Learn how to make a creative collage in 4 steps and make catharsis on paper

How to make a creative collage that expresses what you want to convey? If you were looking for a tutorial on how to get started and ideas to stimulate your creativity, eureka, here you will find everything you need to get started.

Collage is a dynamic, surrealistic artistic technique with endless possibilities for creation. The elements of a creative collage are so diverse and complicated that knowing what it takes to make a collage or where to start can be quite a challenge.

“Collage is basically cutting, pasting and mixing textures, photographs, illustrations and graphic elements. And trying out a composition that looks good and above all with harmony, something that pleases the eye and makes sense with our idea.”

A digital collage, unlike a handmade collage, is a piece of creative design in which different elements and images are combined in a composition made on a digital support. Although it is based on traditional collage techniques, the characteristic of digital collage is that it is developed with specialized design software or applications to create online collages.

Today we will tell you what are the steps to make a creative collage, both physical and digital. In addition, if you are looking for creative examples to make a collage, we also bring you 12 collage design ideas with which you can start experimenting right now.

canvas ready? creativity recharged? let’s get started!

1. Choose the type of collage to make

The first step in this tutorial on how to make a creative collage is to choose, on the one hand, the type of collage to make and, on the other hand, the support to use .

Regarding the type of creative collage, you can choose between different options such as two-dimensional collage, three-dimensional collage, photo collage or grid collage. Don’t know which one? Don’t worry, below we will detail the characteristics of each one.

On the other hand, you have to decide whether you will make a traditional collage, handmade, or in digital format.

Recommendations for making a collage on paper

If you decide to make a traditional collage, get a white sheet of A4 or larger, a string and all the stationery materials you have available. you will define which ones you will use later on!

Understanding that you are just learning how to make a creative collage and you don’t have much experience, we suggest you choose a cardboard or other thick material as it will be easier to work with and less likely to fall apart after gluing .also, using a white background will avoid contrast problems with the images you will use later.

We suggest omitting glossy paper to make a collage. The material is more expensive and will not hold glue very well.

worried about not being trendy enough when making a creative paper collage? Don’t worry, paper will allow you to develop your creativity to the fullest and for sure the result will be as good as making a digital collage .

Recommendations for making a digital collage

If you dare to go from paper to the screen, there are different techniques that will help you learn how to make a digital collage.

For example, you can start by making a collage of photos, which always end up being fun and memorable. First, you should choose a theme (for example: family, pets or travel) and select the best related photos. Also, you can make a cool creative collage using random images you find on the internet.

but let’s not get ahead of ourselves! For now, focus on thinking about whether you’re going to use your computer, a smartphone or a digital tablet. Depending on that, you can use one of the drawing apps or Pinterest-style websites to start designing your digital collage.

collage digital

Image: Pexels

what are the types of collage?

Let’s review the types of collage that exist so you can start organizing your creative process.

There are 4 types of creative handmade collage, also called analog collage:

Two-dimensional collage

This type of collage is the most common. It mainly brings together photographs, paper, cut-outs and drawings on a flat base. This is the collage that was made in school, basically.

como hacer un collage bidimensional

Collage: Elena Saharova

Three-dimensional collage

This type of handmade collage adds elements with volume and body to add depth and texture to the creative piece. This type of collage was used by Picasso in his Guitar, a collage made with a cardboard base.

como hacer un collage tridimensional

Collage: Pablo Picasso, Guitar.

como hacer un collage creativo

Collage: Joseph Cornell

Photo Collage

Here, the collage technique is done entirely with photographs. In photo collage, a work is composed from elements or pieces of different photographs that are combined together.

have you ever heard of a fashion moodboard? This tool can be created precisely through photo collages.

como hacer un collage de fotos

Collage: John Stezaker

Grid collage

This type of collage seeks to maintain a sense of stability in an already chaotic creative piece. This type of collage also uses photographs but, unlike photographic collage, it organizes them in rows and columns, making it easier to read the message of the collage.

With technological advances, the collage technique has evolved, and it is now possible to make digital collages, as well as mixed collages.

2. Choose a theme

The second step in this tutorial on how to make a creative collage is to choose a theme.

When it comes to making a creative collage, anything you can think of goes: you can make a mix of famous paintings, a meme, a photo, a phrase, psychedelic backgrounds and lots of kittens. After all, collage is “a completely open and free language, which lacks regulations and is often linked to the everyday,” according to Adobe.

But let’s take it one step at a time. To get started, and not go crazy in the process of how to make a creative collage, choose a main image and place it in the center of the sheet, whether paper or digital. Then, look for other images that relate (even if it’s in a way that only you understand) and go about saving them.

Objects to use in paper format

If you are about to work on paper, there are plenty of resources you can use to include in your creative paper collage. Look for old magazines, newspapers and even illustrated books you’ve read a thousand times, and find something that inspires you. Keep all the images you like in a box or an envelope.

Objects to use in digital format

Searching for attractive images on the Internet is even easier.Look for old photos, fabric swatches, magazine clippings, emojis or other items you would normally use in a collage made on paper – keep everything in a folder!

Another recommendation is to pay attention to the images you see when you’re using social media. save all the ones you like!

