How to Make a Collage

Child painting a picture with his mother.

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The word collage comes from the French word coller which means "to glue." A collage is made by gluing items onto a base. You can use a variety of flat items such as magazine pictures, fabric, photographs, and junk mail. The base used is usually paper or canvas. Collage is usually more of a two-dimensional art form. Once you start adding more dimensional items to your collage, you are dabbling with sculpting. Art involves a lot of interpretation, though, so what I call a sculpture, another person might call a collage.

Pablo Picasso enjoyed doing collages, but you don't have to be a famous artist to enjoy this art. Collage can be as basic as cutting pictures you like out of a magazine and gluing them onto a piece of paper. You can use one type of medium, such as magazine pictures, or combine several such as tissue paper, magazine pages, tin foil, or fabric. The process can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be.

A Few Basic Procedures You Should Follow

  1.  Choose a base for your collage.
    The base can be as simple as a piece of paper. Using a heavier paper is a good idea as you will be using a lot of glue. For the base of your collage, you can also use poster board, cardboard, canvas, an empty picture frame, or any other fairly flat item.
  2. Collect the items to glue onto your base.
    Use your imagination, and anything you have on hand, to make your collage. Some of the favorite items I have used are magazines, photos, and ribbon.
  3. Decide what glue to use.
    No glue is the perfect option for all collage projects. The kind of glue you use will depend on the materials you are using and the results you want.
  4. Create your collage.
    Once you have your base, the items you will use to create your collage, and the appropriate glue, you can start making your project. You can try to plan it out a little bit by arranging your collage items on your base before you glue it down. You can also just start gluing them down all over the base. You can use scissors or a utility knife to cut the items you are using into the desired shapes and sizes. You can also experiment with tearing your items. Once your collage items are all in place, set it aside and let it dry.

Find Free Collage Projects

If you need a little inspiration to get you started with your collage crafting, there are many collage ideas out there, on the internet and in books. The more you experiment with making collages, the more creative ventures you may come up with.