Collage art is one of the most thrifty techniques – old leaflets, tissue paper, magazines and scrap paper can all be transformed into beautiful pieces of art. It's also one of the cheapest art forms – all you need is paper, glue and a pair of scissors to get started.

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You don't even need to buy an expensive glue – you can achieve great results with a glue stick or cheap PVA glue which can be found in any craft store. The possibilities are endless – try experimenting with mixing textured photos with plain paper to create interesting effects. You don't even need to use scissors: tearing the edges of the paper can give your picture a rough, textured look.

Most of us will have experimented with collage as children, enjoying tearing the paper and moving the pieces around to form a picture. As an adult, you can produce something more sophisticated and there are lots of talented collage artists out there producing incredible work.

If you're looking for artistic inspiration, why not check out the work of the artist Henri Matisse? He created incredible collages made by applying gouache paint onto paper, which was then cut into shapes and arranged.

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You can use collage art to create seascapes like the one above, floral patterns or geometric abstract designs. Not sure what to make? Explore our collage art ideas for inspiration – we've included projects for artists of all abilities (and a few for kids!).

If you're looking for more art inspiration, explore our round up of watercolor leaves tutorials, try our gouache painting ideas, or get started with our simple watercolor painting ideas for beginners.. If you're after a quick project, have a go at our easy watercolor flowers.

Featured image by iStock/Evorona.

30 collage ideas

1. Abstract geometric shapes

This is a really fun way to create a unique piece of art for your home. Take some plain coloured paper and cut it into geometric shapes. Move the pieces around until you like how the pieces are arranged, then stick them down. Job done!

Abstract geometric collage
Pexels/Cottonbro

2. Coastal scene

Artist Fiona Clabon presses paper into lino printing ink and cuts the paper into collages once the ink has dried. This is a great technique to try if you also enjoy lino printing and want to use up any leftover ink. You could achieve similar results using a roller (brayer) and some acrylic paint. Discover Fiona Clabon's collage art tips over on CalmMoment.

You can buy Fiona's work over on her Etsy shop, including this Song of the Sea print.

3. Flowers in a vase

This pretty flowers in a vase design by Esther Curtis is a fresh take on still life art. You can either work from life with a real vase of beautiful blooms in front of you or use your imagination to come up with some fresh designs.

Flowers in a vase collage

4. Nautical scene

Collage can be used to create interesting watery scenes – you can use torn paper to produce ripples and have fun mixing various blue tones together. We love this Cornish harbour collage scene from the Sixty One A blog, which really shows what you can do using collage techniques.

Coastal collage scene

5. Birds

Birds come in all shapes and sizes! Experiment with different colours, patterns and shapes to create your own bird collage. This fantastic woodpecker collage was produced by artist and illustrator Tracey English – you can find more of her amazing artwork over on her website. She created 100 days of birds as a collage project back in 2018 and you can see some great examples of her work over on her website.

Bird collage

6. Abstract shapes

Collage art can give you the opportunity to experiment with shapes and colours. First choose some colours which work well together, then cut out random shapes and mix them all together. This fantastic collage was produced by artist Julia Hamilton.

Abstract collage

7. Mixed media

Combine drawing and collage to make a mixed media design, which gives you some more control over the colours and textures you're using to make your design. Keep it rough for a rustic look and try not to be too fussy! This cute cabin in the woods design is by the artist Anneli Bray.

8. Self-portrait

Not sure what to make? Have a go at making your own self-portrait! It's a fun way to explore the art of collage and make some artwork for your home at the same time. You could also try making collage portraits of your friends and relatives. This colourful collage self-portrait was made by artist Kate Voronina. If you're looking for more self portrait ideas, check out our how to paint a self-portrait tutorial.

Self portrait collage

9. Magical mountains

Australian artist Laura Blythman is known for creating beautiful, dream-like designs and this mountain scene is no exception. Paint papers in different colours, then cut out the shapes to make your own magical landscapes. This exercise would be suitable for older children to try too.

If you love Laura's work, you'll be excited to learn that she has her own range of fabrics! Buy Laura Blythman's fabrics from Spoonflower.

Mountain collage

10. Funny faces

This is a fun collage idea that's suitable for both adults and kids! Paint scraps of paper and cut them into ovals, then add your own silly faces using a felt tip or a sharpie pen. You'll want to make a whole crowd. This idea was created by UK-based illustrator Hattie Clark.

Funny collage faces

11. Colour burst

Doesn't this look amazing? This is a good way to use up any paper strips you have leftover from other craft projects. Simply trim them into wedges and arrange them to make your own dazzling colour burst art. We love the colours and patterns used in this collage by Mcafee's Art Studio.

Colour burst collage

12. Fantastic fruits

Sometimes you don't need to look far to find inspiration – reach for the fruit bowl or open the fridge and turn your food into a fabulous collage. This colourful cherry picture is by collage artist Brandie Stonge.

Cherry collage

13. Under the sea

Your collage doesn't need to be a scene or a realistic picture to look amazing., sometimes you can play around with a theme or arrange different objects on paper to make your finished picture. This bright collage by Ira Sluyterman van Langeweyde has an aquatic theme, but your theme could be whatever you like! Ira has used a combination of watercolours and collage to create this beautiful design – try it for yourself.

If you like Ira's work, check out her Iraville Etsy shop.

Under the sea collage

14. Motivational quote

Transform your favourite quote or affirmation into a collage for your home! Choose some papers in colours that work well together and cut them into bold letters. If you're finding it tricky to cut out the letters, you could use a craft knife and a cutting mat to make the process easier.

