Making Collages For Fun And Gift-Giving

Making collages is a great way to recycle old magazines by creating personalized greeting cards or attractive and inspiring posters. Make one today!

Who doesn't have a stack of old magazines lying somewhere around their house? Learn the art of making collages, and recycle them instead of throwing them away! It's easy to do, it's fun, and you can do it the same day.

To begin, simply gather up some old magazines, grab a pair of sharp scissors and a glue stick or rubber cement, and find or buy a piece of cardboard or poster board of any color.

The great thing about collages is that you can personalize them. If you're making a greeting card for a friend, cut out pictures that might have special meaning for that person, or that relate to the occasion for which the card is to be given. For instance, cut out the words "Happy" and "Birthday," or even the individual letters of each word. Don't worry about making the different print match - the odd mixtures you'll get are part of the fun of collage! Now cut out a picture of a birthday cake, or perhaps the person's favorite movie star. Maybe you can make it look like the movie star is presenting the cake. The possibilities are endless. Just think about what your friend is like and what you'd like the card to say, then start flipping through magazines.

Another great collage project is making a motivational poster for yourself to help you reach your goals. For instance, if you are planning on moving, choose images of the kind of house or part of the country you'd like to live in; or if you're looking for a new job, cut out pictures that represent success to you. Choose colors and words that inspire you and help keep you focussed on your goals.

Sometimes, as you're flipping through magazines, certain words or images will jump out at you and you won't know why. Trust that. These will often be the items that have the most meaning for you after you've looked at your collage a few times. Making a collage can be a journey of self-discovery this way, as well as a fun and easy way to express your creativity.

Cut out pictures carefully; generally you will want to cut exactly around the edges of the images to give them a sharp, clean look. After you've picked out all the pictures you want to use, you will need to lay them out on the cardboard or posterboard to see how they are going to fit together. At this point, it's a lot like putting a puzzle together. The object is to cover as much of the surface of the posterboard as possible, leaving a little space around the edges for a frame. Pictures can and should overlap most of the time, although certain images stand better alone, against a solid color backdrop.

Don't be afraid to play, and combine images that normally wouldn't go together. You may find that you do not have enough pictures to fill up the space, or that you have too many. It is important to rearrange the collage a few times before gluing, and add or delete as needed to find the best "fit." Lay out the largest images first, then the smaller ones, and add words last. Don't overpower your collage with too many words; choose single words that have a special meaning or a good "ring;" occasionally, simple short sentences will work nicely.

After you have found the most pleasing arrangement of the pieces, it is time to begin gluing. You can use a glue stick, which is the easiest but sometimes doesn't hold the pieces down very well, or rubber cement, which is messier but more permanent. You can use white glue, but this will often create "bubbles" between the item and the posterboard.

Generally, you will glue in the same order that you laid the pieces out. However, this is the trickiest part, because often large pieces will need to overlap smaller ones; so make sure you figure out what order to glue in before you start. As you put down each piece, smooth it out from the center to the edges, to avoid bubbles and ensure a good hold. Laminate or frame your finished collage to preserve it and give it a polished look.

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