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You will need:

  • thick card (for the back of the collagraph – this should be sturdy enough to have collage materials stuck onto it)
  • a range of collage materials with different textures such as corrugated cardboard, smooth cardboard, bubble wrap, woven or textured fabric scraps such as hessian or lace (anything with an interesting texture!)
  • relief printing ink (or thick paint) an ink roller and a paint tray (or piece of foil to roll out the ink on)
  • glue stick or PVA glue
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • paper for printing on such as sugar paper or cartridge paper
  • a photograph of a townscape (optional)


Step 1: Plan your townscape

Draw a townscape using only simple 2D shapes (such as triangles, squares, rectangles and circles).

You could draw a simple townscape from your imagination.

A city in simple shapes

A city in simple shapes

Or it might help to use a photograph. (There are lots of townscape photographs that can be freely downloaded from websites such as Pixaby.) Select a section of the photograph that you find interesting and draw the shapes that you see

Glasgow City Rooftops

Glasgow City Rooftops

Step 2: Cut out shapes from collage materials

Using your drawing as a guide, cut out the shapes for your townscape from collage materials.

  • The shapes could be cut from a mix of flat card and textured materials.
  • Think about what texture you could use to suggest a tiled roof or the rough walls of a building.
  • Mix up your textures by putting smooth materials next to bumpy materials next to roughly textured materials.

Step 3: Glue and stick your shapes

Glue the back of the shapes and stick them onto the thick backing card to create a collaged relief. (You may need to wait for the glue to set before printing from it.)

Collagraph plate made from cardboard and textured collage materials

Collagraph plate made from cardboard and textured collage materials

Top tip! If you want to make lots of prints from your collagraph relief, brush a thin layer of waterproof PVA glue over your collage relief. This will help it to last longer.

Step 4: Ink and roll!

Roll out the printing ink onto a paint tray. If you don't have a tray, wrap kitchen foil around an old book to create a smooth surface for rolling out your ink.

  • You may need to roll your roller back and forward a few times. The ink should be thin and flat and not gloopy.
  • Then roll the ink over your collaged townscape. 

Step 5: Make your print

Place a piece of paper over the inked surface.

  • To press the paper down and ensure the ink is transferred, roll a clean roller across the back of the paper a few times. If you don't have a second roller, use a rolling pin or empty bottle to roll on the back of the paper instead, or gently rub the back of the paper with the back of a spoon.
  • Remove the inked paper and leave it to dry. Your print will be a mirror image of your collagraph design.

Collagraph of a townscape

Collagraph of a townscape

Variations and development ideas

Print onto a collaged background

To make a colourful collagraph, instead of printing onto plain paper, create a collaged background from scrap paper. (I have used scraps of tissue left over from other craft projects to make this background.)

Paper collage background

Paper collage background

Then follow the printing steps above to ink and print your textured relief collage onto your collaged paper.

Collagraph printed onto a collaged background

Collagraph printed onto a collaged background

Make a collagraph rubbing

Don't have printing ink or a roller (or you'd rather try a less messy activity)? Instead of printing from your textured collage, make a rubbing from it using crayons. Place a sheet of paper on top of your textured relief and gently scribble across the paper with a wax crayon.

The textures of your collage townscape will emerge through the paper. 

Collagraph rubbing of a townscape

Collagraph rubbing of a townscape

Be inspired by...

Explore collagraphs on Art UK and get ideas for your next project!

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