Collage Art Lessons

By The Arty Teacher - May 9, 2024

Is it just me, or is there something really cool about paper? I love it—the different types and thicknesses, the textures and colours, the way it tears and leaves a rough edge, the way it can be layered and sculpted. There is so much to explore and be creative with.

Teaching collage art lessons to our students will allow them to experiment and explore paper creatively. It will open up opportunities to investigate and make connections to collage artists. It will switch on those students who feel (rightly or wrongly) that drawing isn’t their strong point.

Below, I have highlighted some of the many collage art lessons available on The Arty Teacher website. Some are short collage projects, some much longer. First up is some really cool paper.

collage papers

Collecting Collage Papers

I appreciate that printing papers like those above is a luxury and that it’s a good idea to start collecting cheap and free collage papers. Ask your colleagues too. Here are some ideas:

  • Brown packing paper is cheap and endlessly useful. I like the stuff that has the very faint lines in it. It has a mat and a shiny side. The mat side is easier to draw on if you are planning to draw on your collaged surface.
  • Collect paper bags. These come in all manner of colours and patterns.
  • Selective junk mail and envelopes can be appealing. Some envelopes have very interesting insides!
  • Some of the environmentally friendly toilet rolls come wrapped in the most amazing papers.
  • Always keep the tissue paper that comes with gifts, clothing and other packages.
  • Save magazines for both collage and photomontage.
  • Charity shops sometimes have old photographs which can be useful for photomontage.

Collage Techniques and Processes

The download below, ‘Collage Techniques and Processes’, comprises a PowerPoint and resource sheet that introduces a range of collage techniques and processes to your students. It is ideal to use at the start of any collage project to broaden your students perception of collage.

collage techniques and processes

Scroll down for more collage art lessons and projects.

Why are collage art lessons good for our students?

Teaching collage to students in school can offer a variety of benefits. Here are some reasons why I think having collage as part of your curriculum is a good idea.

  • Encourages creativity and self-expression: Collage can be used to encourage students to make a personal response. It allows students to combine different materials, textures, and images to create unique and personal art pieces. Sometimes drawing can be intimidating and collage can give students the language to express their ideas.
  • Develops visual literacy: Working with different types of visual media helps students learn how to interpret, analyse, and combine images effectively. This skill is valuable in today’s visually driven world.
  • Improves fine motor skills: Cutting, arranging, and gluing different materials in a collage can enhance students’ hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
  • Promotes problem-solving and decision-making: As students decide how to arrange and layer materials in their collages, they develop critical thinking skills and learn to make creative choices.
  • Builds patience and perseverance: Creating a collage requires time and effort, teaching students the value of persistence and patience as they work on a project from start to finish.
  • Enhances appreciation for art and design: Collage can introduce students to various art forms, styles, and techniques, broadening their understanding and appreciation of the visual arts.
  • Encourages collaboration and communication: Collage projects can be done individually or in groups, fostering teamwork and communication skills as students discuss their ideas and work together.
  • Provides a therapeutic outlet: The tactile and immersive nature of collage can be calming and meditative, offering students a healthy outlet for their emotions and stress.
  • Supports interdisciplinary learning: Collage can be integrated into various subjects such as history, literature, and science, allowing students to make connections across disciplines and deepen their understanding of different topics.
  • Boosts confidence and self-esteem: Completing a collage project can give students a sense of accomplishment and pride in their work, boosting their confidence and self-esteem.

More Collage Art Lessons

The landscape collage project below asks students to research the artist Robin Brooks, paint their own papers and create a landscape collage.

Landscape Collage Art lesson

If you like the project above, you will also want the official artist-approved presentation about Robin Brooks’s work.

The alphabets below are really useful for collage projects.

collage art lessons

Gaudi Construction & Collage Project

This large unit of work asks student to research the architecture of Antoni Gaudi and make a card-constructed, Gaudi mosaic mirror/sculpture. As students create their own designs, every outcome is individual.

Tiles for Collage

These images have been created to print and use as collage material. These could be used with the project above or soon I have a new Gaudi painting and collage project coming out.

Collage Artists

Collage as an art form has been celebrated by many inspiring and innovative artists who have pushed the boundaries of creativity. Among these artists, Hannah Höch is renowned for her pioneering work in Dadaism, using photomontage techniques to create powerful commentaries on society and politics. An influential African American artist, Romare Bearden blended collage with painting to depict the richness of Black life and culture, infusing his works with vibrant colours and bold imagery. Another notable artist, Wangechi Mutu, uses collage to explore themes of identity, gender, and race, combining diverse materials and techniques to craft striking, thought-provoking pieces. These artists, among others, demonstrate the limitless potential of collage as a medium for expressing complex ideas and narratives, inspiring new generations of creators to experiment with this dynamic art form. You can read about more collage artists here.

Collage Inspiring Drawing

The image below is a sketchbook page with a collage on the left and a drawing on the right. The project comes with everything your students need to create the collage and the good example below.

Drawing a Collage Face

Junk Mail Notan

Of course the paper Notans we make in school are made from collage. The project below was created in lockdown and uses junk mail. This adds an extra dimension to the project and, although not as high-contrast as black and white, there is still a play on light and dark.

Combining Portraits and Collage

The project below combines drawing and collage. Students photograph, draw, research and then create a portrait where the collage represents their thoughts and/or interests. It’s a comprehensive project!

Portrait Project

Collage and Colour

The Colour collage wheel below is a great way to combine colour theory and collage. There are versions for the spelling ‘colour’ and ‘color’.

Colour Wheel Collage

Stop-Motion Collage

If you want to combine collage, photomontage and stop-motion animation, this is the project for you:

Recommended Collage Books

Below are some popular collage books from Amazon #Ad

Collage Art Lessons
Collage Art Lessons
Collage Art Lessons

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The Arty Teacher

Sarah Crowther is The Arty Teacher. She is a high school art teacher in the North West of England. She strives to share her enthusiasm for art by providing art teachers around the globe with high-quality resources and by sharing her expertise through this blog.

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2 responses to “Collage Art Lessons”

  1. julia says:

    Really good

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