Friday, February 23, 2024

Mather Printmaking-Week 2: CREATE Sticky foam prints called Collagraphs

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Number 2 in a series of Mather Printmaking Kits for Illinois for Seniors.


Collagraphs, this was pretty straight forward and simple. We were given a 4"x6" piece of sticky kids' craft foam. This technique is perfect for kids or short runs of prints. This is a learning project, not necessarily creating GREAT ART...LOL. 

Sketchbook paper
1 sticky foam sheet (adhesive on the back)
Marker or pencil to make your design on the back before cutting.
Acrylic paint
Tinfoil surface for paint
extender/blending medium
brayer (rolling surface to ink)
piece of cardboard or plastic to stick your foam design on
washable work surfaces

I was a bit late in getting organized and I skipped drawing the pattern on the backside of the sticky foam...and just began cutting. I had in my mind a sort of Paisley idea.
The idea was to make something fairly simple that you could print multiple images of, ie. for wallpaper or fabric, or just to make a larger print.


And, I didn't take photos of my pieces gluing on the cardboard. Simply cutout your shapes and then protective layer strip off the back and glue the pieces  on your cardboard or plastic surface to make your printing plate. This can be as simple or as complicated as you want. You can cut up your plate and make smaller independent images. 

Many people did this to make flowers, hands, hearts, images for multiple colors.
My first print was this blue on the small piece of sketchbook paper. Paper that is heavier with a smooth surface takes the acrylic paint prints well.


Like last week the paint was quickly drying. I had tried to emboss textures on the surface of my foam...but it only showed up as a hint, and the crevices immediately filled with paint. No biggie.

Cleaning off the plate with wet paper towel, I printed another blue one.


I then did 4 images on a yellow piece of  yellow card stock sized 8 1/2" x 11". I did have trouble with the surface of the card stock getting stuck to the quick drying paint. Adding blending medium to my paint to slow the drying process helped and I had no more sticking. I think I will just automatically start adding gel to my inks and paints for better results.


The red prints. My first red print I did was full strength red acrylic paint that was included with the kit. It was very dark and heavy looking on the white paper.

Pure red paint on my second layer.

 Knowing that the blending gel would make the red more transparent, I added almost a glob of maybe 30-40% as much gel as paint. Mixing well, I made four print new impressions off center of my blue images on the yellow card stock. 


I also reversed the up/down of each blue print to make it more interesting and then off set the red images a little to the left and down.


I found my imagination really cranking.


I could see alternating the vertical images with the  horizontals images in long stripes on fabric. Maybe with different top colors...this could be fun! 


Here I have repeated my images...done on the computer...but you can see the possibilities for printing Fabrics or Paper items. These were just screenshot photos, but scanned images would be even better.


The Collagraph Technique is simple and inexpensive...definitely something to try again.


Mather has a facebook page where we get to share all our experiences, good and bad, but it is a great 


Something I tried on my own this week was a found tool---to make my prints more consistent. Pressing on the back of the paper with your fingers to get your prints is pretty uneven and tools tend to tear up the dampened paper.  Desiring better prints, I pulled this little metal pitcher out of my kitchen drawer. It has a rounded bottom and clean flat surface to rub on the back of my damp paper. Any object with smooth edges and a flat surface would help to rub prints.



Getting ready to press a print.

Short mini-video showing how a found objects-
 pressing makes prints! 

Hope you enjoyed this simple project...have fun...


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