In the past I have used plastic sheeting or perspex plates for monoprinting, but this year I had new idea – to use opened-up laminating pouches instead! My old perspex plates are rather scratched and are a pain to clean afterwards, so I liked the idea of being able to throw away the pouches after use! I also hoped that, by sandwiching the paper between the two layers of shiny plastic, I could avoid the problem of the paper slipping and smudging the print when rubbed too vigorously. I was pleased with the results in both respects, and the laminating pouch also proved to be a lovely smooth painting surface.
This project was done with my youngest group, some of whom are still under three, and it was quite challenging for them. I would recommend working one-on-one with this age-group (2-3 year olds) for this particular project, rather than one teacher to seven children as I did! The most challenging aspect for my very young students was following my instructions, when all they really wanted to do was to daub the paint on!
Before the class, I drew a simple outline of a rainbow and made A4 copies for each child. I opened up the laminating pouches and placed a rainbow outline under each one, before taping each pouch to the table top with masking tape. The children were also given brushes, water jars and paint palettes containing the primary colours.
Young children love the colourful illustrations and the simple yet engaging story, in which a curious little owl stays up all day and experiences all the colours of the rainbow.
Then the children painted their own rainbows, painting and mixing each colour in turn, starting with red and ending with purple (standing in for indigo/violet!). They had to concentrate hard and listen carefully to know which colour to paint next, and how to mix the secondary colours in their palettes.
One reason I used the monoprinting technique for this project was in anticipation of the children getting carried away with their paintbrushes (which all of them did, at least once!) Because they were painting onto shiny plastic, I was able to wipe off any big mistakes.
At this age children mostly just want to paint without thinking about it too much, so it was expecting a lot that they would wait to find out the next colour in the sequence. By the end though, they were all focusing well and the process got easier!
Once everyone had painted their rainbows, a piece of paper was placed on top of the painted surface. The top layer of the laminating pouch was folded back over the top, and the the children pressed down all over. The children were excited to open it up again and peel up their paper to discover a rainbow magically printed on the reverse!
With this age-group the whole process took a while, and the red paint had already started to dry, meaning that the top of the rainbows didn’t print so well – another reason why this project might work better with slightly older students…
Despite this, I still love the results, and the children were delighted with their ‘magic’ rainbows!