This lovely collage is by Lynn Giunta. If you like her work, you can buy her prints on her collagegirlKC Etsy shop.

Motivational quote collage

15. Rainbow sun catcher

This rainbow sun catcher project is a good way to introduce young children to collage. It uses some simple cutting and sticking techniques to make a lovely sun catcher to put up in your home. You could also stick it down onto paper to make some vibrant art for a child's bedroom.

Looking for more activities to keep young children entertained? Check out our crafts for toddlers and our arts and crafts to do at home.

Rainbow sun catcher

16. Hobbies

Celebrate your favourite activities by making a hobby-themed collage like this one by potter and artist Juliette. This is the perfect way to show your appreciation for the things you love in life. You could also make a collage like this for a friend or relative as a personalised gift.

Hobby collage

17. DIY colourful collage

This brilliant modern collage by blogger SarahHearts would look amazing on your wall! It's made using vellum, which has a beautiful translucent quality. This means that you'll be able to see the colours shine through each layer. Find out how to make your own DIY colorful collage.

DIY colorful collage

18. Art journal

Fill your journal pages with collages – this is a good way to explore new ideas that you might turn into a larger piece of art. You can annotate your art journal with thoughts and ideas too. Canadian artist Julie Liger Belair made this gorgeous jungle-inspired collage. Why not try making your own jungle scene in your sketchbook?

If you're looking for more creative journalling tips, check out our art journal ideas.

Art journal collage

19. Rainbows

Children love rainbows – they're bright, cheerful and easy to make. Kids will love looking through different types of paper to choose the colours for their rainbows. Younger children may require some help from an adult to cut out the shapes and stick them down. You could make a selection of rainbows in different sizes to add some colour to a child's room. Learn how to make your own rainbow collage with Eleanor Ford of the Mini Mad Things website.

Rainbow collage

20. Mini collage

Making a perfectly formed mini collage can be very challenging, but it will push you to be more creative. Try restricting your collage to a small shape such as a square or a circle and fill it with patterns and textures, as artist Jenny Stevenson has done here.

Mini collage

21. 3D collage

Collage doesn't need to be flat – you can create enchanting 3D designs by layering up paper and card as Kristin Schue has done here. Kristin has made a window in the centre of her artwork to create a feeling of depth. Create your own collage forest scene or experiment with other 3D collage ideas.

3D collage

22. Orange blossom

Another bold and beautiful design from Sarah Hearts! This project is ideal for anyone new to collage because it includes free templates to help you make the design. Find out how to make your own orange blossom collage.

Orange blossom collage

23. Shredded paper gift box

Shredded paper is really useful for creating collages – try putting some colourful magazine pages through your shredder to create multicoloured strips of paper. If you don't own a shredder, you can achieve similar results with a pair of scissors. There are so many ways to get creative with shredded paper, such as making your own shredded paper gift boxes like this one from allputtogether.com.

Shredded paper gift box

24. Collage hair accessories

If you have leftover shapes and scraps of paper after making collages with children, you can transform them into cute hair clips! Learn how to make DIY paper hair barrettes with sarahhearts.com.

DIY hair barrettes

25. Mixed media leaves

Autumn leaves fade so quickly, but you can capture their beauty by making a mixed media collage. Gather up some leaves and photocopy them to use in your collages – this is a good project to make with children because the process highlights the details on the surface of the leaves. Discover how to make a mixed media leaf art collage with Barley & Birch.

Mixed media leaf collage

26. Earth Day

Teach your children about the environment by making a cool collage for Earth Day this year. Find out how to make your Earth Day collage with iheartcraftythings.com.

Earth Day collage

27. Birds and nest collage

This cute collage idea is perfect for spring! Find textured papers to make this seasonal collage – you could use your finished collage to make a card for a loved one. You could create a simplified version of this with children too. Make your own fantastic birds and nest collage with katescreativespace.com.

Birds and nest collage

28. Bugs

Bug collages are a really entertaining project to make with children, especially if you're trying to teach them about the natural world. This bug collage uses a variety of shapes and colours to create the finished insect – encourage children to experiment with different colours and patterned papers to make their own pictures. Find out how to make a bug collage with artprojectsforkids.org.

Bug collage

29. Faces

Cut a face out of a magazine and surround it with interesting patterns and shapes to create your own surreal artwork. This fabulous example is by @februllage on Instagram.

Faces collage

30. Recycled paintings

Artist Kate Vernon loves to cut up her old paintings and turn them into new collages – like this cute design which features plants and a sweet creature peeking out!

Recycled paintings collage

We hope you found lots of creative collage ideas to inspire you in this article! Want to stock up on art supplies? Check out our guides to the best watercolour paints, best acrylic paints and the best drawing tablets for beginners.

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Looking for a fun new craft? Check out our free macrame patterns.

Authors

Sarah OrmeDigital Editor, Gathered

Sarah Orme is a UK-based linocut printmaker, digital editor, feature writer and award-winning podcaster. She's been editing the sewing and art sections of Gathered.how – and before that our sister website calmmoment.com – for over 3 years. She’s the host of Gathered’s We’ve Made It podcast and A Calmer Life podcast. She’s a keen crafter and artist and loves creating DIY tutorials for Gathered. Sarah has previously written features for The Guardian, In The Moment Magazine, Project Calm Magazine, countryfile.com, radiotimes.com and yourhomestyle.uk. She enjoys designing her own unique lino prints and dreams of opening her own online shop. She shares her work @sarahormeprints

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