The Art of Collage

Making a collage is one of the most fun, creative art projects out there. Chances are, you’ve created a collage at least once, and probably as a kid in the classroom. But a collage is more than just a project involving paste and old National Geographic magazines. It’s an avenue for self-expression, a calming pastime, and, perhaps most interestingly, a way to get a glimpse into your subconscious and inner workings. The end result is a beautiful piece of art.

Different Kinds of Collage

With collage, you are only limited by your own imagination. There are several types of collage and of course, you can mix and match!

Paper Collage: Paper collage is the most common form of collage and the kind you probably made when you were little. In paper collage, you use magazine clippings, pages from books, or photocopied prints.

Painting Collage: You can paint a canvas and apply bits of paper with interesting textures and images, and other materials to your painting while painting on and around the pieces for a 3-dimensional effect.

Wood Collage: Using scraps of wood, you can make a 3-dimensional piece that really stands out. You can go into nature and collect sticks, driftwood, and wood chips; pieces from old furniture, frames and other household items work well too.

Photo Collage: Also known as a photo montage, a collage created with old photos can be done either digitally, using Photoshop or a similar program, or by hand. Photo collages are a wonderful way to use old photos that ordinarily don’t see the light of day.

Mixed Media: The best of all worlds, a mixed media collage utilizes all kinds of different materials. Wood, paper, photos, and items such as string, bows and ribbons, old fabric… anything is fair game!

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What You Need to Get Started

Depending on the type of collage you choose, the possibilities are endless in terms of materials. The key is to get your inner critic out of the way and think like a child. Start by looking through drawers, magazines, and books. What jumps out at you? What is beautiful, colorful? Don’t worry if it doesn’t “make sense” or have a theme – just start collecting images and things that make you feel something.

In terms of glue, you’ll want something archival so your piece will last. Modge Podge is a good choice. For heavier materials, wood glue and even Super Glue works quite well.

For cutting, scissors are fine for larger pieces of paper and fabric. If you want to get into more intricate designs, use an Exacto knife.

Collage as a Gift

You can create a beautiful collage for a friend or family member. For example, create a photo montage using old family photos and give it to someone you love. You can then frame it or, to take it a step further, you can even go to a photo gift company and create a gift such as a photo collage blanket. Thanks to new technology, there are a lot of options out there to make the most of your collage.

The Perfect Hobby

No matter what type of collage you choose, it’s a peaceful, inexpensive and even therapeutic activity that allows you to let go and have fun, while creating a piece of art that can be enjoyed for years to come.