Try Your Hand at Paper Collage

A link that attracted much attention in my most recent newsletter (read it here) led to a post about whimsical paper collage. Collage is a popular paper craft and as a firm believer in giving readers what they want, I spent an enjoyable day putting together this post to start many of us (myself included!) on the paper collage path.


cover of collage image book features collage of random images including palm tree, mushroom, convertible, magnet, and more


One aspect that makes collage so freeing is that there's no right or wrong way to go about it. Select a theme or cut out a random collection of images you happen to like. Make a meaningful statement via your choices or arrange an aesthetically pleasing group while gaining confidence. 


The fact that collage is a very inexpensive hobby requiring little equipment is a major draw too. A glue stick and paper... you don't even need scissors as paper can be torn if that's your preference. 


What kind of paper and images? Magazines are a great jumping off point, although any text/image-laden paper you have on hand will suffice... old books, junk mail, and perhaps surprisingly, newspaper. Glue your finds on sturdy card stock or mat board. School age children enjoy the process too, so if they're at loose ends while on school break, sit down together and have a craft session.

Done-for-you image booklets make it extra easy to get started. Here are several examples:

Things to Cut Out and Collage (top image) includes more than 1500 images and has received about 2000 glowing ratings on Amazon. It is described this way: "Flowers, birds, cats, and butterflies can be combined with buildings, eyes, moustaches, and men in dubious pants to create extraordinary original artworks and talking pieces!" Sounds like fun, right? Also included: an introduction to collage styles plus technique and composition tips.


cover image of collage image book features tropical greenery, birds, flowers and more


Another good looking image treasury I came across is by collage artist Seiko Kato, Handmade Collage with Seiko Kato: 15 Stunning Designs to Cut and Assemble. It contains nearly 500 images for your cutting pleasure along with fifteen themed collages that you can recreate... they could serves as a launch pad if you've never felt particularly artistic.


cover of book that includes botanical black and white images for collage


Flowers and Plants: An Image Archive of Botanical Illustrations for Artists and Designers is filled with vintage botanical illustrations to cut and paste, and also includes a download link for its more than 400 high-resolution images.

cover of book that includes colorful images of floral illustrations


Vintage Botanical Illustration: Copyright-Free Images for Artists, Designers and Plant Lovers is another compilation of images, also with a companion PDF. Note that reviews are quite mixed for the two Vault titles. Images are printed on both sides of the page so you'll need to choose carefully before cutting. The option of downloading/printing images is handy though, plus then you can resize to suit your needs.

examples of colorful wrapping paper images including flowers, fruit, seashells and more


John Derian's gift wrap and tags set gets excellent reviews. The high quality paper can be used for its intended purpose, but the sheets are also recommended for collaging. John Derian, by the way, sources his designs from 19th-century artwork as found in old and rare books.


box of note cards featuring colorful floral images on black background

One last idea: I was interested to come across this collection of note cards and envelopes that features painter and paper artist Mary Delany's gorgeous work. It would be a nice gift for a paper lover or gardener if you can't bear to cut them up to use in a collage. 


Mary, who lived in the 1700s, was featured in this earlier post. She devoted her life beginning at age 72 to creating hand-painted floral collages, each on a dramatic black ink background. Mary was the subject of Molly Peacock's book, The Paper Garden

Want more inspiration? Here's a list of just some of the inspiring paper collage artists who have been featured on All Things Paper: 


Annie Brandicourt - portraits, pets and more


Laura Shabazz - fine art collage

Elizabeth St. Hilaire - painting paper


Sarah Suplina - hand-painted collage


Keiko Suzuki - newspaper pet portraits 



All Things Paper is an Amazon and Etsy affiliate.


Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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