Experiment with Creative Collage Combinations
Creative Cut & Paste Collage Tutorials
By Chris Dunmire | Updated 8/17/23
My previous tutorial showed you easy ways to create basic collage and mixed media pieces.
Now let's apply these techniques to other types of canvases to experiment and play with unique textures and effects. We'll begin with collaging on book covers.
Textures and Backgrounds
Popular choices include blank books from teacher's supply stores, hard-covered composition notebooks for journals, and old Reader's Digest volumes for altered books.
Here are two examples of magazine collage assembled onto the cover of a blank book support instead of on thick paper.
Technique: This book cover is first painted over with gouache paint and let to dry. Next, magazine collage is assembled over the cover and glued down and sealed with Mod Podge. The sealing helps protect the cut papers from handling and wear.
With the growing interest in altered books, book cover collage is a good place to begin experimenting with unusual arrangements of type, color, and imagery. For more tips and techniques on altered books art, see this Altered Board Book tutorial by Karen Hatzigeorgiou and these Altered Art projects by Tatiana Kuzyk.
See how creative possibilities are endless with collage art. Let's look at how applying unusual and interesting textural background effects on your collages enhance the process and finished product.
As you've seen, it's the eclectic mix of colors, textures, and elements that make creating collages not only fun, but interesting and joyful to the eye. By using a variety of materials and techniques, you can discover "happy accidents" in texture design that adds to the appeal of your collage.
The following examples demonstrate a few unique texture effects I discovered during my own collage experimentation. Be open to trying anything, including allowing yourself to "ruin" some materials, make less-than-perfect "messterpieces", and let your creativity flow. The joy of discovery is awaiting!
Peeling Paint is made from found papers and acrylic paint on a wood support. This texture, reminiscent of peeling paint, is the result of combining and painting over different papers in the collage while leaving some parts unglued and lifted.
Wrinkled Blue is made from tissue paper, coffee filters, and acrylic paint on a wood support. This texture was created by painting over and down folded tissue paper and coffee filters onto the support.
Mosaic Kitty is made from brown paper bag strips, shredded origami paper, and acrylic paint on a wood support. Using strips from a paper grocery bag gave the background on this collage a hard, leathery texture. Torn bits of foiled origami paper gave the inner kitty a flecked, mosaic effect.
Webbly Weave is made with tissue paper and acrylic paint on a wood support. When tissue paper is crumpled, pressed down, and painted over, it creates an interesting textural effect that reminiscent of fibers or spider webs.
Shredded Treat is comprised of shredded papers glued on a wood support. Mixed shredded paper also creates an interesting texture effect that can act as a background or design itself. An assortment of tissue and printer paper was run through a paper shredder and used for this background.
Ready to see all of these techniques come together? Keep reading to see how I combined background texture with magazine collage and other interesting elements to produce more unique and interesting collage combinations.
To inspire you further, here's a few more "experimental" examples demonstrating a combination of background texture with magazine collage or other found elements to produce interesting collage art effects.
Remember, anything you can glue down, paint over, or affix to your canvas support is fair game in collage. Don't be afraid to experiment. If it doesn't work out, that's okay, you can always change it up. Allow your imagination to run wild and just truly enjoy yourself!
NET WT is made from cut papers, magazine page elements, and an orange netted fruit bag. I hand drew the fish in various sizes and snipped them out, and cut random letters out from glossy magazines in a variety of sizes, colors, and typefaces. I played with various compositions before pasting the elements down under- and over the netted bag to secure it in place.
Hands On is constructed with origami paper, newspaper, and acrylic paint on a wood support. Real palm prints were added over the top by using two hands in a rubber stamping fashion: dipping them in paint and gently pressing down.
Fishbowl Freedom is made from torn magazine pieces, tissue paper, and acrylic paint on an illustration board support. Notice how the tissue paper is crumpled and painted into a background texture behind the lone fish outside of the fishbowl. It's always fun to create "new stories" into collage art from existing sources. The fish were originally part of a magazine advertisement.
Eye Am Be You Tiful is a self-affirming collage made from tissue paper, torn magazine pieces, and acrylic paint on an illustration board support. It features a two-tier message ("I am beautiful", and "be you") that begins in the orange fish's eye and continues down toward the bottom under the other two fishes.
Chocolate Pollock asks, "If Jackson Pollock could do it with paint, why can't I do it with chocolate?" Actually, even though it looks real, the "chocolate syrup" on this collage is a chocolate-brown acrylic paint that looks amazingly realistic. Other elements include a colorful assortment of name brand chocolate-bar candy foil wrappers and a wood support spray-painted white.
One of the happiest parts about the process of creating this collage was emptying the chocolate wrappers beforehand. Tasty, yum!
©2004, 2018 Chris Dunmire. All rights reserved.
Tear, Glue, and Paint Your Own Mixed-Media Masterpieces
A primer on collage, assemblage, and mixed-media art.
Creative Collage Combinations
Playing with book cover collage, unique textures, and conceptual artwork.