's how it works.


  • Paint - acrylic paint or printing inks are best for printing, although effects can also be achieved by using poster paint. The only problem with poster paint is that it dries very quickly! A little PVA glue stirred into the paint will make it tackier and more suitable for making prints.
  • Rollers - small rollers should be provided for applying the paint. Using a paint brush or sponge will produce some interesting effects also, but rollers are best for an even coverage. The hard rubber rollers (called Brayers) are best for this if you have them.
  • Stiff Plastic - OHP acetate sheets are perfect for this, but plastic folders for ring binders can also be cut in half and used. Any stiff plastic will work but it must be flat and ideally one colour or clear so that designs can be seen clearly.
  • Paper - sugar paper or a thick paper, such as cartridge paper, are best for absorbing the paint. Try a variety of colours. Fabric can also be used for printing on. Calico or canvas is best, but old cotton sheets cut into squares or left whole for a large piece can also be used.
  • Tools for creating designs. These can be anything from cotton buds, plastic spoons and forks, end of pencils (though they will get very dirty) straws, wooden skewers etc.
Next Page