Paper Collage DIY Tutorial

Have you ever found a stack of old magazines you haven’t looked at in months or even years? Yeah, me too. Well, instead of just throwing them into the recycle bin, here is how you can recycle them in a totally productive way... Let’s make a collage together!


Materials are simple and won’t break the bank.  

Photo By Hanna Berglund

Photo By Hanna Berglund

Here is what you will need:

  • Plenty of magazines (buying is not necessary for a rad collage, you can easily find free magazines at local businesses)
  • Sturdy paper or sketchbook to act as the canvas
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick (DO NOT use liquid glue, it will wrinkle the delicate magazine paper)
  • X-Acto knife (Not required, but I find it easier to cut small pieces with)
  • Ruler of your choice if you enjoy straight lines
  • Cutting board (Strongly suggested if using an X-Acto knife, don’t want to ruin a table)

Since most of these items can be found around the house already, it is quite simple to get started. Gather all the materials you need and we will get started!

Photo By Hanna Berglund

Photo By Hanna Berglund



Step One: Find an arrangement of fun magazines to slice up

I discovered having a wide range of types of magazines helps create a more diverse and interesting piece.


Step Two: Slice it up, baby!

While flipping through your magazines, cut out literally anything you find interesting. I often start cutting out pieces without a vision of the full collage, but as I cut more and more pieces, I start to find connections between them and then go forth with an idea. This method works for me because it is more frustrating to have a very specific idea already in mind and not being able to find the pictures to go along with it. Maybe try creating a theme for yourself to begin.


Step Three: Arrange the pieces on your canvas

It is helpful to have the collage laid out before gluing the paper down, because once the pieces are glued, there is no going back.


Step Four: Glue time

Depending on how intricate you get with your collage, it will be convenient to work in layers. Sometimes it will be beneficial to work background to foreground, but other times the opposite, so just take a second to think about the layout and go from there. Using a scrap piece of paper as safety from mucking up your table, cover the entire back surface of the elements of your collage with the glue stick and then lay the pieces down onto the canvas one by one.


Step Five: Protection

This is an extra step that is not a necessity, but if you would like some protection for your paper collage, I recommend buying a can of spray acrylic coating (Krylon is the most widely used brand). If you do this step, it is essential you follow the instructions on the can and spray your piece either in a well ventilated space or outdoors. The environmentalist in me hates to use this, but sometimes it is need. If anyone knows of a friendlier way to protect paper artwork without wrinkling, please share with us.


Final Step: Hang it up

Looks great on your wall or the fridge!



This is a simple and fun activity to do with friends when it is cold or rainy outdoors. Crank some music and get your art on. When you create a collage, please tag us and share your photo of it, we would love to see what your creative minds comes up with!

Written by Artist Hanna Berglund




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