DIY: Quick, cheap, and easy monotype prints

The other night I made some monotype prints. A monotype is a print that’s made by pressing paper against an inked or painted surface.

It’s slightly different from a monoprint. Basically a monotype uses a featureless plate that would result in one unique print, while a monoprint uses a plate with permanent features like texture or lines that will persist in each print, depending on how the plate was inked before the printing process. This link explains it in more detail.

Since I have little patience and even less moolah, I’ve revised the usual way of doing monotype print (meaning it usually involves a brayer and a glass sheet/plexiglass which I don’t have). I’m sharing my quick, easy, and cheap monotype tutorial with you!

What you’ll need:

– Watercolor paint in tubes. Or if you want it to not dry up so fast, try oil paint.

– Palette knife (optional-you can also use a chopstick, a straw, a blunt knife, old credit cards or old call cards, ballpen cap, matches, or none at all, since I primarily used my fingers heh)

– Flat plastic packaging (recycle! I used the plastic from the art paper but if you have extra plastic cover that will also probably work), use only one side, so for the plastic packaging, cut it so that you’ll have two plastic sheets

– Sturdy tape (I used strong paper tape which I got from Daiso)

– Paper for making prints (I used plain oslo paper, and neon construction paper)

– Newspaper for the mess

– Brush (optional)

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HOW TO DO IT:
1. You’ll be using the plastic sheet as your pseudo-plexiglass surface. This is your printing plate. Stick it to the newspaper and stick it again to a smooth surface using your tape. Or not. I stuck mine to the newspaper atop my yoga mat since that’s where I craft (and eat and do yoga but that’s another story)
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2. Squeeze your paint directly onto your plastic sheet. Or you can mix up the colors that you want first, but this is how I did mine:

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I squeezed all the colors I wanted here onto the plastic sheet:

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3. Now the fun begins! Using the palette knife or whatever tool you want), move the paint around the plastic sheet to make your design. Work fast, or the paint might dry! I just made random swirls. Imagine you’re the great artist Rafael Pacheco and try finger painting, which is what I did. Highly enjoyable and relaxing as well. I like the feeling of making a creative mess with my hands:

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Interlude: My messy hands:

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The top of my paper tape was waxy, so that’s what I used as a makeshift mixing plate:

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4. When you’re happy with your design, it’s time to create your print! They often said that the paper should be damp, but I didn’t have a spray bottle for the water or a huge flat pan so I used dry paper. Try working with damp paper next time, and make sure you pat it into a semi-dry state using a towel, so it’s not that drippy. In printmaking class, we sandwiched the dripping paper between a folded towel. You can try that if you want, experiment and see which technique you like best.

I used dry oslo paper. It helps if you hold the two diagonal corners while pressing it down to your design so that there are no air bubbles. Work quickly, before the watercolor paint dries! Which is what happened to me, oops. Press the paper against the paint with your hands or the back of a wooden spoon or a brayer if you have one, but what I did was to use my body weight for less effort. Meaning: I stomped on top of the paper (but to be more effective, you must walk slowly in every area of the paper. Careful not to drag the paper accidentally!). I read about this technique from this wonderful printmaking book called “Hand Printing from Nature: Create Unique Prints for Fabric, Paper, and Other Surfaces Using Natural and Found Materials” by Laura Donnelly Bethmann. A must-read if you’re interested in creating your own prints!

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5. You now have your finished one-of-a-kind print! What’s great about the monotype technique is that the results are wonderfully unpredictable, so if you like surprise artworks, you’d definitely like experimenting with this printing technique. 🙂 If you’re using watercolor paint, you have to keep in mind that you have to work pretty fast or else the paint will dry up in the plastic sheet. Some details did not appear since they were already dry, but that’s okay.

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Here’s my first attempt. I did abstract works for now, but am looking forward to making monotype merbirds in the near future!

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P.S.
I poured a lot of water atop the plastic sheet and pressed paper against it and loved the wash I got:
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Take a peek at my other tutorials here. 🙂

Read more about my printmaking adventures here.

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DIY galaxy Chucks

I’ve been seeing a lot of galaxy prints lately in clothes, bags and shoes, and I’m glad about this trend because the cosmos has always been a source of fascination for me. Saw a nice pair of shoes with a pinkish galaxy print in Forever 21 but for around the same price, I thought it might be better to invest in a new pair of Chucks. My ratty old pair celebrated its tenth birthday recently and it’s so worn out that when I step on puddles, my heels get wet because the sole has tons of holes, heh.

I treated myself to a new pair and chose an all-black one because I wanted to try customizing it with a galaxy print. Why buy when you can DIY, right? 🙂

There are lots of tutorials online (google galaxy print shoes. Thank you, lovely generous people of the interwebs) but this is the lazy-arse way of doing it, with cheapo materials from local bookstores. The original plan was to make a detailed tutorial but my hands got too messy and I forgot to take photos of some of the procedures because I was so engrossed with the process, so apologies for the lack of photos.

What you’ll need:

– Shoes made of canvas material, preferably black or dark blue so that it’d look more “spacey”

– Acrylic paint. I used an acrylic paint set from Color & Co, around Php100+ from National. You’ll probably just use the blues, the reds and the white tubes.

– Masking tape

– Very important: A sponge brush. I got myself this nice sponge brush from Fully Booked for around Php90, but I think you can also try using plain sponges.

– An old toothbrush

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HOW TO DO IT:

1. Cover the non-canvas areas with masking tape. I originally used yellow, but that ran out, so I switched to blue, but that ran out as well, so I ended up using brown paper tape from Daiso. It’s better to use plain masking tape, though, since the brown tape wouldn’t stick to itself.

2. Mix the paint so you’d get a nice royal shade of blue, purple, and pink. It’s up to you. I saw a tutorial that used bleach, but we didn’t have bleach so I wasn’t able to try it. The results of bleach against black canvas would be orangey, and that’s also nice. Try it in a small hidden area first to see if you like the results. Dab the paint with the sponge, spreading it gently. A small amount of paint goes a long way, so it’s better to layer them. Use alternating colors. You can search for galaxy images online and use them as reference if you want.

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3. When you’re satisfied with it, dip the toothbrush in a mixture of white paint and water. Then flick the toothbrush atop your design to create stars. Another technique is to try drawing tiny stars with white paint and a toothpick, but I tried it and it messed things up so I’m not sure about this idea. Try it and see if you like the results more. Image

4. Peel off the tape and admire your masterpiece. Voila! I’m thinking of replacing the black shoelaces with something more striking, maybe shoelaces in hot pink or purple.

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Feel free to ask me if you have any questions, though, and I’ll try my best to answer them. 🙂

Happy DIY-ing!