The Collograph Process

A collograph is a print that is made by making a collage of different textures and materials. This process is an intaglio printmaking technique in which the ink is held by the different contours and edges of the materials on the plate. This is an inexpensive printmaking technique that you can produce with exciting and interesting results with emphasis on texture and colour.

Elephant printmaking collagraph process

You can start to create a collograph by first using a piece of mount board. Cut this to the desired size and glue and stick various papers, such as wallpaper, different tapes like parcel and masking tape on to the  mount board. Some shiny tapes allow for ink to be easily wiped away creating lighter and paler areas on the finished print.

Even sand paper can be added to a collograph or a substance called carborundum. This is very fine metal filings that can be stuck to the mount board using PVA glue. Once inked up this will give dark tonal areas to the print.


By sticking different paper and tapes onto the board in a layering method interesting and exciting marks can be achieved once the plate is printed. It is also possible to draw into the surface with pens and pencils and scalpel blades can cut into the surface creating an intaglio effect. Any deep marks cut into the plate will hold more ink thus printing darker areas.

Once the plate is finished and the desired image is ready it must now be protected with a varnish. This is done by painting Shellac on to the plate. Usually two to three layers secures the plate for printing.

Inking up a collograph is similar to inking up an etching plate, although the ink needs to be worked well into all the creases and crevices of the surface. It is possible to use a roller on the plate first to get an even covering before working the ink into the detail.


In order to print a collograph the printing paper must first be soaked in water and then blotted. Damp paper gets the best results.