Colorful Collograph

Lesson Plan, Grades 6-12, Art, Math, Sax, Printmaking


Lesson Plan and Artwork by Ed Leary

This lesson plan will explore the composition of an image, (in this case, triangles, ie. sailboat, sails and sun), that when built up into several layers to form a printing plate and when printed an embossed design emerges. Watercolors or colored inks are added to enhance the design and the result are a colorful collograph.


  • Students will learn the technique to develop/create a collagraph.

Supplies Needed

Sax® True Flow Gloss Medium, Gloss, 1 Quart Bottle
Sax® Illustration Board, Cold Press, 14 ply, 15" x 20", Pack of 10 (Use for support board and for collagraph image)
Sax® Liquid Watercolors, Brilliant Colors, Set of 8
Sax® Europa Watercolor Paper, Cold Press, 140 lb., 22" x 30", Pack of 10 Fluorescent Tempera Cakes, 6 Assorted Colors
School Smart® Scissors, Straight Cut, 8"
School Smart® White Glue, Pack of 12, 8 oz.
Rubbing Stick, Dual Tipped
Spray Bottle, 32 oz. each, Set of 6
Sax® Filbert Golden Taklon Artists Brush Set, Set of 4: 2, 4, 6 and 10 sizes
*Here are the supplies needed for this lesson plan for reference. Find a convenient carousel of shoppable products for this lesson below.


Standard #1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
Standard #2: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
Standard #4: Analyze, interpret, and select artistic work for presentation.
Standard #7: Perceive and analyze artistic work.
Standard #10: Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make art.



Share with students various "singular" shapes from our surroundings that lend themselves to embossing for a collagaph, e.g., triangles, i.e., sails; circles, i.e., clouds; squares, i.e., buildings and other basic, natural shapes.


Cut various pieces from illustration board.


Arrange the intended design onto the support board.


Adhere with white glue and seal the support board with gloss medium.


Cut to size and soak the watercolor paper for at least 15-20 minutes. This is to make the paper open to properly emboss.


Damp dry the paper between blotters/couch sheets.


Place the watercolor paper over over the collograph image, press and hold while applying pressure with rubbing stick. Spritz with water to retain moisture if needed. Always use a sizing catcher (white drawing paper) to prevent tearing of the watercolor paper.


Remove collagraph and let dry.


Choose liquid watercolors or colored inks to enhance final print.


Curate print in pencil: Title and edition, lower left and name, date lower right.