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Derived from the Greek word koll or kola (meaning glue), collagraphy is a printmaking process invented and popularized in the 1930s by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Juan Gris, and the master printmaker Stanley William Hayter. Given that the materials required for collagraphy are extremely basic and uncomplicated, collagraphs are often referred to as "poor person's etchings."

In collagraphy, various thin materials are arranged as a collage and applied to a rigid surface. Then a print is taken from the collage. The finished piece can be inked or left white to showcase the textures and qualities of the paper used. The types of objects you can find, alter and combine to make a collagraph are limited only by the imagination!


  1. Begin with an 8" x 10" canvas panel.
  2. Collect a number of fairly thin materials with textured surfaces, such as fabrics, cardboard, wire mesh, tooling foil, embossed wallpaper, pressed leaves, string, and other materials.
  3. Prepare a small bowl of acrylic gel medium to use as glue and as a final coat for the plate.
  4. Prepare textured gel mediums such as Liquitex Glass Beads, Blended Fibers, or Ceramic.


  1. Tear or cut printing paper into 10" x 12" pieces.


  1. Do a preliminary 8" x 10" sketch of your composition. Transfer this design to the canvas panel using a pencil. Decide which textures might be used in specific areas and gather the needed materials. Keep in mind that the higher the plane on the canvas, the more deeply embossed the print will be.
  2. Cut or shape various materials to fit the design. Matboard shapes, pieces of twine, fabrics, wire mesh, pressed leaves, will all create beautiful textures.
  3. Using gel medium, adhere various materials to the canvas panel.
  4. If desired, apply optional texture gel mediums.
  5. When all items are glued to the canvas panel and/or the texture mediums are completely dry, coat the entire surface with gel medium and let the panel dry for 24 hours.
  6. Prepare paper for printing by soaking it in water for at least 30 minutes. Blot it dry by layering sheets of dry paper or paper towels on it.
  7. Place the collagraph panel on the printing press bed and center the damp paper directly over it. Place the catcher blanket directly on top of the damp printing paper, the cushion blanket on top of the catcher and the pusher on the very top. Run the collagraph panel and paper through the printing press.


Use Blick E-Z-Cut Printing Blocks and Blick® Lino Cutters to add block-printed elements to your collagraph.

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