How to Make Monoprints

Written by arielle reed
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How to Make Monoprints
Anyone can make a monoprint at home. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Monoprints, unreproducible single editions, are a rare addition to an artist's portfolio or a buyer's art collection. Even if the artist repeated the exact same method, the prints would turn out slightly different each time. These works are often signed as "A.P." or "aritsit's proof" pieces, rather than being numbered like prints in a series.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Printing ink
  • Paint brush
  • Masking tape
  • Wooden spoon

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    Create art at home

  1. 1

    Clean a tabletop or countertop.

  2. 2

    Apply masking tape to the counter to outline your painting area, creating an area smaller than your chosen paper so as to leave a border.

  3. 3

    Apply masking tape to one edge of the paper leaving a lip of tape. Align your paper to your taped-off area, still bearing in mind that you want a border left around your image at the end. Stick the lip of tape to your working surface and test that your paper can be lifted and dropped like a flap.

  4. 4

    Flip back the paper and paint on the surface where the flap will come down. If painting a scene or a face, remember to paint backwards. For example, if painting an eye, you must begin on the surface with the pupil, then the iris, then the white, then the eyelid. Also, do not use too much ink, or the paper will saturate beyond use.

  5. 5

    Drop the flap of paper onto your painting gently and accurately, do not allow for much movement or there may be smears.

  6. 6

    Apply firm pressure to the corners of the paper, and rub the back of the paper with a wooden spoon. Here you are collecting the paint from the surface onto the paper, so rub vigorously, but not so hard as to rip the paper.

  7. 7

    Test your work by lifting a corner lightly. If the paper lifts easily, then you are finished. If not, continue to rub.

  8. 8

    Confirm that your paper will lift easily, remove the tape strip, and allow it to dry overnight.

Tips and warnings

  • The heavier the weight of the paper, the more of an archival quality your print will have, though paper as light as printer paper is sufficient for practice.
  • Printing ink can be acquired at most art stores, but for practice it would be cost effective to start with an acrylic paint.
  • Try to find water soluble inks, which are less toxic and wash off with water. Not all printing inks are water soluble. Be sure to read the label before purchasing, wear appropriate clothes and protective gloves.

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