It’s a Stick-Up. This article is the second in a series that promotes the creation of professional-looking art without the need to be a professional artist. Or, better still, without the need to even be remotely artistic. Yet, as some of the images in this article de
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It’s a Stick-Up.

How to Make Your Own Art Worth Framing:
No 2 - Collages

By Paul Dunwell, writing for EasyFrame
© Copyright EasyFrame 2019

Artwork Collages

What This Article is About

This article is the second in a series that promotes the creation of professional-looking art without the need to be a professional artist. Or, better still, without the need to even be remotely artistic. Yet, as some of the images in this article demonstrate, amateur collage-makers can create artwork which is so remarkable that only a seasoned snob would turn their nose up at it!

Traditional collages - as opposed to the digital variant - utilise whatever is at hand. That might include (but wonít be limited to) photographs, fabrics, any printed media, dried flowers, shells, cord, feathers and curios which are glued in situ onto card or similar. And they offer unlimited scope to be creative. Even a child can generate something that is genuinely worthy of framing for display.

So anybody, via a collage, can create something that:

  • Is a piece of original artwork
  • Is not subject to copyright
  • Can present an arresting and intriguing image
  • Can be done economically, using worthless scraps
  • Is so inexpensive that it allows you to spend more liberally on a decent frame.

The Educational Process

Putting together a collage with children can be incredibly educational. For example you might decide to create a collage that represented how your extended family could have come, originally, from the four corners of the globe. You could depict what individuals did to earn a living, where they lived, what their homes looked like, and use photos of them (you should make copies first and use those copies rather than the originals) as well as maps and postcards. Such a project becomes quite cross-curricular. Indeed it could incorporate aspects like mathematics if you labelled items to show what they cost now and then (average earnings 50 years ago wouldnít feed a person for a day now). On this score I recommend a visit to the website at

Children creating artwork

Getting Started

Itís simple. Which is why little kids can do it.

First you need a sturdy sheet of card (it would be possible to use something else such as painted chipboard or hardboard). White is probably best simply because itís neutral. And it is better if it is not glossy or shiny because that will make it harder to stick items to it.

Then decide on your theme, so maybe there is going to be a central unifying image, and broad design parameters. You have no restrictions other than your imagination, skill, the dimensions of the piece and the affordability of the components which youíd like to include.

COllage of the Queen

Two obvious approaches might be to:

  • Create a collage, as previously mentioned, that involves a juxtaposition of lots of related images that illustrate one theme. So you might tell a family history with strands that explain where both mum and dad came from.
  • Alternatively use lots of cuttings, almost like mosaic pieces, to create a single image. So, for example, you could make a huge image of Queen Elizabeth II in which you used hundreds of old stamps to recreate her lights and shades.

After that thereís going to be a huge cut-and-paste job. Old-style, not like we so often do on computers.

You can find enormous numbers of images to utilise in your collage if you look through newspapers, magazines, catalogues and old books. There are lots of inexpensive sources of pictures. And you can use print too (such as story headlines from newspapers). Some collage-makers use swatches of wallpaper and fabrics from stores and sample-books.

Craft Stores Might be Worth a Visit

Whilst many embellishments you can use within the collage may be sourced at home, it is also worth popping into a craft store just to see if there is anything affordable there which would really make a difference without being incongruous. It might even be some glue-on glitter!

Think in Three Dimensions Ė Frames Can be Deep

Of course collages are not necessarily flat. You can make them raised too, so they have three dimensions. This could make the result fascinating but it will take a little more thought when you get around to framing it.

3d collages

Donít Be in a Rush to Get Out the Glue. Be Patient

Donít touch your glue until you have thought out your collage. Arrange your components on their backing and keep rearranging them until you are satisfied. Lay out your images on the paper without gluing them. And then sleep on it. Dream about it. And come back to it the next day. Or the next. There is no rush to get this right. If you are genuinely involved with the project then your mind will keep thinking about it even when youíre asleep.

Top Tips

The following tips could do a lot to make life easier and improve your outcomes:

  • If you decide on your arrangement, then have to take everything off the backing to start glueing whatís at the bottom, take a photo to work from before you dissemble the piece. So you can remember what goes where.
  • As a general rule the strongest image, which might unify everything, will go in the middle.
  • If youíre going to make some sort of mosaic, and we mentioned the Queen Elizabeth II example above, you could trace an outline onto clear plastic and then, in low light, project the outline onto your base material and mark out the Queenís head on it. After that itís a bit easier to keep everything in proportion.
Collages of memorable events


Itís best to use white or clear glue, for obvious reasons. Be aware of the risks of giving kids some glues that might be dangerous if sniffed. Take your time. Build the thing up in layers, giving each layer time to adhere. And leave the whole thing overnight to dry before you think of getting it framed or hanging it.


A collage is an eminently affordable way to fill a wall with something that has involved you and, possibly, your kids. Its monetary value is irrelevant if it fills space and engrosses those who see it.

If you make a collage that youíre proud of then youíll need it framing. Because it is a collage it may well need a deep moulding. And, unless you know your stuff when it comes to picture frames and mounts, itís always worth going to experts. EasyFrame is an obvious and affordable supplier, whether you want to source all youíd need to do the job yourself or have them do it for you.

Any good framers will be able to show you a vast range of different solutions and advise on what might be the most suitable given the work and its proposed location.

EasyFrame is on 01234 856 501 and / or and they'll always chat even if you don't want to buy!

Article Posted: 02/10/2019 14:05:38

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