How to Use Oil Pastels for Monoprints

Written by sylvia branch
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How to Use Oil Pastels for Monoprints
Oil pastels (oil pastels image by Ivonne Wierink from

Monoprints are one-of-a-kind prints made by transferring a drawing made on a slick surface such as glass onto a sheet of paper. Oil pastels are made of a pigment, non-drying oil and a wax binder. They can be held like a crayon when drawing. It is possible to layer colours and blend directly on the glass when making a monoprint image. After the original monoprint is pulled, you can attempt a second print called a ghostprint. This lesser-quality image can be reworked with oil pastels or other paints to extend your artwork.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Glass plate
  • Paper
  • Masking tape
  • Oil pastels
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Rolling pin, or brayer

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  1. 1

    Place a piece of glass on your clean work surface. The glass can be from an unused picture frame. If you are working from an image, place the picture under the glass to copy or use as a reference.

  2. 2

    Put your paper next to the glass surface. Tape one side down onto the glass, so that it will fold over to make the print when the image is complete.

  3. 3

    Apply oil pastels directly to the glass plate. Remember that the image will be reversed when printing, so plan accordingly. Press firmly to create a sharp, highly pigmented design.

  4. 4

    Spray your paper with water to dampen evenly. Fold the paper over from the taped side. Use your fingers, a rolling pin or brayer to press and smooth the paper down to capture the monoprint.

  5. 5

    Continue to press the paper down with the rolling pin or brayer several times. Start from the centre and press out on all sides. Let the print sit for a few minutes, then slowly lift a corner to see your work. Take your time pulling the paper off the glass plate.

  6. 6

    When dry, sign the print and add "1 of 1" or "1/1" to signify that it is a monoprint.

Tips and warnings

  • After the monoprint is made, lay a second sheet of paper on top and use the brayer to lift whatever image remains. This ghostprint can be used in mixed media art, or can be drawn or painted over to make another piece of art.

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