Collagraph is a type of printmaking that involves preparing the plate by gluing textured materials into a composition before inking the surface and printing. There's a good little summary HERE.
In all of my printmaking experience, I'd never tried collagraphs before. While planning lessons utilizing recycled materials at the end of the school year, I couldn't resist the urge anymore and gave it a go. I picked 1st grade to try the technique, mainly because I hadn't decided on anything else yet! In the future, I will probably reserve collagraph for a higher grade because of the difficulty in inking a plate that is not flat.
I had many of the same materials from the Recycled Art Challenge 2nd and 3rd grade students participated in available for 1st graders. Pretty much any flat-ish material that you can cut and glue will work. Here are some materials we used:
- paper scraps
- paperboard saved from cereal boxes
- bubble wrap
- corrugated paper (I found a whole roll from an old bulletin board kit)
Other necessary materials are scissors, bottled glue, printing paper, block printing ink, brayers, and trays for ink.
We cut the materials into shapes, arranged onto a board (we used a dense fiberboard but you could use cardboard instead), and glued in place. This is not a time to skimp on glue! Elmer's glue held most things in place just fine, but the bubble wrap sometimes peeled off when the brayer went over it. I'm not sure, but it's possible another kind of glue may have worked better.
In the 2nd class when the glue was dry, we inked the plates and pulled 2 prints. I don't have enough brayers for each student so I put one tray (we use cookie sheets) of ink and one brayer in the middle of each table. Students at each table took turns printing and helped remind each other of the steps.
The first print was done on 50# drawing paper and the second print was on copy paper. I ordered a case of brightly colored copy paper just for printmaking.
I've found the easiest way to glue yarn onto a surface is to draw the design with bottled glue before tapping the yarn into place.
I don't know about you, but I'm always scanning recycling bins. Sometimes I grab the negatives from die cut shapes and letters. The scraps yielded some of the sharpest images in the prints.
I think I will try to spend some more time playing with collagraph printing this summer.