How to Make Monotype Prints from a Plastic Blueberry Container

Repurpose Plastic Food Containers into Printmaking Plates

Your enthusiasm for this post about converting a plastic cookie container into a drypoint engraving inspired another monotype printmaking experiment.

I started clipping plastic from all the food and produce containers we brought home from the grocers to experiment with monotype, drypoint and collagraph prints. This post is about how to make a monotype print from a plastic blueberry container. Want to make one?

Behold, the plastic produce container! The grocery stores in my area stack displays featuring produce, nuts, candy, granola, muffins and cookies!
Printing from Plastic Food Containers
Do you find plastic containers at your grocery store? Those little clear containers are also potential printmaking plates!
Remove the label from the top, as this is usually the smoothest expanse of plastic
Clip the cover from the container. Trim the rippled edges off with kitchen or craft scissors.
Take your new, see-through monotype plate, and print a reference photo roughly the same size.
I’ve coated the entire plate with slow drying black acrylic paint, and I’m removing the pigment with a rubber tipped clay shaping tool.
Using a wet paint brush to increase moisture in the drying acrylic, and move it around to lighten the background around the figure in the sailboat.

Slow the Drying Time on Your Pigments

If you only have standard artist’s acrylic to make a monotype print, you can slow the drying time with Liquitex Slow-Dri Fluid Retarder. That will give you a lot more time to work your image. The pigments have to stay wet till you press your paper to them, because acrylic dries permanently. Its not like watercolor, which re-wets over and over.

Laying a sheet of Strathmore printmaking paper on my monotype print image
After rubbing the back of my paper to push it into my arranged pigments on the plate, I’m pulling a very painterly monotype print
The results are a combination of sketchy and painterly marks, suggesting an impressionistic figure on a small sail boat
With a little watercolor, and some colored pencil, the monotype print is enhanced to be just a teensy bit more detailed.
The little monotype is in my Etsy Shop.

Monotype Printmaking Video Tutorials

I’ve been sharing step by step monotype print video tutorials over on my youtube channel for awhile now. I filmed a new one for you (see it below). It’s fun to make art out of recycled plastic blueberry containers! (Here is a playlist of monotype tutorials on my channel.)

I especially love that you don’t need drawing skills, since you can trace through the clear plastic. And you can use acrylic artist’s paint (with just a few caveats) if you don’t have printmaking ink. With nothing more than a soup spoon, you can transfer the print to paper! You don’t need a press!

I hope you have a lot of fun making an afternoon of monotype prints at the kitchen table. If you post them somewhere, be sure to leave a link in the comments so we can see your fun results.

Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you in the next post!

Belinda


P.S. I had a conversation with a friend about making art in small spaces. Storing art supplies and finished art in a tiny home is challenging. I wrote this article about working with a small artist space on Medium. I hope it’s helpful if creative space, organization and storage are some of the things you’re struggling with.

P.P.S. Jay Weinstein is a photographer who was snapping candid images of people in India a few years ago. After lining up a shot of a man standing in his storefront, Jay paused, and thought better of it due to the man’s stern expression. He moved on to take other photos, until a friendly voice said “Hey, take my picture too!”. It was the same stern-faced man, completely transformed by a smile. Resting faces can look naturally grim, or intense. A smile can transform your impression of a person dramatically. And Jay proves that in these photos and essay by Jack Shepherd. If you’re not naturally prone to smiling at rest, maybe these images will nudge you to practice smiling a little more often?


Art Quote

It is all a question of weeding out what you yourself like best to do, so that you can live most agreeably in a world full of an increasing number of disagreeable surprises.

M.F.K. Fisher
A little red tabby cat asking if you’d like to make art more often
Watch this free online mini course – Six Tips to paint More Often

Quick Supply List for Monotype Prints made from Plastic Food Containers

If you're planing to make a monotype print using re-purposed plastic from food containers, this list will help you gather the supplies. This monotype video tutorial of the process will help you visualize the steps to get your first monotype made, without a printing press!

2 thoughts on “How to Make Monotype Prints from a Plastic Blueberry Container”

  1. Belinda, I always enjoy reading about your inventive experiments in art making. And the bonus art quotes! Thank you for all your time and effort in sharing your process and hard earned art wisdom. I’m now experimenting with using digital art as a springboard for watercolor painting: Trying out ideas for a series before I commit to paper. I started my art journey with oil painting so this is a whole new path to explore.

    1. Hi Sally, I’m so glad you’re having fun with your art, and forging new paths in your repertoire. Growth and expansion of our creative pursuits is neural aerobics. We may stumble at first, and the art muscle might be sore for a few days, but then we get in the groove, and fit as a fiddle while we’ve learned something new. High five on your new endeavors!

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