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How do I Make a Collage?

By M. Walker
Updated May 17, 2024
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To make a collage, you will first need to determine the artistic form and necessary materials. Photo collages, newspaper collages, and online collages are all popular crafts, and many artists will also incorporate other media, including paint, ink, thin metals, and fabric, into their collages. Decide on the size of your canvas or paper and make sure you have enough materials to adequately cover the surface. Arranging the various elements will often be accomplished according to an individual’s personal preferences, but there are several main steps, including priming the canvas or paper base, cutting the materials to the desired shapes, and attaching them to the surface.

Depending on the purpose of the collage, different media, styles, and color schemes can be used. Many individuals enjoy making photo collages as gifts for family members, while others make a collage as a means of artistic expression and experimentation. The end purpose of the project will help determine the styles and what type of media are used. For example, online collages will not require physical materials but do need photos or graphics which are stored on a computer.

Regardless of the type of collage, most individuals will need to prime their surface first. For canvas collages, this will mean applying gesso, or paint primer. For paper or online collages, this task could be as simple as deciding on a background color. Once this step has been accomplished, the materials can be cut and arranged accordingly.

The next step to make a collage is to prepare the elements. For people who want to make a collage online, this could involve cropping photos, while paper and canvas collages will require that the elements be cut or shaped. Arranging the materials on the surface while cutting them can sometimes be beneficial, as it will give you an idea of the amount of space they will occupy and the visual effects they can create. Prearranging before gluing down will also help you notice color combinations and how each element interacts with the next, although some artists enjoy the surprise and spontaneity that goes along with gluing everything down immediately.

Finally, the last step to make a collage is to secure all of the elements onto the surface. Many people choose to use glue, while others will use tape or even paint to attach everything. After all of the materials are secured, additional steps could involve extra layering, painting over certain sections, or applying additional media, such as glitter or wax.

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