This months blog post shines a light on a little group of friends who meet up regularly to experiment with printmaking techniques together. Inspired by the recent post about embossing and chine colleé they picked up the idea and ran with it.

It is easy to get into a habit with your creative work without noticing; this account has made me realise that I tend to grab the bendy wire when I am going to do some embossing. Not any more – its definitely time to bring out the glue gun, and also dust off the lino tools I think!

A big thankyou to Kate, Maureen and Gill for sending in photos and giving us a window on your printmaking and cake habits.

Printmaking friends

I thought you would like to know how much your Curious Printmaker blog is being enjoyed by a group of my friends.

There is a set of four of us who overlap in various ways (classes, art groups etc) and once we realised how much we enjoy each other’s company, we started meeting up in our houses with the common thread being a love of printmaking and experimenting.

hands with embossed chine collee prints

Cake helps to focus

As you can imagine, our chatting and catchup coffee/cake/lunch times can sometimes run over run a bit and we try to have a focus for the day, just to loosely keep on track! As I am the one with an etching press, when we meet at mine, we try to make the most of it.

Three of us also attend a weekly college course with a much bigger press available, but it is not adjustable by the students, so we enjoy having things more under our immediate control at mine.

embossed collagraph with chine collee
chine collee with embossed wire

Preparation for a printmaking session

The Curious Printmaker blog has proved a useful discussion / starting point on more than one occasion. We can have a pre agreed focus, read around it (if our busy retired lives permit) and collect materials etc beforehand.

Chine colleé ready to go

When we last met at mine, we were a group of three, and Maureen and Gill came all prepared having been very enthused by the recent chine colleé and embossing post. They had really read it closely, and prepared some of their own papers, using wet strength tissue and bringing them pre-glued, but dry, ready to be reactivated by the dampness of the paper.

 The images above show two prints from the session; one embossed from a collagraph plate with chine colleé, and a print made with wire and chine colleé.

hot melt glue shapes on backing paper
Hot melt glue shapes removed from backing paper

Hot glue shapes for embossing

They also brought some hot glue shapes and stencils. Maureen introduced us all to these a while ago, as she had watched the very informative YouTube video  hot glue masks for printing by Gaye Nieuwenhof    


There is plenty of information on line, but in a nutshell you use a glue gun with glue sticks to create shapes on a base of silicone or baking parchment. This means you can lift the shapes off when the glue is dry and use them for embossing and other printmaking adventures. The shapes have a distinctive quality, you often don’t have total control of the process so the line can be flowing and organic, blobby, fat, thin or very fine. It is a bit like tar gel but much thicker!

debased lino print
debossed lino print showing texture of cut marks

Once I saw how successful the hot glue shapes were, I got out some shaped pieces of lino, and we primarily used these two things to emboss/deboss. I think you can see from our ‘hands on’ pictures that the end results are just so tactile, we couldn’t resist touching them!

(De-bossing is like the reverse of em-bossing. For our purposes here just turn the embossed print over and look at the back!)

Experiment with printmaking papers

The great thing for me personally is being able to see ideas unfold, even when I am busy ‘facilitating’, so the next day I was able to start right in with more successful embossing than I have achieved in the past. I also tested a variety of papers – from cheap and cheerful Seawhite 220g to Seawhite 350 watercolour, as well as Somerset 300g, Fabriano rosapino, and Khadi, all giving very good results.

close up of embossed lino cut
embossed lino with chine collee

Embossing from lino cuts

I think there is a lot of possibility using lino, as it gives such a crisp emboss / deboss and is very sculptural. Personally, I am still working on embracing chine colle, so my focus was on the embossing. These experiments have inspired me to do some large embossing and folding, to create 3d sculptures.

More potential for printmaking with Glue Gun shapes

I’ll also have a go at making more successful glue shapes, having seen Maureen’s examples. For this technique they need to be more 3D/with blobby bits to really add to the effect.

embossed glue with chine collee
plates made with hot glue

Keep on printmaking

We meet to share our own ideas / supplies / interests, and very much enjoy the times when we use your blog as a prompt to spark our enthusiasm… then off we go in our own individual ways! Thank you.

Thanks for sharing

It is great to hear from people who develop ideas from the blog. and I love imagining happy groups and individuals experimenting and adapting their own materials and techniques after reading a blog post.

If you, or your group, have photos of anything new you have been inspired to do by a blog post please do get in touch with me, we may be able to share your work too.

If you would like to see more of Kates prints have a look on Instagram @katespapers.