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Making Collages

Updated on June 28, 2011

Making Collages

The art of making the collage starts with a person who doesn't mind getting his or her hands sticky.

Collaging is combining an assortment of items to create a piece of art. It can be done with paper and glue or have 3-D elements.

Decoupage is similiar to making a collage on an object such as a box or piece of furniture.

I have been collaging for about 10 years now and wanted to make a page dedicated to my favorite hobby/addiction.

Collage Examples

You can collage just about anything, as these examples from Amazon show below. There are so many great things with collages out there! Use these as inspiration, or search the site for more great ideas.

Types of Collages and How They're Made

There are several kinds of collages available today on various media. Here is a brief overview of the different kinds and how they are typically made.

Paper Collage: One of the most popular and well known types of collage is made by gluing cut-outs and pictures from magazines, newspapers, and other flat paper media to a larger piece of paper to make one whole piece of art.

Decoupage: Decoupage is similar to a paper collage, except can often be made of fabric in addition to paper. Items are traditionally glued to objects such as a lamp, furniture, boxes, and more.

Scrapbooking Many people do not realize the hobby of scrapbooking is much like creating a collage. Scrapbooking is taking pictures and other decorative elements and arranging them on pages in a book. Typically a scrapbook has a theme, such as "Family Vacation Photos".

3 Dimensional Collage: The 3-D collage often includes small objects collected together on one media to form a larger pice of art. This can be done with rocks, trinkets, toys, fabrics, or other items.

Mosaics Typically a mosaic is made by adhering pieces of ceramic tile, glass, stone, or other hard surface materials to create either an abstract design or collective picture as a whole. Mosaics can also be done with paper or photos to create a larger image. [examples below]

Photo Collage: A photo collage focuses primarily on photos with little else besides a few descriptive words and the matte backing. Photo collages can also be made with a digital camera and computer with page layout or photo software.

Digital Media Collage: This is similiar to a paper collage, but without the glue and is done on a computer. A software program such as Adobe Photoshop, Pagemaker, Publisher, or Serif Draw can be used to combine digital pictures, graphics, clip art, and other computer generated material to create one piece of art. This is often referred to as Digital Scrapbooking.

Video Collage: This is a term for a collection of pictures or video clips arranged together to form one video. They are often voiced over or feature music playing over the scenes. [examples below]

Music Collage: Probably one of the least known types...yep - you guessed it - a mix of various song and sound clips to create one audio file. This is commonly referred to as a "medley" when featuring the same theme (such as a movie soundtrack) or artist.

Video Demonstrations

Take a look at the videos below to learn different techniques in making various types of collages and mixed media art.

Books Featuring Techniques on Collage

Here are some great books on learning about collage design...check these titles out on Amazon for the best price or look for these at a library near you.

Top 6 Places to Find Materials for Your Collage

You can often find materials for your collage for free or very little cost. Here's my top 5 list of favorite places to find them.

  1. Libraries: This is an excellent place to start to look for old magazines or books. Most libraries sell these materials for dirt cheap - often less than a quarter!
  2. Flea Markets, Garage Sales, Yard Sales and Begging Friends and Family: Scouring local sales and asking friends and family for their discards will help you build a super-sized collection.
  3. Freecycle: Who doesn't have a stash of magazines lying around? (well, besides a collage artist who already cut everything out of them!) Visit to learn more.
  4. Junk Mail: Most people get enough junk mail to fill their entire home with each year. Cut down on some of the waste, and start turning yours into art! Hint: Cut paper into strips of color if you can't use it as-is
  5. Dollar Stores The possibilities are endless AND inexpensive in a dollar store. Books, craft supplies, small toys, wrapping paper, stationary, and much more for your collage making needs.
  6. E-Bay I love e-bay because you can find just about anything, and usually in bulk for a fantastic price. Get started by searching for collage supplies, but also search for pieces, paper, glue, crafts, and more.

Find items for your Collage

Trinkets, toys, jewelry, die cuts, stickers, craft supplies and more. Whatever you need, you can find it on ebay, trust me.

More collage making supplies

Here are some other products I have used and reccommend for making collages

Don't forget the glue!!

As a collage artist, you usually can't get enough glue...Amazon surprisingly has a wide selection on hard to find glues and adhesives perfect for your next project.

Unify Your Collage with a Theme

While it's totally possible to use random clips or objects for youe collage, repeating one common element can help unify the materials in making the finished product.

The collage shown here is one of my collages. I chose black and white as the theme because i knew it would be hanging in my living room and would compliment our other furniture nicely.

Color schemes are just one example however. Different shapes, sizes, or objects can also make a theme. You can use a "life" theme such as new baby, wedding, sports, buttons, clothes, phrases, foods, etc.

The lampshade above I made uses a botanical garden theme.

Be creative! While some find a theme to be limiting, I find it more challenging and helps to make my creativity work a little harder, usually with awesome results.

Selling Your Collage Work

The ease and availablity of the internet makes it a little less likely you'll be a starving artist if you decide to sell your art.

Online auction sites such as e-bay and ArtByUs (See below) allow you to put your artwork up for bid. Etsy is another site for crafters to post their items for sale.

Creating your own website can help you show off your portfolio and sell your art easily as well. Be sure to list it in networking groups and include the link on the botton of your emails and posts.

The old fashioned way of craft shows, trade shows, art fairs, flea markets and more can also help as well. Sometimes you may be required to rent a space for your artwork or share a percentage of profits with the host, so be sure to check into the details for local places near you.

A Note About Copyrights

If you are selling art, you need to be very careful not to infringe on the copyright of others. While you are free to use cut-outs of your favorite Disney character for your personal use, you are not able to sell it unfortunately. This goes for just about any media.

Best Link List

Here I've collected some of the best resources on the web for more detailed information on collages.

Leave your comments and feedback here. If there's something you would like to see on this lens, feel free to let me know!

Reader Feedback

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Great ideas!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      You've sparked some new ideas for me here. Nice job. :)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great lens, with some great info on different types of collage! I think visitors to my Decoupaging Boxes lens will find this helpful, so I'm lensrolling you there.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I'm trying to make a sweet sixteen little album for my daughter. I want to do a page that says her name (Rebecca) and her best friends name(Lindsey). Also, I want to put a picture of them on the page. Another page I would like to have is a picture of her and her friend/Date for Homecomming '08. Any ideas would be greatly appricated. My email address is Can't wait to hear from you. Thanks, Anne


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