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Weekend Fun: Shaped Mixed Media Collage

Weekend Fun: Shaped Mixed Media Collage
Collage is a fun way to create art. The word comes from the French word coller, which means “to glue.”

Many different items can be used for collage, including paper, fabric, labels, advertising, junk mail, recycling, paint, markers, foam, feathers, and more. You need a background (sturdy paper, canvas, or cardboard) and some glue. A glue stick is fine for gluing paper items, but if you are working with ribbon, fabric, or heavier items, then white glue is best.

The Main Library has a selection of “Crafts to Go” in front of the Children’s Desk, including a craft packet that contains plenty of materials “just right” for collage. Stop by and pick one up or use what you have at home. Go on a treasure hunt to see what you can find!

Collage Treasure Hunt

Find a box and start to gather fun scraps of paper and other items. Ask your parents to help you find junk mail, old magazines, old receipts, scrapbooking paper, bits of yarn, lace, old fabric pieces, pieces of corrugated cardboard (from a delivery box) and even old jewelry or metal. Anything that has a flat side that can be glued onto a background will work. Choose things that you like.

Make a Shaped Mixed Media Collage

What you need:

  • sturdy background (cardstock, heavy paper, canvas, or cardboard)
  • assorted paper scraps (scrapbook paper, old printouts, recycled paper, coloring pages, gel prints, tissue paper, ads, magazines, old mail)
  • shapes to trace
  • glue and/or glue stick
  • paint and brush or other applicator
  • markers
  • scissors (optional)

What you do:

  1. Trace or draw some shapes onto the background. Arrange it so that some of the shapes are going off the page like the circles in the sample above.
  2. Cut or tear the paper scraps into small pieces of varying sizes. TIP: Cutting will leave sharp edges, tearing will result in softer edges that will blend in with the other papers. Use a variety of sizes for interest.
  3. If using fabric or lace, cut into small pieces with scissors.
  4. If using corrugated cardboard, tear to expose the ridges under the surface and then cut or tear into smaller bits.
  5. Begin to glue the pieces inside the shapes. Repeat some of the same color inside several different shapes. Be sure each shape has “a pop of color” as well – something bold and bright, like bits of paper that were colored with markers or that use bright colors like red, blue, yellow, or orange. In the sample above, we used pink scrapbook paper, pieces of a brightly colored coloring page, torn pages from a very old book that was falling apart and missing some pages, a leftover print from a gel print paint class, and part of an advertising postcard.
  6. Keep applying glue and paper bits into the shapes, tearing off any edges that stick out beyond the shape. Optional: It may be easier for younger children to make the shapes on a separate paper and cut them out instead of making the collage directly on the background. Collage onto each one and then turn them over to trim the edges. Glue these collaged shapes to the background.
  7. Apply paint to the background around the shapes. The sample above used silver paint.
  8. When the paint is dry, outline the shapes with a black marker, making bold lines
  9. Find some words in the advertising or old mail or magazines that you used, or write your own words and cut them out.
  10. Glue the words into the shapes so that they make a statement (like Two Book Happiness in the sample). It doesn’t have to make sense – you can use words that are related in some way, like Dog – Play – Love, or Sad – Rain – Wet or Game – Play – Fun.
  11. If desired, add one odd piece outside the shapes to add an interest of fun, or provide balance or contrast.

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