You can only make collages with drawings

Collage Art: Instructions for Cool DIY Pictures

When it comes to collage art, most people think of photo collages in which individual images are rearranged. This is not about classic photo walls, but about tinkered photo montages. Parts are cut out of several pictures and arranged into a completely new picture. The result is an imaginative work of art that can be fixed on paper, cardboard or canvas.

Of course, there are also technical programs like Photoshop that can be used to compile a digital compilation of image sections - at the push of a button, so to speak. But because special knowledge is required in addition to software and we are more interested in something "tangible", we dedicate ourselves here to the art of analogue collage. So whatever it takes is cut and glued.

In the video: 4 brilliant ideas to hang up children's drawings in style

Video by Esther Pistorius

If you have already enjoyed making collages in art class, you should pay attention now. Because we will tell you how you one really artistic composition created. In addition to examples of finished pieces of jewelry for inspiration, we provide you with first-hand instructions and professional tips.

To do this, we met with the visual artist Carina Klein, whose ingenious picture collages can be marveled at on Instagram, and who talked about the sewing box for us.

The right material for collage art

The most important thing when making collages are enough pictures. You can find suitable images in magazines - especially in travel and fashion magazines. In high-quality magazines there are page-filling nature and landscape photographs that you can use for your collage art. Special art magazines also leave the images largely without advertisements or text. Just leaf through the pages at the newsagents you trust.

Tip: Whole magazines are often offered at flea markets or in classified ads. So you get a large pool of images for little money. Old books, postcards, maps or sheet music are perfect for pretty vintage collages.

Also read: Vintage furnishings: this is how you combine flea market furniture

If in doubt, you can print out pictures from the Internet. Please note, however, that printer paper is quite thick and the colors may vary when printed.

To give your collage a personal touch, you can work with your own photos. Instead of letting the images develop, you'd better print them on paper. Because real photos shine a lot. The light reflections can later interfere when you hang up the collage art or want to scan it for further digital processing.

In addition to the images, you will need the following tools:


Tip: So that the collage is less one-dimensional, you can integrate small natural objects in addition to photo material. Feathers, leaves or pressed flowers make the art object more three-dimensional.

Instructions for making collages: three steps

On the way to the finished collage you only have to follow three steps. Here you can find out what these are and what you should pay attention to in each case.

Step 1: View the material and select images

First you plan the picture collage in your head. To do this, look through catalogs or old books and consider which motifs would go well together in terms of color and content. Professionals give their project a specific topic. The vanitas transience subject, for example, is artistically valuable.

If, as in the example of the woman's statue above, people play a major role, artist Carina suggests planning a surface for the feet, depending on their posture. If the arm position makes it possible, objects can also be placed in the figure's hands. If necessary, you have to cut off individual fingers for the handle.

Tip: Unlike in classic painting, you can of course simply let your center of the picture float in a vacuum. You can just as easily turn landscapes upside down so that the ground looks down on your figure as the sky. Wrong world - anything is allowed with the collage technique. It is important that you decide for yourself whether you want it to be realistic or fantastic.

It doesn't have to be a complete landscape motif as a background. Individual elements are sufficient, which you then attach to white or colored paper. Different textures are expressly desired.

Step 2: Cut out the material and place a sample

The next step is to cut out the selected image elements. Large parts, such as the statue or the butterfly here, can be easily snipped out with clean craft scissors.

For narrow areas or spaces, such as the tips of the blades, it is best to use a cutter or scalpel with a fine, sharp edge. Place the page or the roughly pre-cut motif on a cut-resistant surface (a piece of cardboard is enough) and trace the contours with the blade. Patience - the cleaner you work, the more beautiful your collage art will be!

You can either collect the cut-out parts in an envelope and keep them for future projects, or you can use them to make a collage.

Before you fix the shapes, you should put the loose individual parts as a test. Happy with the arrangement? Then fix the motifs with masking tape - This has the advantage over scotch tape that it can be removed easily and without a trace, should changes be necessary.

Tip: Tiny motifs are packed with tweezers. As a precaution, you can secure it in place with pins so that everything doesn't accidentally slip when you exhale.

Step 3: Sketch outlines and glue on motifs

In the last step of making a collage, the compilation is finally put together. If you have a lot of overlapping layers, you should start with the upper layers. Lift off the loosely attached first two elements and apply a thin layer of glue stick to the underside of the upper element - only where it touches the lower element. In this way you avoid unsightly glue spots.

Important: Do not use liquid glue because it will soak the paper and make it curl. For larger contact points, you can also use adhesive corners to stick photos into the album. When using glue sticks, be careful not to incorporate any bits. They are later visible as bumps under the leaf.

