If you've got an eye for the strange and unusual, put it to paper. Accessible and affordable, all you need to make beautiful paper collage art is a pair of scissors, a bottle of Mod Podge, and all those magazines you’ve been saving (even this one!). Artist Maria Rivans literally wrote the book on it (Extraordinary Things to Cut Out and Collage, Laurence King Publishing, Laurence King Publishing), and here she shares her top tips—from organization to composition to her favorite tools—for making the cut.
Comb through vintage books and magazines, children’s books, and postcards for materials. Second-hand shops and websites like Etsy can be gold mines. Looking for a specific image? Find it online and print it on acid-free paper with good quality colorfast ink.
The Flex Files
Create a system to save time hunting for the perfect image. Rivans uses a file box with sub-sections for each subject, like a box for animals with files for insects, birds, mammals, etc: “I have to be organized because searching through all the thousands and thousands of images I have collected over the years is the most time-consuming part of the process.”
A Cut Above
Because proper cutting is integral, use super-sharp tools. Rivans recommends Xcut scissors, tiny craft scissors with a non-stick grip, and a #3 scalpel handle with a 10A blade. “But,” she says, “there are many types of knives, blade shapes, and sizes, so experiment to see which one is more comfortable for your hand.”
Put it All Together
Rivans suggests using heavy-weighted, acid-free cotton paper and reusable putty like Blu-Tack to hold elements in place: “That way your piece of art won’t be destroyed by a sudden gust of wind or your cat deciding to sit on it.” Finagle the finer bits with tweezers. Once complete, use a matte gel medium (like ModPodge Matte) or PVA glue—which won’t crack or yellow—to secure each piece and then coat the finished project so your work will last for years to come. – Stephanie Ganz
More Collage Artists We Love:
christa david @christadavid.art. christa david weaves nostalgic and moody dreamscapes that connect the dots from past to present.
Johanna Goodman @johannagoodman. Johanna Goodman explodes the notion of portrait art with meticulous juxtapostions of color and texture.
Beth Hoeckel @bethhoeckel. Brace yourself for bold and bizarre stories from the wild mind of Beth Hoeckel.
Top Image: By Maria Rivans, Courtesy of Laurence King Publishing