Cut and Paste

How-To: Make a Collage With 10 Simple Tips

You’re sitting at home, and A) you don’t have to go to work, B) you don’t have school, C) your friends don’t want to speak to you or D) you’re relatively sick, in which hopefully the first two don’t apply, and unless your friends are really nice, the third doesn’t. Collages are a decent way to fill out time—after all, paper cutting and gluing are things are good distractions from your life (unless you like make collages for a living, in which case I am unbelievably jealous.) If collages don’t seem that great at the moment, Facebook stalking is always a healthy and normal option.

Part 1: Preliminary Steps and Prior Knowledge (no, this is not a seventh grade science lab.)

1. Collages can be spontaneous (you can make up things as you go along and just go with what you think works best), but if you’re planning your collage out and want a certain look or message, make sure you have all the paper and magazine cutouts you need. If you start cutting out and gluing only to find that the picture of Karlie Kloss in Vogue Nippon is nowhere to be found and it’s one of the main parts of your collage, you will be unhappy and have to replace with something less suitable. It’s better to find out what you don’t have before you start (unless you’re going with the flow) to avoid future irritation.

2. Even if you aren’t planning out your collage, make sure you have enough glue and scissors. They’re both necessary parts of collage making and if you don’t have them, you will get angry or sad or start having a mental breakdown, depending on how much collage making means to you.

3. If you don’t want to waste your magazine paper, then going online and printing out pictures from editorials or whatever you need is always a viable option. If money is an issue, using the existing magazines you might already have is probably the best way. I tend to use magazines because their paper is of a higher quality than printing paper but if you’ve seen an image and want it, the internet is always there.

4. Collages can be mood boards, where you have a certain aesthetic, idea, or inspiration (teenage witches, purple, food, anything really) or a message with words. Mood boards don’t tend to have words quite as much because they’re very image based. Still, it really doesn’t matter whether you adhere to the definition of a mood board or a collage if you know what you’re doing.

Part 2: Making the Collage

5. Make sure to clear the area of any drinks or food…if you really give a crap about the collage (or end up giving one) Starbucks latte stains will probably not be the best part of it (unless food stains are intentional).

6. If there’s anything you don’t like about the collage or that suddenly doesn’t make sense to the aesthetic you were trying to convey, don’t be afraid to cut something else out to put over it or even start over if time allows you to. It can be interesting to see what works and what doesn’t.

7. Sometimes music can be much inspiration in regards to collage making. In can help you become more excited and as a result, more interested in the art you’re created. If complete silence is more inspirational, then just ignore everything I said before this.

Part 3: The After Math

                8. Dry your collage in a safe space where it can’t get eaten or messed up, because if it does, you will probably become angry and pissed off. If your room mates or family members are the types who just love screwing with any sort of happiness you may have developed, keep it in a place where you know they won’t be able to find it.

9. If you really want to have your collage ready to show to others or just to hang up somewhere, using a hair dryer to dry the glue works well.

10. You can use that collage as inspiration to make a series of collages based on the aesthetic of the prior one. If the collage you just did was inspired by purple, do another one inspired by another secondary color. Collages can also be used as part of shrines to people (hopefully to celebrities and not your friends.)

All images via my tumblr, except the last which is a collage that inspired Girl Gang on Rookie by Tavi. First one=author unknown, the second is Tess, Olivia Bee, Flower and another unknown

I wish I could have put some of my own up here! I’ve sent a couple to Alicia, but I don’t have any of my own to put up. I just like the idea of collages and mood boards in general. They’re so fun to make and you can always be really creative!


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