January 21, 2022

Four Tips for Making Great Collages


by Sydney Brink

This past year I’ve been really interested in papercraft of all kinds. Collage is something I’ve found to be really calming and enjoyable, while also being an engaging exercise in thinking about color, texture and shape. I always get approached asking what I’m doing when I’m collaging at Ignite Studio, so I’ve put together a list of four tips for making great collages to help you get started.  

Four Tips for Making Great Collages

Ask staff for a look into our collage materials.

We have access to lots of discarded premium magazines, books and newspapers from the library. Ask a staff member to help you find them! Having good source materials is the best starting point. Before I even have a project idea in mind, I usually just go deep-diving for a lot of textures, colors and images that are interesting to me, and think of a project idea that will incorporate what I’ve pulled out.  

Use PVA glue instead of Mod Podge.

Mod Podge is easier to find, but Ignite has a specialty glue called PVA specially made for works on paper. Mod Podge can leave a thick coating of semi-translucent glue where brushstrokes are visible, while PVA is thinner and creates less sheen than Mod Podge (all the better for seeing your details!). It also helps to use glue on both sides of your collage items. The dried paper will have less wrinkles when both sides get glue while applying! 

Play with physical texture.

You can either tear your collaged pieces or use scissors or a craft knife for a neater edge. Mixing the two can create an interesting depth! Don’t be scared to mix materials to get that depth, either: grab fabric, ribbons, or take it a step further and embroider a border onto your collage! 

Use a reference picture.

If you’re trying to reproduce a picture in collage form, print a copy of your reference and use a sharpie or marker to block out major color groups. You can even number the different groups to create your own “collage-by-number”!  

Stop by Ignite to get started with collage. Show us what your making on our Ignite Community Discussion Group on Facebook. Happy making!