Make a Collage~Summer Fun for Kids of All Ages
Favorite Places ~ Seaside Collage
Kids love Scissors, Glue and Pretty Pictures!
Kids of all ages love to use scissors and glue. Throw in some magazines and newspapers to cut up; add bits of ribbon or lace and a few photographs; collect some items from nature and everyone from preschoolers to teens will enjoy making their own collage. Actually, Mom and Dad might have fun with this project, too!
Collage ~ An Art Form for All Ages
Collage is an art form that can be created by kids of all ages and of every level of artistic ability. When my grandchildren were young, I had a tradition of holding craft days at my house for my four grandchildren who lived close by. With a five-year age difference between the oldest and the youngest, I tried to plan activities that would appeal to all. The summer that we did collage was a memorable one. Children with different artistic abilities and widely different interests can express themselves easily by choosing different kinds of pictures and decorations for their collages. I have to admit that I enjoyed making my own collage as much as they liked doing theirs.
A Seaside Collage of a Favorite Vacation Place
Gather Material for the Collage Project
The first step to making collage is to collect materials.One of the best things about making a collage is that you can use whatever materials you have on hand. We did not purchase any special supplies except the glue and the Mod Podge used for a sealer. These are some of the materials that can be used:
- Poster board or cardboard for the base.
- Scissors (blunt edge for younger kids).
- Magazines. Nature magazines are great, but any magazines will have useful pictures.
- Travel guides, brochures, fliers, catalogs, maps and newspapers.
- Plastic cloth to protect work table.
- Glue. Younger kids do well with glue sticks, Using Mod Podge will give a smoother look,
- Photographs. While you may not want to cut up good photos, put out your discards. Kids can cut out pieces they like and add to their collages.
- Postcards, greeting cards, stamps, postmarks, envelopes, old maps.
- Tissue paper, white or in colors can be overlain on parts or all of the collage. It becomes translucent when painted with Mod Podge in the final step.
- Pieces of fabric, lace, ribbon, buttons, sequins or other sewing scraps.
- Tickets, receipts, matchbook covers, menus, sheet music, labels, any paper mementos.
- Silk flowers can be taken apart and added.
- Dried flowers, leaves, shells or other small natural items can be added if you wish.Collecting these items could be another day’s project!
Cutting Out Pictures
Choosing and cutting out the pictures can be done anywhere, but spreading out on the floor in the middle of the family room or living room gives everyone plenty of room. Tip: Give each child a box or pan that they can use to keep their pictures together. If they stack them face up, it will be easier to find that special picture they know they had! They can also keep their unused pictures in it for another project.
Encourage the children to find and cut out pictures of things that interest them. Nature and sports magazines have great photographs, but almost any magazine will have some great pictures. Another good source is old travel brochures, visitor guides and advertising fliers. Newspapers are great for cutting out words to add to the mix.
Some kids might like to follow a theme while others will just want to cut out neat stuff or colors that appeal to them. Teens might add pictures or names of musicians they admire or fashions they like. Try not to micro-manage. Let each child express his/her individuality by developing his own ideas. When I did this with grandchildren, the kids cut out the whole page from the magazine first and stacked up several before cutting out individual pictures or shapes. That way, the magazine was be available for the other kids to look through. Cut-outs do not have to be precise as pictures will overlap and additional decorations can be added to cover unneeded areas.
Preserve Memories in a Postcard Collage
Themed collages are wonderful ways to express a special interest. By looking for pictures relating to a theme, kids will page through materials more carefully. They are sure to come up with some innovative ideas. Here are some themes that might inspire your kids:
- Animal faces
- Butterflies and flowers
- Color themes like shades of blues or greens.
- Postcards and letters
- Sports (figures and equipment)
- Summer vacation (could include actual photographs of the kids)
- Time (clocks and watches)
- Travel collages
Cat Collage ~ Another Idea for a Collage
Designing the Collage
Laying out and planning the collage works best on a worktable covered with a protective covering. Give each person a piece of cardboard or posterboard. Sizes can vary, but we found that a 9"x12" or 14” x 20” cardboard worked well.
Start by laying out unglued pictures in an overlapping design. If there are a few very favorite pictures, place them on the top layer or in a central position. By doing this without glue, they will get ideas as they go along and may want to go back to hunt down some words to add to the mix or find another picture to fill in a space.
Gluing the Collage
Glue sticks work really well for this part of the project for younger kids. For older kids, water soluble Mod Podge or rubber cement also works well. Rubber cement has an added advantage because glued items can be lifted and repositioned.
Start by applying glue to the back of each picture and gluing down the pictures closer to the top edge. By working from the top down, there is less chance of displacing the work that is already done. If there are blank areas, they can be filled in with plain colors or patterns. Remind the kids to save their best pictures for center stage.
We found it easier to glue down all the paper items before adding extras like leaves or silk flowers.
Once everything is glued down and the cardboard is basically covered, smooth out the pictures and let the glue dry for a half hour or so. While waiting for the glue to set, take a snack break or have the kids go back and clean up the room where all the cutting took place!
Before going on to the finishing step, take another look at the collage and glue down any curled edges. Sometimes the kids will want to add more detail or some whimsical words to their collages at this point.
Finishing Ideas and Uses for Collage
- Finish and seal with Mod Podge. After the glue is set, the collage can be painted over with Mod Podge, a water soluable sealer, to give a glossy, finished look to the project. Doing this will also help keep everything together. Use a flat paint brush and gently paint over the whole surface. Let dry and paint on another coat if you wish.
- Frame in an inexpensive standard size frame, or mat with a colored pre-cut picture mat. It’s amazing how professional they will look! Be sure the top coat is completely dry before putting it under glass, though.
- Finish off the edges with colored tape after sealing. Glue a hanger on the back and hang in child’s room as a wall decoration.
- Laminate. Skip the sealer and have the collage laminated for use as a placemat. Wouldn’t it be fun for each child to make his own placemat? An 18" x 12" cardboard makes a nice size placemat.
You May Have Inspired the Next Picasso!
Even young children can come up with a collage that they will be proud to display. Remind the children that making a collage is not just a kindergartner’s project. Collage is an accepted form of modern art that is sometimes combined with other media like oil, acrylic, charcoal or watercolor. Some very famous artists have worked in collage including Pablo Picasso, Tom Wesselmann and Andy Warhol whose works can be seen in some of the finest museums of the world.
Older children might enjoy looking at the famous artists’ works on line and may even be inspired to design more elaborate and fantastic creations. Do keep all of the collage supplies together as the kids are sure to want to do it again, and will come up with many more creative ideas!
Have fun with this creative project!
This article Copyright ©2011 by Stephanie Henkel
More by this Author
Recycle plastic grocery bags to make useful and interesting crocheted tote bags in varying sizes. Basic step-by-step instructions with photographs are included. Learn how to cut continuous strips of "yarn"...
Tie dying T-shirts is a fun summer activity to do with kids of almost any age. Easy-to-use kits make the process easy and uncomplicated. Kids and adults will love showing off their projects!
Yankees and Southerners alike will enjoy these funny sayings collected from across the South. If you need help interpreting the meaning of these expressions, well here it is! Great list of Southernisms!