Once I started doing collage, I can never look at anything flat again. It's not just about paper, although I've discovered so many interesting types and colors of paper. Even the bread wrapper from Atlanta Bread Company or the tissue paper and other wrappings, and, of course, bags that oranges and onions have come in have taken on new life for me. Feathers, dead dragonflies, dead butterflies, dried flowers, weeds, ferns, moss - they all get incorporated into my collage projects (mostly birthday and Christmas cards).
Of course, storing materials for collage is a big job that I can't say I always do neatly. So it's more an obsession than an art form.
So a short primer on collage basics follows:
First: Collect materials - the most essential is the glue
While this is available at Michaels or JoAnn Fabrics in pint size bottles, if you buy it that way it is pretty expensive. I bought a gallon on the internet for a fraction of the price in an art store, and it has lasted me a very long time already.
Second: Backing paper - I started using heavy weight art paper, but have scaled that down and down and down in the interest of achieving a finished card that could be sent with one postage stamp. To make a greeting card, I cut it into approximately 5" squares. (It will be smaller when trimmed.)
On my latest project, I used ordinary colored construction paper for backing with surprisingly good results.
Third: Tissue paper - I have used plain white tissue paper and painted it, but find for Christmas cards the Christmas themed wrapping tissue is wonderful. I cut the tissue paper to slightly larger than the art paper.
Fourth: Paint brushes
I also collect the scrips and scraps of exotic paper, dried flowers, and other flat stuff and have it laying in a pile.
NOTE: It's best to lay down a plastic sheeting over the table you will use to work from and I usually cover that with paper towels.
- Lay the 5" squares of art paper out (I do 5 or 6 at a time)
- Paint each square with the glue, being sure to cover completely.
- Lay a piece of the tissue paper on the gluey art paper.
- Paint the tissue paper with the glue.
- Arrange the art objects (I usually use dried flowers) on the tissue. Let dry.
- Paint the art objects with more glue. Let dry.
- Add any exotic paper details. Paint with more glue. Let dry.
- Trim edges - while a paper cutter isn't essential, it sure makes it more clean and professional looking.
I make my own card stock by cutting a 12" square of scrapbook paper at 5 1/2" - Use the big side for the envelope, and cut an inch off the other side for the card. Glue the edges of the envelope.