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Create a Collagraph

Create a Collagraph Activity

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Print-making is thought to have originated in China after the invention of paper in the 2nd century AD. This activity features a special kind of print-making called collagraphy, where flat materials are layered and glued onto a base, then painted and used to create a final finished print. Using this ancient art is a great way to teach your child about history and challenge her creativity at the same time.

What You Need:

  • Pencil
  • Sketch paper
  • Cardboard
  • Various textured materials such as burlap, sandpaper, string, or fabric
  • Craft glue
  • Scissors
  • Tempera paint
  • White paper
  • Black fine point marker

What You Do:

  1. Before you get started, go online with your child and look at collagraphs by Barbara Garrison, whose works have graced the pages of children’s books such as The Frog House. Note how the different textures she uses affects the look of the finished picture.
  2. Have your child think about how she wants her finished print to look, and encourage her to make a few sketches.
  3. Next, have her use scissors to begin cutting shapes out of the materials, using the sketch as a guide.
  4. Now she can layer the materials onto the cardboard base, securing them with craft glue. Remind her to think about how the different textures and shapes will look after they've been printed.
  5. Set the collagraph aside, and let it dry for two or three hours.
  6. Once it's dry, it's time to start printing! Have your child paint over the collagraph with tempera paints. She can use as many colors as she wants, using different colors for different parts of the painting.
  7. Have her press the painted collagraph onto a sheet of paper to create her print. She can paint and print her collagraph as many times as she likes!
  8. Set the prints aside to dry.
  9. When dry, she can use a fine point marker and add details to finish the artwork.
  10. Let her pick the perfect spot to display her finished print.

Encourage her to keep experimenting and making new collagraphs. The possibilities are endless with the variety of available fabrics and textures. Sometimes changing one texture can give the print a completely different feel!

Sarah Lipoff has a K-12 Art Education degree and enjoys working with kids of all ages.

Updated on Jul 19, 2010
See more activities in: Middle School, Fabric Projects
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