Chine Colle Etching

Architectural Reflections: 30 St Mary’s Axe

Chine Colle etching using pigmented gampi papers

Chine colle is a process that introduces color and texture into an etching without having to prepare and print additional plates. Any number of lightweight papers can be successfully used for chine colle, but good quality, natural-fiber papers with some degree of lightfastness are most compatible with general etching papers, which are also used in chine colle.

The papers are cut or torn into desired shapes, then dampened between blotters until uniformly moist. A printing paper used for the etching is then blotted to remove excess water. The chine colle papers are then brushed with a coating of wheat paste on one side and placed on top of the inked plate in their desired locations, paste side up.

The chine colle papers adhere to the plate enough to remain undisturbed when the dampened printing paper is placed on top. The pressure from the bed laminates both the chine colle paper and the etching paper. The ink from the plate prints on top of the chine colle papers, creating some interesting and unusual effects with lines, tones, and values.