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Monoprinting Is a Printing Art Form

Updated on January 9, 2019
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Ms. Venegas is exploring art and the enjoyment it can offer in retirement. Ersnt Haeckel sparked several years of reading and discovery.

Flat unit origami on Monoprint
Flat unit origami on Monoprint

Taking A Monoprint Class Was Fun

Monoprint is a printing technique that employs a press and features a one to three time print that has the subtleties of spontaneity and pleasant surprise. There are two methods. One is hand rubbed transfer and the other is the roller press method using Plexiglas plates to render an imagine on paper.

This information page is about the electric mechanical press monoprinting method. A metal roller about 3 feet long and twelve inches in diameter is mounted on a table. The table is electrically moved under the roller. High pressure transfers the imagine. Felt blankets employed over the paper and Plexigas plates allow stencils, lace, natural fibers and other artistic elements to be utilized for the finished piece of art.

Of course, buying a press is not an option for most artists. Taking a leader led class is a good time to use a press for experienced monoprinters, and for beginners a chance to learn the technique.

This page is about what I learned at a two day monoprint printmaking class. Explore the monoprint art form.

What to Bring toMonoprint Class or Artist Workshop

1. Your imagination

2. brushes

3. wear old clothes

4. lunch

5. cut out stencils (optional)

6. Inks and press supplied.

I made TBF tiles using the monoprint
I made TBF tiles using the monoprint

Setting of the Monoprint Class

Kathy Spear is a local artist offering monoprint classes every 3rd weekend of the month. Kathy is based is Upland, CA, 91786. This is in the Inland Empire near the Claremont and Rancho Cucamonga areas.

The California weather is enjoyed with work tables set up in the backyard. Four students is her ideal class size and each student is set up with a table. If it is going to be warm, canopies and trees offer shade.

If you are going to visit SoCal this is a good option for enjoying the weather.

The press is in her garage studio and there the inks are laid out in botches on a big paint palette for access by each student. Some artists plan ahead and have specific designs to work on. I was new and had some stencils I made and plans for sea themes and hearts. I did not knew what I was going to end up with. I did not even know the techniques.

After a few prepared Plexiglas plates I was hooked. By the end of the session I had about 25 monoprints that I can use for framing, collage, or card making.

This was way more fun than the spin paint booth at the school carnival, but it made me feel young, like in the day. The excitement of the session was a big plus for me. I will do it again. If you have a chance to explore mono printing I recommend trying it and finding out what you come up with.

Here is a monoprint press
Here is a monoprint press | Source

Monoprinting Techniques

What This Student Learned about Monoprint

Select the size Plexiglas you want for your work piece. Another 8X11 Plexiglas is used as a palette. Choose the color inks desired and put on Plexiglas with palette knife. Mix the colors and apply to the work piece using brushes, rollers or Q-tips depending on the look you want to develop. At this time ink can be taken off, stencils applied, lace or other flat patterned pieces can be employed.

Take the Plexiglas creation to the press. (A picture of the press at right.) The Plexiglas work is centered on the work table of the press. Fine artist paper is placed on top. Over your paper is a layering of felt blankets that press a slight embossed look around the edges of the Plexiglas onto the paper. The press works by moving the table under the roller. The roller putting even pressure on the Plexiglas as it moves past. Now you can lift your paper and see how the work turned out.

Depending on now much ink was used you may get one or two more printings each becoming a little lighter in hue. These subtleties make each printing an original, which is numbered 1/1. I found that the second printing was the most attractive with my ink applications.

On the second printing you can also tweak the stencils or add a bit more ink where desired. See how you can be hooked to come back to the press over and over?

The first two photos in this page is some of the monoprints that I came up with. I use the prints in conjunction with tea bag folding.

Above is a monoprint background with copies of the print used for the tea bag folding diatom.

a/o 2015 Kathy has switched to acrylics as the color medium. She is very please with the results.

