10 Collage Craft Ideas To Spark Your Creativity and Inspire Your Own Paper Art

Collage DIY Craft Magazine Paper Ideas

Photo: Stock Photos from SAULESHECHKA/Shutterstock
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The word collage derives from the French verb coller, or to glue. The single term is powerful, encompassing an incredible range of crafts, DIY projects, and even fine art. By destroying, recycling, and recombining, old materials are made new; what could be called a beautiful metaphor for life is also a sustainable pastime.

With a stack of old National Geographic magazines, used coloring books, or old wrapping paper, you can make art to cover the surfaces of your everyday life. From notebook covers to inspiration boards, collages are an opportunity to let your creativity run free.

Want to try making your own collage? It's easy to get started. Grab your materials and scroll down for creative inspiration.

Read on to discover fresh collage inspiration for DIY crafting.


Get Creative With Your Materials

Old Magazines Collage Supplies

Photo: Stock Photos from MARYKU/Shutterstock

Collages are extraordinary for their limitless nature. You can find materials in your own home to start crafting immediately. Thrift stores, Etsy, and the old magazines discarded by your local library all offer rich resources.

The simplest collage material is paper. Try using up-cycled magazines, newspapers, book pages, found photos, and even old coloring book sheets to create your own new pieces. Stickers, old book covers, and advertisements can add spice. Do not hesitate to add three-dimensional touches, such as ribbons, beads, or even bits of mirror board.


Get Messy and Experimental

Glitter Collage Glue Supplies

Photo: Stock Photos from EKATERINA_GIGOREVA/Shutterstock

Collaging can take on many styles. Will you cut geometric shapes with scissors or rip your materials by hand for an edgier vibe? Don't be afraid to be messy or experimental. The beauty of a collage is in the freedom.

The type of paste used to affix materials will vary but classic Elmer's glue sticks and Tacky glue are great places to start. Modpodge or a diluted glue mixture can also be used to coat a finished collage, and so can carefully placed laminate sheets or packing tape.  Glitter glue can add extra sparkle, while pressed flowers are a touch of Victorian elegance.


Ideas to Get The Creative Juices Flowing


For the Kids

Children's Rainbow Collage Craft

Photo: Stock Photos from CHARISE WILSON/Shutterstock

ROYGBIV is an essential part of any elementary education. Keep your kids entertained with a fun rainbow collage. Find bits of fabric, paper, and cotton balls in the relevant colors and let their imaginations set to work. In the end, it may not be a perfect rainbow, but that could just be a budding abstract artist at work.


Inspiration Boards

Mood Board Vision Board Collage To Do List

Photo: Stock Photos from MARIA SYMCHYCH/Shutterstock

Mood boards and inspiration boards are probably the most popular collage crafts. Whether you believe in the power of visualization or not, the satisfaction of putting dreams on paper cannot be denied. These collage boards can revolve around hopes, travel, or simply what makes you happy in your life today. They can also serve as more than just positivity fuel. Try attaching a notepad or even dry erase tape so that you can write notes to yourself every day.


A Palette of ‘Pointilism'


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A fascinating, modern approach to collage can be found in the work of artist Madeline Rector. A talented mosaic and collage artist, Rector's “pointillism” approach to creating stunning portraits and copies of masterpieces in art history. Check out her Instagram for videos that will inspire you to ditch the pictures and focus on a palette of papers in solid colors.


Collage Walls


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Collage walls may seem like dorm décor, but this affordable interior decorating has become très chic. The tricks to making a collage of artwork and magazine images feel properly adult and artsy are in the color coordination, image curation, and neatness of whatever arrangement you choose. Check out these guidelines from Apartment Therapy which will guide you in transforming your home's space.


Tissue-paper Portraits

Tissue paper Collage Portraits

Photo: Stock Photos from DEANNA OLIVA KELLY/Shutterstock

Tissue paper provides translucent jewel tones which can enhance any collage. These sweet photo and tissue paper collage portraits from Alice & Lois make beautiful gifts or keepsakes—especially if framed. Follow their simple instructions to create your own colorful memories.


Whimsical Collaged Creatures


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These collaged three-dimensional creatures are too cute not to craft them yourselves. Kids will adore making their favorite beasts with these instructions for collaged dinosaurs from Mini Mad Things. (The website also has pre-made craft kits in case you are short on materials.)


Recycle Old Books


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Pages from old books are ideal for up-cycling, particularly if you have a connection to the text. Instagram user Becki Silver reuses the pages of the past to make sweet gifts for today. Her projects are just some of the many uses for old books. Try a greeting card on cardstock with collaged pages from your romance as a special keepsake for your beloved.


Paint Chip Possibilities

Paint Chips Collage

Photo: Stock Photos from SHELBY ALLISON/Shutterstock

The paint chip section of a hardware store is usually an exciting place for crafty people. The uses of these free little scraps are infinite. For collages, you might try using shades of one color to craft geometric fruit designs. With some cutting, gluing, and fidgeting, you have the perfect framable kitchen decoration.


Gradient Portraits

Watercolor gradient portrait

Photo: Stock Photos from BIPSUN/Shutterstock

As collages are a flexible medium, you can create your own materials rather than ripping from the pages of magazines. Taking a sheet of watercolor paper, paint the entire sheet with a gradient of one color using acrylic paints or watercolors. Once you paint your gradient (and let it dry), rip it into little pieces. You will end up with a variety of shades and oddly shaped pieces. Now challenge yourself to use these pieces to create a monochrome portrait. Hint: it's helpful to use a photograph to create a pencil outline of the face's features and build upon that for your collage.


Found Photograph Surrealism


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Collaging has departed the physical world to become a digital art form. On eBay and Etsy, you will find lots of “found” vintage photographs. You can also find old photographs which are in the public domain online. With paste and glue—or Photoshop—mix and match vintage people, animals, and products to create surreal artwork.

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Madeleine Muzdakis

Madeleine Muzdakis is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and a historian of early modern Britain & the Atlantic world. She holds a BA in History and Mathematics from Brown University and an MA in European & Russian Studies from Yale University. Madeleine has worked in archives and museums for years with a particular focus on photography and arts education. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, film photography, and studying law while cuddling with her cat Georgia.
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