Printmaking for Collage

When I started making collage more than 25 years ago, I liked to use cut-outs from magazines.

I never had enough papers with the right images and it took a really long time to collect the papers I wanted.

I always needed more papers. So I added handmade and decorated imported papers to the magazine cut-out papers.

Handmade papers can be very expensive. I didn’t want to use junk papers. I love saturated color and texture and pattern, and that usually costs more.

I started to paint magazine papers with acrylic paints. The bigger and fatter the magazine, the better. Heavy body acrylics are the kind I like. I also work with “open” acrylic paints  because they stay wet longer.

Recently I created printed papers for collage and used the open acrylics. It was an experiment. It didn’t work.

Open acrylics work so well for painted papers, but I don’t like the way the paints transfer image and color when it’s a print. It’s not as rich as printmaking with oil and water-based inks. The acrylic colors are flat and dull when the paint is transferred to the paper.

Exploring Printmaking with Intaglio Inks and Oil Paints

I tried printmaking with Akua intaglio inks. I like the way the inks transfer pattern and color. I love the mellow surface.

The image below is a sample of the papers created with the Akua Intaglio inks. I will use these papers for collage.

printed papers made with Akua intaglio inks

I was able to get transparencies and also texture.

Read more about how to work with the Akua intaglio inks.

Oil Paints for a Collagraph Print Collage

The image below is a sample of the papers I created with oil paints. This was a lot of fun. I used a palette knife to apply oil paint directly onto brown supermarket bags cut into small pieces. I laid the painted papers face up onto a Plexiglas plate and placed a dry piece of printmaking paper on top and ran the print through the press.

What you see below is not the print. These are the papers that were inked with oil paint and used to make the print.

printed papers made with oil paint

I said the printmaking process was “collagraph.”  In this process, I ink the papers with oil paint and place them onto the print plate and transfer the paint from the loose papers.

Typically, when you make a collagraph, you build up the surface of the plate with texture by brushing on acrylic mediums, or gluing down textured papers, silk fabric, or even painting with glue. After the media is dry, you ink and wipe the plate, place the printmaking paper on top and run it through the press.

The Print Parts Became a Whole Collage

I didn ‘t like my collagraph at all. The painted papers  didn’t transfer the the paint the way I wanted them to, probably because the painted papers were in two layers. The transferred image was too light.

But, I loved the way the papers looked, and decided to use them for collage.

I had to let them dry for 2 days.

I made 3 collages. See them below. 2 are glued to wood panels that are about 1 inch thick. One is glued to paper.

I will donate these to the Silvermine Arts Center for their benefit Signed Sealed & Delivered on Sunday, October 28, 2012. At Signed Sealed & Delivered, all of the works are 4×6 inches. Some of the works are 3D. All are for sale.

Read more about the benefit event at Silvermine Arts Center. See how the works are installed for the public to view and select. The works are by Silvermine Guild artists, faculty and well-known friends. The event will benefit Silvermine’s public programs.

The images below looks layered. Actually, the semi-transparent areas are where I removed a layer of paper.

collage, oil painted papers on paper, 4×6 inches

The image above is collage on paper.

The image below is collage on wood panel. Notice the strip of paper that looks orange and blue located near the bottom. That is actually the reverse side of the painted paper. It’s the supermarket bag side. I like the texture and mottled effect.

collage, oil paint papers on wood panel, 4×6 inches
collage, oil paint papers on wood panel, 4×6 inches

Paper is a huge category. Handmade papers can be very expensive.

There are many choices for paper collage that are not too expensive. You can use construction paper, sandpaper, copier paper, tissue paper, wrapping paper, wallpaper, paper bags, junk mail, papers you collect (letters, postcards, receipts), photographs, and more.

You can use books and book covers.

Don’t throw anything away!

I often recycle papers, and use my own drawings, paintings and prints. Best, for me, is to create my own papers for collage.

7 thoughts on “Printmaking for Collage

    1. Hi Ruth, Make sure there’s not too much oil in the paints, and that the paint isn’t too thick. Or it will take forever to dry.

    1. The goal for the printmaking project was to see what inks or paints worked best. I believe nothing in art-making is ever a waste of time. The prints can become papers for collage or can stay as prints. Whatever works.

  1. What kind of glue or adhesive do you use for glueing oil-base inked papers? I have oil-base ink monotypes that I want to collage, but I cannot adhere them together successfully when they have a lot of ink on them.

    1. I have successfully glued oil-based ink printed papers (monotypes) when the ink is totally dried. It works even on papers where the ink saturated through to the back of the print papers. But the paper was bone dry. If the paper is heavy and thick, I use a heavy white PVA glue like Elmers carpenters glue that dries clear.

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