Flat components, such as the striped border in the examples or the sea under the statue, can be transferred to your background immediately. This is followed by the next image layers according to the rules of obscuration. However, if you have decided to link individual image details together beforehand, you can mark the glue position with a pencil cross.

Give the finished collage some time to sit down. Even glue sticks take a moment to dry. Then you can frame and hang up your unique piece.

Reading material:Make picture frames yourself: Original DIY ideas for photos

Seven creative ideas for collage art

As always in life, the same applies to collage art: Practice makes perfect. Don't let a few clumsy first attempts unsettle you. Stay tuned and diligently file magazine pages for later - those who collect have a larger selection available.

Because sometimes it is enough for inspiration to see what is possible, we present you some of our selected favorite collages here. After all, concrete pictures are the best way to illustrate what is important in a good picture collage.

1. Collage idea: dream versus reality

One of the most famous collage artists is Frank Moth. His imaginative photomontages have long been available for posters and art prints from retailers such as Juniqe (shop designs by Frank Moth here) *. What makes his collages so special is the connection between dream and reality. Even if he creates the pictures digitally, the principle can also be imitated in analogue.

You achieve the dreamlike effect by combining a galaxy background with motifs from real landscapes or people in the foreground. Futuristic Galaxy images are currently very popular - preferably in a pop mix with nostalgic scenarios in the look of the 50s or 20s.

> Fantastic Galaxy paper for collages is available here at Amazon. *

2. Collage idea: optical illusions

Photomontages are closely related to optical illusions. By changing from one context to the other, the meaning of the content can change drastically. It's most fun when the out of context motif interacts with the new backdrop.

In order for the trick to succeed, you should respect the proportions of the foreground and background: What can be seen in the front of the picture is larger in perspective than what is going on behind it.

In the example, it is also nice to see how well colored pictures can be combined with monochrome motifs in black and white in a collage. You can use the effect to visually emphasize certain image elements.

3. Collage idea: reinterpreting classics

Classic paintings are too boring for you? Then give the old paintings a contemporary twist with the collage technique. Make a color copy of the Mona Lisa or the Schrei and stick a picture element with a suitable perspective. In doing so, you change the context and make the work of art from the past the hit of today.

If you don't want to stick anything in the picture, you can also add a trace of color as a rebellious accent to the original. Also works with purchased posters of art classics or "real" paintings of still lifes, which you can find cheaply at flea markets.

Tip: The mix of different art forms such as oil painting and comics or photographs creates exciting collages.

4. Collage idea: combinations of text and images

A picture is worth a thousand words, yes. But one does not exclude the other. The easiest way to reinterpret an original image is to write a few words, sentences or quotations on it. If you don't have beautiful handwriting, you can cut out individual words or letters from a newspaper and use them to refine your work of art. Like a ransom note, only with more poetry.

You can also color in the text overlays. The same applies to other glued-on picture elements. A simple alienation effect is to underline certain areas of the black and white picture with brushstrokes in acrylic or with neon markers. Graphic doodles or sketches also make the collage more personal - details that can also be used as frames.

Also read: DIY trend hand lettering: This is how you learn to write beautifully

5. Collage idea: layering and décollage

You can indulge your destructiveness with the so-called décollage technique. You know that from advertising pillars. The poster is layered on top of the poster and then partially torn off so that parts underneath become visible again. Maybe not exactly suitable for beginners, but this trick will also work out at some point through learning by doing.

If you don't want to work with glue and paste, you can simply include elements of the décollage in your collage art. For example, by not carefully cutting out the individual parts with scissors, but tearing the paper with force.

This creates white edges on the scraps of paper on catalog pages, giving the work of art a wilder, urban look. Décollage pieces, for example, go perfectly with an industrial-style interior.

6. Collage idea: portrait with filling

One of the most popular collage fields is revised fashion photography. Cut out parts of the face or body and transfer them to pattern prints. You glue them in place of the original body parts or outfits. So that the collage art fits your interior, you can incorporate remnants of your wallpaper.

Instead of unknown models, photos of you or your friends can be edited in the same way. Such patchwork-style collages with alienated faces are a nice gift idea or spice up your social media page as a creative profile picture.

Reading tip: Selfie tips: this is how you can create the perfect self-portrait

7. Collage idea: Geometric patterns as a frame

Advanced collage artists can try to bring their picture collage into a new form. Geometric, to be precise. Circles, rhombuses and triangles are currently an indispensable part of the interior and fashion sector. So why not just embed parts of the collage in abstract pattern frames and thus separate them from the rest?

The smooth transitions between the inside and outside of the circle have been created with the computer, as shown in the picture. But you can still use this principle for handicrafts. You should always aim high, aren't you?

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