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  • Writer's pictureClaire Hilton

Collage - Hints,Tips and where to start.

Making art!! - say that phrase out loud and see what your response is. Apprehension? Fear? Excitement?

I've said it before and I will say it time and time again - you don't need fancy materials to make something meaningful and get something out of being creative. I'm a big fan of collage. I see images in magazines quite often and this they would work well layered and in contrast with other things. I often like to layer and focus on elements that are the opposite of each other so organic images of fruit, food or flowers mixed in with man-made structures and lines is one of my favourite things to play with.

When I'm sat looking through magazines for images, I tend to separate them broadly into the following 3 categories.

Three main image categories:

  • Backgrounds

  • Objects

  • Textures/patterns (these are great for fillers)

Sometimes I find that even if I don't find I have the creative motivation to make something, there's something satisfying about sifting through your recycling and cutting out pictures before you throw them away. If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know I am a huge fan of reusing and recycling things. Try and gather together a mix of different resources - you might want some magazines about food (sometimes your local supermarket has free magazines with recipes in which can be great for images of produce), maybe hobbies or animals and sometimes car magazines are also helpful for landscapes.

Tip - If you are like me and tend have the same kind of magazines all the time then ask friends to keep them for you. Women's magazines are great for using adverts and body parts but I have tended to find a mix of different magazines more interesting to work with.

You can collect and keep these images together in their groupings in old takeaway boxes, A4 plastic folders or anything really. Don't be surprised if image collecting and making you collage happen at different times!! Its all part of the process and when you are feeling super inspired, grabbing images that are already cut out is satisfying and quick to get started.

Tip - You can collect and introduce your own kept and found papers into this too. This adds depth and interest. Think about keeping foil from chocolates, paper bags and labels also work well. I've also been known to pick up leaves, bits of broken tiles and interesting rocks and wood to incorporate into my work.

Things you will need:

  1. Cut out pictures (or magazines and scissors)

  2. A piece of background paper - I do tend to cover this entirely due it does help to have something to fix it all to. Cereal box card will do.

  3. Glue or tape. Anything will do, masking tape, washi tape, pritt stick or PVA.

Then its just a case of moving things around until you like the way they look. I often have 2 or 3 pieces on the go at once and I never stick anything on top of anything else unless its definitely staying there!

Start with bigger pieces for your background and layer things at different points to create lines and the feeling of depth.

Put your objects on last - maybe create your landscape or background first using different elements and textures and the tuck your objects in on top of this. you might want to tuck in an edge here and there to make it feel more finished. Don't feel restricted by the size of your paper either. If its wants to be bigger, be bigger!

Tip - fix things together temporarily with blue tac if you don't have all the elements yet or you can't decide where things need to go and walk away and come back to it to decide.

Both the images here are things I have made over the years and aren't particularly big. I do however really enjoy playing around with the juxtaposition of things and where they sit. I often have a selection of cut out images with me when I facilitate groups and community sessions, sometimes they add to the image and come in last over a painted background or sometimes (like the two examples I've used here) the whole image is made up of other photos. The possibilities are endless and once you start looking at printed resources as something you can use in another way - many possibilities present themselves. Don't fool yourself into thinking that something has to be big to be worth doing. I like to work small :) and you can always enlarge things at a later date if you really want to.

I am planning on doing a YouTube video about this later down the line to show me making one from start to finish to give you some ideas - but in the meantime we'd love to see what you come up with.

What your favourite thing to work with? Whats your top tip in paper crafting? You can share your work with us as always through our social media channels Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and let us know what you think and share your techniques with us.

Stay safe and be kind (to yourself and others)


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