Collage estilo magazine

Image: My Modern Met

3. Shape your collage project

Now it’s time to use all those images you’ve been saving to make a creative collage. Get inspired by all that material and imagine how you would place them on your blank sheet of paper.

Creativity tips to make a collage on paper

When thinking about how to make a creative collage on paper, there is no margin for error. For once you put glue on your cutouts and adhere them to the paper, there’s no turning back.

can’t figure out what to do with all your cutouts? First, get all your images out and lay them out on a table so you can see them all . Concentrate on the chosen theme and look for the images that aesthetically fit best with your main cutout. You will see how your handmade collage will take shape little by little!

Besides, there are no limits to what you can do. You can add other types of elements that are not necessarily images, for example: feathers, ribbons or fabric scraps.

Tips on how to make a digital collage

When imagining how to make a creative collage in digital format, anything is possible! Although, unfortunately, the relief element that feathers or ribbons give you on paper will not be possible to recreate on the screen.

However, you have the possibility to find an infinite number of images to create a digital collage .

how to shape your digital collage? First, think of a specific image, idea or theme that inspires you. Work around it and look for images that share colors, shapes or patterns, so that your collage has a certain aesthetic.

This is not to say that if your main image is black and white, all other images should be black and white. not at all! You can choose photos in bold colors that contrast with the main image. that’s what learning how to make a creative collage is all about!

Collage manual

Image: Pexels

4. start creating!

it’s time to start designing a creative collage! You’ve got the medium, you’ve chosen a theme and you’ve got the images you’ll use in your collage. Now it’s time to start the process of creating a collage .

First, you can arrange the collage images to see how they all look together and answer these questions:

how well do they fit with the main image?
are the colors right?
how well do the images match each other?
do they convey the right emotions?

Paper collage techniques

If you are working on a collage by hand, the main recommendation is not to glue anything permanently until you are sure of the placement of each image. As mentioned before, there is no turning back.

In order to have a final idea, place the main image in the center, then fill the rest of the paper with the rest of the materials and resources.

Another aspect to keep in mind when thinking about how to make a creative paper collage is the way you cut the images, as this will affect their appearance in the collage. You can cut the images either by the edge, leaving no space around it, or leave a small border to add an effect and make the image stand out.

Once you have defined what the design of the creative collage will look like, carefully glue the images to the paper with white glue. Apply a dab of regular glue or glue stick to the back of each image as you press them onto the paper. As long as you use this glue in minimal amounts, it will not be visible in the final collage.

Hacer un collage

Image: Pexels

Digital collage techniques

When making a collage in digital format, it is not necessary to have so much planning because you can modify it as many times as you want (as long as you save the original work files in your devices).

The procedure is very similar to the traditional collage: select a main image and place other images around it.

did you know that you can also make collages in multimedia format? Check out the apps to make video collages and let your imagination run wild.

5. Finish your creative collage

The last step of this tutorial on how to make a creative collage is the most important one, which consists of putting the finishing touches to your project and showing it to the world . Well, you can also keep it for yourself.

If you made it in digital format and want to print it, keep in mind that the paper you choose will affect the final look of the collage. You can choose a glossy one to give it a shiny look or a matte one to give it a less colorful and opaque look.

Collage final

Image: Unsplash

Creative collage ideas

There are many creative collage designs and different collage ideas with which you can start exploiting your creativity.

Here we bring you some creative ideas that employ different collage elements within their compositions. Pay attention to the collage techniques that highlight each piece and take note of the materials they use.

1. Taking care of the composition of the creative collage

No matter the variety of images, colors or textures you have, if you don’t develop a proper composition for creative collage design, your pieces won’t make sense.

how to make a creative collage with good composition? It’s a matter of playing with the elements you have and applying different composition techniques. Try different perspectives and angles, and try to define the direction of movement in your collage, that is, where the viewer’s eye should go.

ideas para hacer collage creativo

Collage: Andrei Cojocaru

ideas para hacer collage creativo

Collage: Christina Abgaryan

2. Define the message or theme of the collage

The creative process often needs to be delimited by a central message or idea.

A creative collage is ultimately an explosion of many elements. Having a collage theme to guide the structuring and sourcing of images will help you make a creative collage simple.

Some creative collage designs develop the artistic process around one idea. Other collage themes are developed by mixing elements and seeing what result you get by combining them.

So how do you make a creative collage? You can do it from both approaches, but having the collage idea developed beforehand will make it easier to find elements for your collage, whether digital or physical.

ideas para hacer collage creativo

Collage: Amsyar Ashaary

ideas para hacer collage creativo

Collage: Jeremy Ford

3. Use contrasts to attract attention

The use of contrasts is an effective collage technique, as it draws attention to the creative piece. Contrast, whether in graphic design, photography, film or architecture, creates tension in the work and is very striking to the human eye.

how to make a creative collage with contrasts?

Try creating contrasts in your collage from juxtaposing colors.
Create a black and white scene and add a highlight color to break the monotony.

