International Dot Day, and one of my all-time favorite books, “The Dot” by Peter Reynolds, were my inspiration for this lesson! I wanted to come up with a new way to make a series of quick, colorful, one-of-a-kind “dots” that could be completed in one class session. With monoprints, only one print can be made from each design, but you can repaint the printing surface and make as many new designs as you like! These designs are styled after mandalas, circular designs with radial symmetry and repeating patterns.
- foam core board (a great way to use up odd sizes of left-overs) OR use cardboard cake board rounds to save time
- circle template (I used a bowl to trace my circle)
- pencil or pen for tracing
- Xacto knife for cutting foam core board (an adult should do this)
- aluminum foil (a little larger than your circle)
- masking tape
- tempera paint: red, yellow and blue (use any 2 of the 3 primary colors at one time, unless you want brown!)
- 1″ foam brush
- 9×12 white paper to print on
- wet wipes for clean up
1. Trace and cut your circle, making it a little smaller than the paper you want to print on. (Or skip this step by using the cardboard cake board rounds mentioned above!)
2. Wrap your foam circle with aluminum foil, so that one side is completely covered. Wrap the sides of the foil over the edges and tape to the back.
3. Make a “handle” from tape on the back of your foam circle, so you’ll have something to hang onto while you’re painting/printing.
4. Squirt two different colors of tempera paint (about the size of a quarter each) onto the smooth foil surface. (If you use too much paint, your design will fill back in. You may need to experiment to find the optimum amount!)
5. Holding your circle by the tape handle on the back, use a foam brush to spread the paint in a thin layer over the entire surface. Let the two colors mix a little, but not completely. This will give you some variation of color and a more interesting design. (Any two of the three primary colors will create a secondary color when mixed together.)
6. Use a Q-tip to draw a simple design with radial symmetry. Start with large divisions of space and keep adding details equally to each area until your design looks complete. You’ll need to work quickly (before your paint dries), but that’s half the fun!
7. Press your foam circle onto the 9×12 paper. Turn the whole thing over and carefully rub the paper with your hands to transfer your design onto the paper.
8. Peel off the paper and set your print aside to dry.
9. Apply more paint, draw a new design, and make more prints!