Project 14 – Combination printmaking and chine collé

Research point

I looked for some examples of good use of chine collé in printmaking.

I started out looking through the printmakers council website, but with little success, although Sarah Garvey’s print ‘TANGLED UP IN BLUE’ monoprint and chine colle’ which I had looked at before did stand out again.

Looking further I found the following print from ‘DawnR@6’ (real name unknown) which makes good use of chine collé:

Then I came across Cybèle Young who does some very interesting work. These two prints in particular worked well for me due to their simplicity:

Then some work of Nicki Dennett whose website doesn’t allow links to individual images, but a number of the prints in this gallery use chine collé:

And finally another artist Liz Toole who uses simple single colour chine collé to good effect:


As with some of the prints looked at in the research, I thought I would try adding colour to an existing print. So I started with my small single colour linocut of a man at Kilnsey Show from project 6:

Man print

I cut tissue paper in blue for the sky and green for the grass, inked up the block and added the tissue paper, pasted it and printed. Result = tissue paper very well stuck to the lino block! That was with diluted PVA, so I tried again with the cornflour paste. Same result! I’m guessing the problem was that I was applying it to too dense an area of ink and the stickiness of the ink was stronger than the glue.

The only other option I could see was to add the tissue paper to an un-inked block, print, then print over with the ink.

I tried this with some success:


'Kilnsey Show'

‘Kilnsey Show’

This worked on the thicker paper, but gluing the tissue paper to the very thin Hosho paper distorted the paper too much.

At the same time as trying the failed attempt of the above print, I tried the opposite – applying the tissue paper to an area which wasn’t inked at all. My idea for the design of this print came from a quote from an anonymous poem by the Mapuche tribe in Chile – “in this soil dwell the stars”. I sketched out a triptych, initially having the words on the first and last blocks. Then drew in shooting stars in the sky area, rounding them off as they looked odd, then gradually changing them into seeds which looked better and fitted in well with the phrase.

The idea for the first block was to cut out the words, use a stencil to ink up the bottom half in brown, then add tissue paper and metal leaf and print. Result = tissue paper not stuck down. My start in chine collé was not going well!


So, I came to the conclusion that (as detailed in the course notes), there needed to be a background colour to give the tissue paper something to adhere to. Then the print over the top of the tissue paper needed to have something there, but not too dense an area of ink (as was the case with the last stage of the reduction cut lino used in the course notes example). So I modified the design of my block and tried again.

First I printed a light grey background using the uncut block. Then I tried two methods:

1) Adding the tissue paper to an un-inked block, pressing onto the paper, letting it dry, then overprinting


This one worked OK


A full covering of tissue paper also worked, although maybe it should have gone wider to provide a border?


In this one the line between the tissue paper and the printed area doesn’t line up very well. Maybe best to leave an overlap?


Adding metal leaf was a disaster! It took me three attempts to get the metal leaf to stick to the paper in the first place as it was so fragile and hard to place. In the end, the only way I could get it onto the paper was to stick a larger area of leaf to the paper first (you can see this under the tissue paper), then add the tissue paper surround afterwards.

When I came to print it though, the ink pulled the metal leaf from the paper. Arghh!!

2) Inking up the cut block, laying over the tissue paper and printing


This worked better than the same design glued to the paper first as it lines up better and having much less ink on the tissue paper meant that it stuck to the paper and not to the block this time.

More experiments with metal leaf

I tried out some different types of glue with metal leaf, figuring that as it was almost impossible to cut and place it accurately, I would draw the shape on the paper, paste the paper and stick the metal leaf to it.







The size gave the best and flattest adhesion to the paper, but it did colour the paper which was then visible in the areas where the metal leaf did not stick – a second coat and re-application of metal leaf might solve this though? PVA was the best at giving a more even coverage.

The final results – not quite as much of a disaster as before, but not a success either:

Nori print

Nori print

PVA print

PVA print

Size print

Size print

Well I tried, but I think I will leave my experiments with metal leaf there!

Final prints (without metal leaf!):



Final? Well it works, but it has become rather boring now. Thinking back to the research and how some of the artists had used roughly cut shapes to add splashes of colour, I decided that adding colour to the seeds might work better and had one last go:

'In this soil'

‘In this soil’

I also tried a couple of other prints using chine collé. First of all I cut a lino block of a close up (imagined) map which I planned to print on top of a wider map view from a road atlas. The second block was an outline of corn which I planned to print in front of a rainbow rolled sunset with tissue paper sun:


For the map print:


After printing the first of these, I realised that I should have left a border around the edge, so I tried to get ink into the cut areas to give a better block feel:

'Inset map'

‘Inset map’

And for the corn print:

'Cornfield sunset'

‘Cornfield sunset’


I also thought I’d try some different corn prints using an orange background and yellow / pinkish red tissue paper on top:


There is obviously plenty of room to play around with this printmaking method, but I must move on to the final project before my 2 year deadline runs out!

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