When making a creative collage, it’s all about playing and trying.

como hacer un collage creativo con contrastes

Collage: Eduardo Argoud

como hacer un collage creativo con contraste

Collage: Dan Bina

4. Work with patterns and collage with textures

When putting together a digital or physical collage, don’t just focus on images and letters. Making a creative collage with different textures will add more richness to your creation.

how to make a creative collage with textures?

Mix crumpled paper textures with jeans or denim textures.
Combine a photograph with a more artificial or plastic texture.
Apply natural textures such as earth, plants or the sea.

If mixing allows you to develop very creative and innovative collage designs, why not use it?

como hacer un collage con textura

Collage: Olya Sydorko

5. Incorporate typefaces

From vintage typefaces to eye-catching lettering for posters: the beauty of making a creative collage is that you can mix all the elements you can think of, so written expressions are not left out either.

how to make a creative collage with typography?

Mix different letters and combine them to fill some space.
Use different font styles: serif, sans serif, italic, etc.
Use complete sentences written in different typefaces.
Match a letter to the composition of the creative collage. An “A” can represent a mountain, for example.

collage Johnross Post

Collage: Johnross Post

6. Play with colors for a collage

Defining the color palette to use is an important part of the creative collage process. As we saw in previous points, colors allow you to develop the mood of the collage by guiding contrasts and composition, and by making us look in the right place.

how to make a creative collage with different colors?

Check color trends and choose the best color mixes for your creative collage theme.
Experiment with collages based on a single color. Make a blue, red or yellow themed collage and play with shades.
Choose a dominant color to express the message of the collage (similar to using black and white contrast with a highlight color).
Play with color filters if you want to give a specific atmosphere to your collage: vintage, galactic, underwater, horror, there is a color filter for everyone.

como hacer un collage creativo digital

Collage: Joost Huver

ideas para hacer collage creativo digital

Collage: Nathan Schroeder

7. Use geometry

Geometry has a similar effect to the use of contrasts. Both in photography, film and especially in architecture, geometric ideas are very eye-catching and pleasing to the eye.

how to make a creative collage based on geometric figures?

Make a creative collage design with geometric patterns that juxtapose or create a sequence between them.
Add a dominant geometric figure within your creative collage composition.
Combine a geometric piece within the composition to provide an aberrant effect on it. Finally, the best collage ideas are those that feature unrealistic and unnatural settings.

como hacer un collage creativo digital

Collage: Mark Weaver

como hacer un collage creativo digital

Collage: Nathan Schroeder

8. Break something familiar with strange elements

While this may be the basis of all creative collage, there are collage subjects that manage to develop surprisingly otherworldly abstract combinations.

Some collage ideas that feature these combinations use silhouettes or incomplete profiles and complete them with non-body elements: clouds, leaves, landscapes, animals or any visual element that helps represent the collage theme you’ve chosen.

como hacer un collage creativo digital

Collage: Jethro Lawrence

Collage Eugenia Loli

Collage: Eugenia Loli

9. Add hand-drawn illustrations or lettering

One idea for making a mixed creative collage is to break the cut and paste rule, and add hand-drawn (or Wacom) features to the creative piece.

This is a great way to grab the viewer’s attention, as it adds a bit of naturalness to a fictional idea made of scraps.

Collage Studio Regina

Collage: Studio Regina

Collage Alina Kropachova

Collage: Alina Kropachova

10. Work with symmetrical and asymmetrical framing

Employing these frames produces the same effect as in collage designs with contrasts and geometric shapes. Although employing symmetrical or asymmetrical framing is a great idea for making a creative collage, but you need the elements to work well with each other.

how to make a creative symmetrical or asymmetrical collage? To combine the elements of a collage under this structure we recommend that, before you even cut anything out, you make a hand sketch of what you want to achieve.

You can experiment by dividing a face symmetrically and apply different collage elements to each side. You can also play around by dividing the collage structure in half, leaving one side empty, and filling the other side with different collage materials.

Hrayr Aghabekyan collage

Collage: Hrayr Aghabekyan

11. Play with vintage styles

Vintage aesthetics will never go out of style. Vintage photo collages or those that include various vintage elements serve for different creative collage themes.

Being a different time period than ours, vintage images lend themselves well to exploring weird collage ideas, creating new worlds and scenes where nothing makes sense.

collage Selman Hosgor

Collage: Selman Hosgor

como hacer un collage creativo digital vintage

Collage: Jethro Lawrence

12. Draw a person from several representations.

This idea of creative collage is very useful for representations of the psyche or emotions of people.

how to make a creative collage like this? To make a collage of this type you need, first, a base figure to work on; it can be a face or silhouette on which to compose a body from different elements.

On the one hand, you can make a broken mirror effect on a face and fill each crack with different angles of the face. In the following image you can see a great example of such a creative collage.

Collage Tegan and Sara

Collage: Tegan and Sara

Another option is to combine parts of different people’s faces and make a creative collage out of it.

Collage The Lady’s face

Collage: The Lady’s face

So far we have shown you how to make a creative collage and we have given you some creative collage design ideas with which you can start exploring this technique right now.

Remember that the composition of the collage, as well as the message you want to convey, are the most important collage elements. From there, explore, play and combine as many pieces as you want until you get the collage design you want.

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