A collage is a work of art made from a variety of materials such as paper, newspaper, photographs, fabric, and other objects that you find. Many modern collages are made by placing electronic images on a digital background. You could also collect cut-out images and texts to stick on the paper. For a more unique approach, repurpose items like sand, shells, and plants by gluing them to paper. Only your imagination puts a limit on collages, so work with all kinds of materials to create a fantastic work of art.
Method 1 of 3: Design a Paper Collage
Step 1. Come up with a central design or theme for the collage
A collage can be anything you want. Paper will give you many different options, so you just need to choose something that will boost your creativity. Maybe you want to collect photos of your favorite actor or form a message with words cut from magazines. You could also put old photos together to make a collage of your family.
- There are no limits to what you can do. For example, you could cut small pieces of paper and arrange them to form a larger image.
- One option is to get an image that you really like and design the rest of the collage around it.
Step 2. Gather photos and other images to make the collage
There are a number of affordable and accessible sources that you can use to get images. Take a look at old magazines, newspapers, and even picture books to find something that inspires you. Put your favorite images in a shoe box until you are ready to use them.
- Look in magazines and newspapers for clippings. Newsprint gives a collage a unique texture, but ink may run on your fingers from time to time.
- Use photos to give a retro look, but be careful what you wear. Make copies of your favorite photos to cut them instead of using the originals.
- For a unique option, look for wallpaper scraps. You can usually get free samples at home improvement stores and other places that sell wallpaper.
Step 3. Choose a sturdy paper as the base for the collage
Choose something thick to serve as a background for your collage. Thick paper is less likely to come apart after adding glue. Use a white background to avoid color contrasts with the images you want to use.
- Some background materials to consider include cardstock and canvas. Anything that is thick and flat will hold up well. You could even use something like a photo frame.
- Skip glossy paper like watercolor paper. The material is more expensive and does not hold glue well.
Step 4. Cut the images to fit the collage
How you cut the images will affect their appearance in the collage. Generally, you will crop the entire image without leaving space around it. Some images have borders that you can save to add effects. You could also cut an image in a unique way to highlight certain parts of it.
For example, you could cut a hole in a photo to expose the paper or other image underneath
Step 5. Place images on the paper without gluing them
Try to place the main image in the center, then fill the rest of the paper with another material. Put more images around each figure you add to expand your chosen theme. Plan the final design, as you will not be able to remove the images once you paste them!
Wait until you are satisfied with the design before you start pasting the images onto the page. This will also give you additional time to find new materials in case you change your mind
Step 6. Add embellishments like bows to make the collage more colorful
While embellishments are not essential, you can add lots of unique items to the collage if you wish. Feathers, bows, and fabric are some items you could use. Arrange them around the images, matching the collage theme or using them as additional embellishments.
- Look for items around your house or check out a nearby craft store. You will find many interesting items to include in your collage!
- You could draw an animal on the sheet and fill it with paper or stamps. Another option is to create a mosaic with small paper cutouts.
Step 7. Glue material to the paper with white glue
Start at the bottom and work your way forward. Apply a little commercial glue or glue to the back of each image as you press it onto the paper. This type of glue is not visible on the collage as long as you use it in small amounts. For heavier ornaments, you may need to use craft glue to glue them to the paper.
- Switch to thick craft glue to secure ornaments like heavy bowls and buttons. Buy some bottles of glue or rubber cement at your local craft store.
- Remember that you don't have to glue all the pieces flat. You can crease or fold the ornaments to give your collage more flair.
Step 8. Let the collage dry overnight to allow the glue to set
The collage will likely contain several layers of glue, so it will take a long time to dry. Come back the next day and check your work. If the paper is dry and the embellishments remain in place, the collage is ready for display.
- For a small collage, an hour is usually sufficient as the drying time. If you think the glue still looks wet, give it more time to dry to be safe.
- If you've made a large collage, point a fan at it. Air on the low setting can cause the glue to dry a little faster.
Method 2 of 3: Create a Digital Collage
Step 1. Choose a central theme for the collage
Photo collages are usually fun and memorable. You could choose a topic like your family, your pets, a trip you have taken or something that you like. Many photo collages come from personal experiences using photos taken, but you don't have to make yours that way. You could do something cool using random images that you find on the internet.
For example, you could make a collage of photos about puppies. Everyone loves looking at pictures of puppies. All you have to do is find photos that you like and paste them
Step 2. Choose an easy-to-use photo editing program, like Word
Edit and combine photos using one of the different editing programs available. For best results, use a basic program like Word if you are making the collage on your computer. You could also upload photos to websites like Canva or Shutterfly. There are also apps that you can download to your phone as a quick way to make your own collage.
You could work with a photo editing program like Photoshop if you have it and know how to use it
Step 3. Gather photos and images to use in your collage
Search the internet for cool things to put in your collage. You could also review old photos, fabric swatches, magazine clippings, or other items that you would normally use in a paper collage. Use the collected objects as a source of inspiration for your art.
- Go to your favorite social network to find posts that you could save for your project. Also, look for photos of subjects that you like, whether they are cupcakes, video games, cars or something else that inspires you.
- Save the images from the internet by right clicking on them and selecting the option "Save as …".
Step 4. Choose 5 to 7 images to develop a collage theme
If you don't have a theme assigned, think about what you want your finished collage to show. Maybe you have a specific idea, image, or pattern that inspires you. Work around it to give your collage some meaning. Look for images that share colors, shapes, or patterns to make your collage coherent as a whole.
- You can use more photos, but adding too many could make the collage feel overloaded. If you use too few, it could feel empty.
- For example, you could choose a series of photos from a recent trip. Choose photos that show your trip, what you've seen, and the people who live there.
