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Collage Ideas: Photos, Magazines, and Much More

Updated on September 05, 2016
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Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.

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Collages are a popular craft concept that can be used with a wide variety of mediums . Whether you are looking for a new kid craft project or are looking for inspiration for yourself, there is something here for everyone. In the age of digital photos and photo software, there are a number of digital collage ideas, many of which I've included here are well.

Please note that unless it is indicated otherwise, all tutorials and ideas are for personal use only. If you are interested in selling something that you have created, please contact the collage artist or tutorial author directly. Thank you and happy creating!

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Wall Photo Collage

There are a couple popular methods for creating a photo collage that you can hang on your wall. Some people choose to leave space between their photos, as I did in the example on the right. Other people overlap their photos. There are several options for base materials. Consider canvas or wood. Don't forget to include hanging hardware and to use spray acrylic or another material that will seal and waterproof your piece.

Indigo Child - Carrie Chau Art Exhibition, Time Square, Hong Kong
Indigo Child - Carrie Chau Art Exhibition, Time Square, Hong Kong | Source

Frames Display

Have you ever admired this in a home but been too intimidated to try it yourself? Unless you already have a collection of frames and appropriately sized photos, this will be a little bit of time consuming project. However, once it's finished, it'll be something that you can leave up for many years, simply switching out single photos or frames as you like. Many people lay out all of their frames on the floor and make up some sort of plan that they can transfer to the wall. Some people take an extra step and use a laser pointer for the hanging process.

Lauren used magazine pages for the green trees.
Lauren used magazine pages for the green trees. | Source

Magazine Collage

Magazines are a great material for collages because they are readily available and inexpensive. If you subscribe to any magazines and are interested in using them for collages, simply start saving them instead of discarding them. Before you know it, you'll have more than you ever need. Junk mail and catalogs are also great, inexpensive collage materials.

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Table or Other Furniture Collage

A collage is a fun way to refinish or simply makeover an older or plain piece of feature. A table top is a good choice for a first furniture collage project, as it is generally a flat, decently sized surface. Don't let this limit you, though. You can create a collage on just about any part of a piece of furniture.

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Digital Collage with Free Software

For those who are not photo software savvy, don't despair. There are a number of great free web site and software options that create beautiful, versatile collages. Free software and web site options for making digital collages include:

Typically I use Picasa for collages with my photos and Big Huge Labs for collages with images pulled from web sites. For example, sometimes when I feature Etsy artists on my blog, I create Big Huge Labs collages with their item photos. I've included a few examples here for free software and web site tutorials. You can Google many additional tutorials if you don't find what you're looking for here.

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If you aren't ready to shell out money for software but aren't afraid of a challenge, check out Gimp! There are lots of tutorials for Gimp.

Photoshop Collage

For those who have made the jump to Photoshop, there are numerous collage options for the software. If you aren't sure where to start, there are a lot of great tutorials out there. Does the big price tag on the full Photoshop package scare you? If you aren't a professional photographer, it's very unlikely that you need it. Opt for Photoshop Elements instead.

Photoshop Tutorial - How to Make a Photo Collage | Big Picture Workshops

Name Collage

Most of the name tutorials and ideas out there are for digital name collages, but of course there are many other options, too. Some people choose to take photos of letters and alter the photos or to use letters cut out of magazines or that they've designed themselves (i.e. painted and then cut out). I've seen some clever kid gifts on this theme that one parent will put together for an occasion such as Father's Day with their kids holding up letters to spell "Dad." Check out the cute ideas for Father's Day photos on Pinterest. Your mind will start racing with ideas for customizing this concept for other occasions.

You can apply this concept of making a collage picture frame to a wreath.

Wreath Collage

There are not a lot of collage specific wreath tutorials out there, but there are tons of ideas for wreaths. If you spend any time on Pinterest, you've probably seen at least a few of them. You can apply the collage concept to many of these ideas.

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Instagram Collage

Are you one of the 30 million people addicted to Instagram? Instead of letting all of those photos just sit on your phone or Twitter account, turn some of them into collages. You can print off your photos at home and then make a collage with them or you can use a photo service to order a printed collage. Both of the linked posts include photo services that offer Instagram products.

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Greeting Cards

I originally included this here because one popular way to display collages is on greeting cards. However, there are also some great ideas for making collages out of old greeting cards. If you can't part with old Christmas cards or the cards that you received from your wedding but aren't sure what to do with them, consider this idea.

© 2012 Rose Clearfield

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    • chef-de-jour profile image

      Andrew Spacey 4 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

      Some great ideas here. Recycling the cards is spot on for refreshing something old but still cherished and collaging furniture? Plenty of scope for development there! As a teacher I sometimes use collages as a bonding exercise - the whole class creates a giant collage using all sorts of classroom debris! So many different things for everyone to have a go at.

      Voting up. Thanks.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      Being a painter and crafter I really enjoyed this hub. I found some new ideas. I love your photos and work. Thanks for sharing this.

    • daisydayz profile image

      Chantele Cross-Jones 4 years ago from Cardiff

      Great crafty hub, i do the occasional collage in my fashion journal with lots of magazine bits! voted up!

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      chef-de-jour, collaging furniture is a little out of my comfort zone, too, but sometimes it's good to push yourself like that. Using collages as a bonding exercise in the classroom is a great idea. That could be another awesome article topic!

      Carol, thanks! I'm glad that you got some new ideas here.

      Daisy, thanks! Using magazines for fashion collages is a great idea!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago

      How fun! I really like the furniture and magazine collage ideas, but your other suggestions are very neat, too.

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Om!

    • JillKostow profile image

      Jill Kostowskie 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I had made two overlapping photo collages to hang on the wall leading to our upstairs. I never thought to spray acrylic over it. Thanks for the tip!!

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Very nice! It's not absolutely essential, but it will ensure that it's waterproof.

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      kelleyward 4 years ago

      What a beautiful hub... I love Instagram and Picasa. Thanks for sharing this article. I'm going to share it now on Google+ and vote it up and beautiful. Take care, Kelley

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Great ideas, great pictures, great hub! I love it all! You have fabulous ideas and I think I'll incorporate a few myself! :)

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      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thank you much, Kelley and Cyndi! I'm glad that the ideas here fit a wide variety of interests.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Vicki L Hodges 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Gosh, you're so creative! I love collages, and you have some great ideas here.

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks so much, Vicki!

    • savingkathy profile image

      Kathy Sima 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      So many great ideas! My daughter loves making collages with photos from old magazines. I'm sure she would like to try some of the other ideas as well.

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks! That's great. :)

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