Monotype Print N Shrink

Lesson Plan, Grades 5-12, Science, Math, Printmaking, Drawing, Mixed Media


Lesson Plan and Artwork by Annette Johnson

Klee, Kandinsky and Mondrian used geometric shapes and different techniques to explore the use of color. Students will have the opportunity with this lesson to do the same exploration using a monotype printing process. Monotypes have existed since the mid-1600s. 

Combining drawing and printing techniques, students will create a monotype print. Using watercolor pencils, the image is drawn on the Shrink Film. Dampened Mixed Media Paper is placed on top of the image, hydrating the pencils. Rubbing the back of the paper transfers the image to the paper. Once printed, bake the shrink film in a toaster oven. Mat the monotype and shrink-film image together.


  • Students will learn how to create a one-of-a-kind monotype print watercolor pencils as their print medium and shrink film as their printing plate.
  • Students will have the opportunity to explore the works of Klee, Kandinsky and Mondrian.
  • Students will develop and execute a design based on the work.

Supplies Needed

Watercolor pencils
Sanded Shrink Film, 8-1/2 x 11 in, Pack of 50
Rubbing Stick®
Storage Tote, 13L x 10-1/4W x 4-1/2H in
Mixed Media Pads 7” X 10”
Newsprint 8-1/2” 11”, 30 lbs, 500 Sheets
Polymer Clay & Craft Oven
*Here are the supplies needed for this lesson plan for reference. Find a convenient carousel of shoppable products for this lesson below.


Standard #1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
Standard #3: Define and complete artistic work.
Standard #5: Develop and refine artistic work for presentation.
Standard #7: Perceive and analyze artistic work.



Share with student the works of Klee, Kandinsky and Mondrian. Discuss their use of geometric shapes and color.


Explain and demonstrate the various materials and equipment used in the lesson. Study the effects of shrink film, heating and oven safety. Allow students to experiment with the colored pencils and shrink film.



1. Cut the Sanded Shrink Film into six pieces 3” x 4”. Use the scrap for practice. NOTE: The sanded shrink film may need additional sanding. You will be able to determine this when color is applied. The color should be rich, dense color; if it is not covering the film evenly, this is an indication the film needs additional sanding. Use a fine-grade sandpaper.
2. Remove pages from the Mixed Media pad. Trim to 6”x 10”, then cut in half, giving you two pieces 5” x 6”.
3. Registration template: Cut a piece of scrap white board 7” x 8”, center the 5” x 6” printing paper on the board, and trace around it with a pencil. Then center the 3” x 4” printing plate inside the outline for the paper and trace with a pencil. Place the registration template inside a ziplock bag to keep it dry.


Directions for Printing:

1. Draw 3” x 4” rectangles on a sheet of paper and work out your ideas. Choose the one you like best. Place the plate over the image and recreate it on the sanded surface or draw directly on the plate referring to your drawing.
2. Soak the paper in a tub of water for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the paper and damp-dry between paper towels or newsprint.
3. Cover with a clean sheet of newsprint. The dry sheet acts as a catcher and a cushion.
4. Transfer the image from the plate to paper by rubbing the back of the newsprint with the rubbing stick. Make sure to rub the whole plate so the entire image transfers.
5. Remove the newsprint, lift the plate from the paper and allow to dry.
6. Using pencil, number your print 1/1, title, sign and date.


Directions for Shrinking:

1. Heat the toaster oven to 325 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment, place shrink film on top and place in oven.
2. Bake for 2-3 minutes; when film lays flat, remove from oven and cool. The color on the plate will intensify when shrunk.
Note: Spray the baked shrink film with a fixative after it dries to avoid smearing.