Sunday, July 5, 2009

Monoprinting with Kids

I helped lead the Children's Program for the Ohio Episcopal Celebration at Kenyon (OEC@K). As we were begin planning our activities for the weekend, I remembered I had extra Versatex screen printing ink from the previously blogged about Fish Printing. So this time, we tried monprinting.

In order to get a smooth, elevated working surface for the children (ages 2-11), we used a food storage bag wrapped tightly around a book, with the excess neatly folded and taped. The kids had to be very careful not to rip the thin plastic, but none of them did.

As I was demonstrating the process to the children and I pulled up my piece, I suddenly realized that these could be prayer flags. So suddenly this became an Prayer Flag activity.

(We also stuck with the original plan, which was about decision-making. Children trying out different designs on the paint was like thinking about what decision to make. But then putting down the fabric was like making a decision--it can't be un-made.)

Here I am, mellowly talking about prayer flags as if it was our intention the whole time:

Children then took a plastic-covered book, a flat work surface (showerboard cut to 2ft squares), and a piece of cotton or muslin and then chose a color to work with. I spread the color on the plastic, then they took off with a teen-aged helper and got to work.

After playing in the paint and deciding on a design, the children would carefully put down their fabric piece and use a brayer to make sure the full design was transfered. Here's Grant braying a neat design:

It was a great gift that the teen program chose this particular session to sit in with the children's program. There were just enough teens and kids that they paired up very nicely, and they loved working together:

Truth be told, I think the teens liked this project as much as the kids did. They were very patient helping the kids, but the moment their "job" was done, they came asking to do their own prints:

Oh! And we had enough left-over shirts from the Fish Prints that each of the children could monoprint a t-shirt, too.

Here are our prayer flags in full glory:

This is quite an easy activity that can be done with any age and be successful, even with confirmed "non-artists." Just don't forget to heat set the images afterwards (press with a hot but not steamy iron for 5 minutes).