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Mixed Media Collage - Make The Pieces of Your Life Sing!


According to the dictionary, collage art is an artistic composition made of various materials (as paper, cloth or wood) glued on a surface. The word comes from the French word "coller," meaning to glue or to paste.

It really is that simple! You use any materials or found objects that you like and glue them down to create a piece of art. You can call it by other names: montage, assemblage, or decoupage. But it all comes down to the same thing: collage- a layering of images, color, and texture.

Other art forms (such as painting, carving, weaving, or sculpture) require that you start from ground zero. You have an empty canvas, a slab of clay, a silent loom, an unformed block of wood... and you wait for an idea to take hold of you before you begin.

Collage art is unique because you take already existing materials to make your piece of art. You begin by gathering the bits and pieces you want to use and laying them down however you like. You don't need to know how to draw. You don't even need to consider yourself an artist! All you need is an open mind and the willingness to explore.

Mixed Media Collage uses various materials (fabric, yarn, paper, metal, wood) as well as paint, chalk, clay...anything you can get your hands on!

As you begin to play around with multi-media collage, you'll discover yourself moving closer and closer to the creative child within. This inner playful child holds the key to your creative voice. Collage art is all about playing around with materials and colors and images, gluing them down and seeing what happens next.

The best part is- there is no way to make a mistake. You can't go wrong with collage, no matter how hard you try! If you don't like the way something looks, you simply paste something on top of it, or paint over it and add something different. Let me repeat the magical eight words- there is no way to make a mistake.

Multi-Media Collage Materials

For the base of your collage, you can use:

  • mat board
  • illustration board
  • 300 lb. watercolor paper
  • canvas board

I find canvas board to be the best if you are using paint or any wet media in your collage art work. It is the sturdiest and least likely to lose its shape when wet. Also, I like the texture that the canvas immediately gives to my work.

You will succeed with any of the following adhesives:

  • acrylic medium
  • gel medium
  • double-sided tape
  • double-sided foam
  • spray adhesives (use with caution because of the fumes!
  • tacky glue
  • E-6000

You will need to experiment with the different kinds of glue until you find the one that you like the best. Keep in mind that one collage piece might use more than one type of glue. You can buy these materials (and lots more collage art supplies!) at your local art store or craft warehouse.

Found Objects: It's hard to make a set list of things you can include in your collage art. That's because anything and everything in your life can be incorporated into a collage! The possibilities are limitless because there are no rules when it comes to this fascinating art form.

Here is a partial list of the collage materials I have on the shelves of my art room:

  • ribbon
  • decorative and handmade paper
  • yarn
  • paper tags
  • stickers
  • slide frame holders
  • acrylic paint
  • seashells
  • beads
  • sea glass
  • charms
  • old jewelry
  • old photos
  • jigsaw puzzle pieces
  • buttons
  • feathers
  • pigment ink pads
  • copper foil
  • wrapping paper
  • Scrabble tiles
  • pretty napkins
  • old playing cards
  • bottle caps
  • rubber stamps
  • keys
  • used cd's
  • raffia
  • glitter
  • marbles
  • corrugated cardboard
  • Take a look around your house and see what loose odds and ends you can gather up to put into a basket for your next collage.

    Make A Collage

    Here are some simple steps to creating a multimedia collage:

    1. Decide on a base and a glue to start with.

    2. Gather a basket of papers and found objects that will add depth, texture, and meaning to your piece. Choose only colors and objects and images that you like!

    3. Rip a few pieces of textured paper at random and glue them down onto the base.

    4. Add a few more pieces of a different colored paper until the background is covered.

    5. Reach into your basket and take out the first thing you touch. It might be a shell, a feather, a piece of fabric, a photo of you when you were 6.

    6. Glue it down too!

    7. Step back and look at your piece, but not too closely. Does it need some more background? Add it! Does the background look okay? If not, just add some more pieces from your basket, or dab some ink or paint in a few different spots.

    8. If you're listening within, your inner artist (creative voice) will tell you when you're finished!

    When you're done with this collage art piece, you can go on to create as many more as you like! It's really not hard. Collage art is fun!

    Anne Marie Bennett is a freelance writer and self-taught artist who enjoys playing with mixed-media collage, and all forms of color and words. She has a BS degree in Education from Southern Connecticut State University and has taught children, teens and adults throughout the East Coast. She is a breast cancer survivor and feels closest to her own soul when she is writing, creating art, teaching, and sharing the gift of SoulCollage® with others. She lives in Beverly with her husband Jeff and two highly cherished (and spoiled) feline companions named Sasha and Scooter. Please visit http://www.kaleidosoul.com for more information about collage, and SoulCollage.


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