Step 5. Modify the images using tools for shapes and coloring
Search for the images on your computer. Right-click on them or drag them into an editing program to open them. The photos will likely take a bit of work to blend well. When you open them, you will see options to change the size and color until you are happy with their appearance.
- For example, use the resize and crop tools to size the image properly.
- Change the colors of the images to make the collage unique. For example, make photos appear faded and gray to contrast with bright text or images.
Step 6. Change the resolution of all images to match
All images will look different due to differences in resolution. To change the resolution, click the file option in your editor's taskbar. In Word, the resolution option is under "Advanced" and "Image size and quality." This will change the resolution of any image you select.
- Low resolution images tend to look blurry, but this depends on the size of the image and where you plan to display it.
- If you plan to publish your collage on the internet, you can set the images to a resolution of 72 pixels per inch (dpi). If you plan to print it, set the resolution to 300 dpi.
Step 7. Include text and other functions if you want to personalize your collage
This part is optional, but if you have time for additional design work, experiment with the editor. Clicking the "Insert" button in Word allows you to add text boxes, picture borders, background colors, and other design elements. Combine these new features with images to create a memorable collage.
For example, add a title to your collage. You could let the images speak for themselves, but the title could add a nice touch. You could add a caption to a travel collage to let people see where you've gone and when you've taken the photos
Step 8. Save the collage to publish or print it
Click the save button frequently to keep your hard work safe, in case your computer crashes! When finished editing, proudly display your collage if you wish. Go to websites (such as social media) and post your work for others to see. Otherwise, print it using the print function in the editor to display it at home.
The print paper you choose will affect the final appearance of the collage. Choose a very shiny one to give it a shimmering look. Use matte-type paper to give it a less colorful and opaque appearance
Method 3 of 3: Use Natural Materials in a Collage
Step 1. Choose a nature theme for your collage
You are going to use materials like plants for this collage, so you can make it with a nature theme. You could design a landscape or seascape by adding different things you find, from sand to shells and leaves. This is the easiest way to include things you find in a collage, but it doesn't limit your creativity.
You don't even need to have a theme if you don't want one. You can put cool things on a page. However, most collages have themes that make them look more complete
Step 2. Choose cardstock or other solid paper as a base
The base paper, the background of the collage, has to be resistant to withstand the sand that you add. Pick something thick and sturdy from a craft store. Card stock is one of the materials that you could choose.
Plain printing paper is not a good choice if you plan on gluing heavy objects. If it feels thin, it will be too weak for your collage
Step 3. Make a design on the paper using a pencil
Draw the scene you want to create with your collage. In particular, trace any area that you plan to cover with objects that you find. This will help you position them until you are ready to stick them later.
- For example, if you are drawing a seascape, sketch the sand bed at the bottom of the page. Then draw the area where you plan to make the fish or add details like shells.
- Simpler designs are better for young children. If you don't have a specific design in mind, let them have fun drawing whatever they want.
Step 4. Find shells and other items to add to your collage
Sand is a great touch, but you don't have to use just that. Customize your collage with all kinds of items. Shells and plants are some of the elements that you can find to make your art more unique. Match the material to the theme of the collage to make it stand out.
- Some examples of items to include are seashells, insect shells, flowers, leaves, and seeds.
- You can buy many of these items at craft supply stores, but take a look around your neighborhood. You might find something unique that will put a special spin on your collage.
Step 5. Dry your items with paper towels or heat before use
If these are not dry, they could rot or build up mold. Preserve your collage by drying everything with a paper towel, then bake items like flowers, which would normally go bad. For example, place the plants on a paper towel and microwave them for 1 to 5 minutes. Another option is to place them on a drying rack in an oven set at a temperature of 66 ° C (150 ° F) and keep them there for about 2 hours.
- Pressing is another way to preserve plants. Keep them squashed between a piece of paper and a heavy book for a minimum of 7 days.
- Objects such as shells and rocks do not need to be dried with heat, as they do not rot. However, you can wash the shells by boiling them in water for about 5 minutes and soaking them for a week in cold, clean water.
Step 6. Apply craft glue or PVC to the traced area
Choose a clean glue brush and a bottle of your favorite craft glue. For loose materials like sand, add glue in an even layer on the page. You can also add a little glue directly to larger items like shells and plants.
- If you're making something big and complicated, do it in small sections to prevent the glue from drying out before adding the decorations.
- Common and simple glue sticks are usually too weak to hold the objects you come across.
Step 7. Sprinkle sand on the collage if you are going to use it
Open a bag of craft sand and start pouring it onto the paper to give your collage some flair. Use your hands or a small cardboard cup to spread it out. This will stick to any point that you have glued on. When finished, flip the paper over to remove any excess.
This part can get a bit messy, so leave a cardboard plate under the collage to collect the sand. Try to add small amounts of sand at a time to avoid using too much
Step 8. Secure the remaining objects in place to complete the collage
To easily glue solid objects (like shells) to your project, use a hot glue gun. Apply a little glue to the object, then quickly press it onto the paper before it dries. You could also use the same PVC or craft glue that you used if you customized the background. Remember to keep the collage embellishments pressed in place for at least a minute to stick together.
Wood glue is great for preserving plants used in collages. Apply it to the plant to create a type of "frosting" that will keep it fresh and shiny for years
Step 9. Let the glue dry overnight before touching the collage
Leave the collage in an open area on a counter. Wait for it to feel dry to the touch before moving it. When it's ready, display it or take photos of it to show your work!
- Make your collage just the way you want it to be. There are no rules, so experiment with different techniques and materials.
- If the materials in the collage do not stick even after gluing, apply a diluted glue mixture. Combine about 3 parts water with 1 part PVA glue on the finished collage to seal it.
- Choose the glue based on the paper you use as the background. Super glue, tacky glue, and hot glue are usually not very good for paper collages.