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How to create a collage

The simple art of collage (from the French coller, “to glue”) consists of arranging and fixing elements on a background to form an original composition. The elements can range from paper, fabric, dried flowers, or shells to machine parts, thumb tacks, or just about anything with an interesting shape, color, or texture.

To begin, cut a mounting board of Masonite, particle board, or plywood to the desired size. Use either ‘/4-inch or 1/8-inch board, depending on the weight of the materials. Prevent the board from buckling by coating the front and back with white glue or gesso that has been thinned with water to the consistency of light cream. If you wish, glue paper or fabric over the board to form a background.

Assemble assorted papers such as colored tissues, foil, illustrations, and greetings cards or assorted fabrics or other materials or a combination of various materials and move them about to find the most satisfactory arrangement. Cut or tear the paper or fabric for different effects. Glue the pieces into place and let the glue dry.

Collages can also be made of more solid materials. Try a pasta lacework collage, elaborating on the simple design shown here. Use a compass to draw concentric circles on a sheet of colored Masonite; then divide the circles into equal sections. Use the drawing as a guide to create symmetrical arrangements of different types of pasta. Position small pieces of pasta with tweezers. Glue the pasta into place.