Collage offers a great way to make unusual prints with strong sculptural qualities. To make a plate to print from, you can use materials such as corrugated card, textured paper, cloth, netting etc. Details and textures can be added by gluing further materials to the surface, eg. lollipop stocks, string, dried rice, spaghetti, lentils or seed. You can stick anything down as long as it is relatively flat.

What do I need?

Below is a list of some easy-to-find materials that you can use to make a collagraph:

  • cardboard rectangles – left over packaging works well, or mount board if you have it
  • lots of bits of textured fabric, textured wallpaper, mesh etc.
  • yarn
  • cardboard

You’ll also need some equipment:

  • glue sticks or PVA glue
  • scissors
  • craft knife or scalpel
  • ink in assorted colours
  • wooden spoon
  • trays for ink or paint
  • paper for printing

How do I get started?

We begin by creating printing plate (the surface that we are making to print from). To do this, make a collage using the bits of textured fabric, textured wallpaper, mesh etc. that we might have around the house – for instance you can make a landscape or something more abstract.

When you have some pleasing shapes, glue these down onto the piece of cardboard. You can also create texture by cutting away parts of the card surface using a craft knife or a scalpel.

When you are happy with the look of your plate you need to seal it with PVA glue – this makes it waterproof so that when you apply ink or paint it can be cleaned and printed from again. The plate will have to dry at least overnight before you can print from it.

When your plate has dried, apply a mall amount of ink or paint to it using a cloth, making sure that you completely cover the plate. Now you are ready to print!

Take a piece of paper and lay it on top of the collage plate. You can burnish (add pressure to the back of the paper) using your fingers or a wooden spoon, a rolled up pair of socks… anything that will add pressure. Then lift off your paper and you should have your first collagraph print.

A great resource for collagraph and other types of printing is the Hand Printed website.