IF Kids :: Monoprinting with Beans

I love to cook, so my art is often inspired by what I find in the kitchen.  Monoprinting is a fun process with a bit of serendipity.  You think you know what the results will be, but there is always an element of surprise.  I used dried beans (kidney beans to be exact) to create this texture study, but dried pasta also works well.  Linguine makes lovely broken straight lines!

To get started you will need:
–   dried beans
–   cardboard (I used an old box.)
–   liquid glue (such as Elmer’s)
–   scissors
–   water-soluble printing ink (2-3)
–   printing brayer (2-3, or be prepared to wash and dry)
–   old plastic tray (2-3)
–   paper for printing
–   paper (brown paper, newspaper) to cover work table
–   apron

Let’s create!

1.   Prepare your work surface.
Cover your table with newspaper or brown paper to protect it.  This process is slightly messy, so it’s always better to err on the side of caution.  Don’t forget to put on your apron!

2.  Make your printing plate.
Cut out a piece of cardboard from an old box.  The size will be determined by the size of your printing paper.  Arrange your beans on the plate in a pattern of your choice.  Glue them into place.
3.   Ink your tray.
Squeeze a small amount of ink onto the center of the plastic tray.  Smooth out the ink with a brayer.  Don’t have too much fun squishing it around!  The ink dries quickly.
4.   Ink your printing plate.
Roll the ink across the surface of your printing plate.  Move your brayer in different directions to get the best coverage possible.
5.   Make your first print.
Center your paper over the printing plate and press into place.  Run your hands across the surface of the paper adding light pressure.  Once you’ve pressed the paper all across the printing plate, peel it back to see your first print.
6.   Make your second print.
Roll the second color across the surface of the plate while the ink on the plate is still wet.  This will allow the colors to mix slightly when you make the second print.  Remember to use a clean tray and brayer or the colors will mix too much.

Stick to an analogous color scheme unless you want to see how brown is made, then use a complementary color scheme such as red / green, blue / orange or purple / yellow.
If you don’t want any mixing to occur, wipe off the ink from the first print and allow the plate and print to dry before proceeding to make the second print.
7.   Clean up.
Place your art aside to dry.  Use warm, sudsy water to wash your tray and brayer.  Allow to air dry.  Recycle the newsprint.

Use your print as the base for a mixed media artwork or use it in a collage.  This project is suitable for ages 5 on up, though only adults should cut the cardboard base from a box.

Learn on Skillshare

Thomas James

Thomas James

Thomas James is an Illustrator who has worked with The New York Times, WIRED, Pentagram, Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and many others. You can see his portfolio at thomasjamesillustration.com.
Thomas James

Posted by Thomas James on 11/26/12 under IF Kids


Submit your illustration:

Select an image on your computer:
Choose File no file selected