Monoprinting Supplies
Monoprinting Supplies

Monoprinting Workshop Setup

Huge Plexiglas Pallet with artist inks

Our instructor Kathy sets up a big palette with bright beautiful color inks from Daniel Smith.

A small portion of linseed oil is added for the best consistency. Later we will use baby oil for all your clean up.

Gamblin 8 Oz Refined Linseed Oil


Monoprint Inks

Monoprint Inks
Monoprint Inks

These are some of the tools used by monoprinting artists

I found it was a good idea to wear old clothes or have in apron.

closeup of a greeting card with monoprint background
closeup of a greeting card with monoprint background | Source

Ernst Haeckel Inspired Seascape Greeting Cards

I have monoprint greeting cards for sale. Of course, the tea bag folding is incorporated into the work. That is just my thing. You may like it.

All the Monoprints photographed here are made by me in class. They are motifs inspired by Ernst Haeckel's Plates #13, 15 and 65.

Do A Google Image Search To Find Monoprint Artists

This link will take you to Google Image Search for Monoprint

Monoprint Google Images

Many of these images are a click away to the artist's Website.

This one is Google images for Monoprinting Google Images for Monoprinting

Ist monoprinting
Ist monoprinting | Source

Examples of Monoprinting Techniques

As you explore more about this art form you will discover that an electric press and a press with a big flywheel are used for monoprinting. Of course, both would be a big investment.

1st printing

2nd monoprinting: image by paperfacets
2nd monoprinting: image by paperfacets

Second printing. I added dark blue to the stencils and moved the bottom stencils for shadow effect.

I also sprinkled turpentine on it with a brush.

2nd monoprinting.

monoprinting techniques: image by paperfacets
monoprinting techniques: image by paperfacets

Another Ist printing. I am maybe too heavy on the ink, but the 2nd printing has enough ink to create a useful image.

monoprinting class: image by paperfacets
monoprinting class: image by paperfacets

Second printing. I did more of the same variations.

Framed Monoprint Art

Monopringing: image by paperfacets
Monopringing: image by paperfacets

Detail of a framed monoprint with teabag folding accents

Video Intro to Monoprinting

This video shows the manual driven press. Instead of using electricity press has a huge manual wheel is used to operate the press. Orna Feinstein's for Step-by-step monoprinting.

A Simple Technique to Start With

Monoprint Sessions offered by Kathy Spear in Upland, CA

Scheduled classes are every third Fri. & Sat of the month.


image by Kathy Spear
image by Kathy Spear

Monoprinting Workshops in Upland, CA 91786

Book A Class and Learn to Monoprint

If you are experienced in monoprinting this is a wonderful workshop.

If you are new to the art form, hints and guidance available.

Trees and shades set up for comfort. Each student gets a table. The press and studio is fifteen feet away. After class all the prints are shown and discussion is encouraged. Take your prints home the same day. Use them for framing, add additional hand painting, collage, make cards and much more.

Bring a lunch.

Have You Tried Monoprint?

What is your experience with this art form?

See results

© 2009 Sherry Venegas

Monoprinting Is A Printing Art Form

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    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 

      5 years ago from UK

      I have to say non at all, but I would love to find time to develop some aspects of printing. I think it would be a great way of extending my picture making, thanks for the info contained in this lens

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Very interesting and unique art form. I haven't seen this exact one before...but I can think of some ways to use it.

    • cdevries profile image


      8 years ago

      Monoprints can be pretty cool. An artist friend taught me a technique using foam meat packages, incising a design with a pen or similar, applying pastels, then ink... it created a lovely, loose, misty look.

    • ninakreativa profile image


      8 years ago

      This Monoprinting art form gives trully amazing results. I enjoyed watching the video.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great lens. I make monoprints. Really they start as lino prints, but as I use monoprint techniques alongside the lino, each one comes out slightly different. I liked the look of the stencils, must try more of this. I love using dried leaves and flowers, but they mess up the block and the roller big time. Thanks for writing this interesting lens!


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