Monoprints and stencils

What are monoprints and how do you create them?

A monoprint is a once-off print. There are many ways of producing monoprints:

  • By rolling out a thin film of printing ink on a piece of stiff plastic sheeting or similar. The ink is then drawn into with improvised tools for a variety of effects, a sheet of paper is placed on top and a print taken.
  • A more detailed drawing can be turned into a monoprint in a similar way. A vanishingly thin layer of printing ink is rolled out and a sheet of paper is placed on top. The child’s drawing is then positioned on top of this and traced over, or the drawing is placed directly on the ink and traced over so that it prints out on the other side, or a clean sheet is placed on the ink and drawn on directly for an immediate print on the underside.
  • Areas of an inked surface can be masked out with cut paper silhouettes, shapes or stencils before placing a sheet of paper down on it and taking a print. This can be combined with other forms of printing.

Care should be taken not to touch the paper with the hands when tracing the image. Resting the drawing hand on a ‘bridge’ made from a ruler resting on two blocks of wood would help. The paper should be peeled off carefully.