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  • angela lyonsmith

make a recycled collage



Collage is a go to in our house because it provides such a flexible invitation to create. It is also a great way to make use of odds and ends, upcycle old art work and make something new out of what you already have. It can be helpful to have a theme for your collage in order to have a place to get started. In recent weeks, we have been making collages of gratitude to share with teachers for Teacher Appreciation and signs of thanks for the essential workers who are caring for our community in countless ways.


Wherever your child's inspiration leads, it may be helpful to search for a poem, quote or even a single word that captures the idea they want to express in their art. Adding this part to collage making builds opportunities for meaningful conversations between you and your children and allows for important literacy skill practice of reading, writing and comprehension.

For younger makers, recording their own words into the image can be a meaningful way to capture their thoughts, to attend and connect with them and to demonstrate how their ideas can translate in imagery and written words.

Conversely, the collage may start with figuring out who the intended recipient will be and getting inspired by imagery or words that connect to that individual. For example, my daughter made a collage for her teacher who motivated their class with wisdom from Michelle Obama all year, her collage includes the quote: "Always stay true to yourself and never let what someone says distract you from your goals." Whether you begin by identifying words, a specific image or create an abstract design of colors and shapes, collage is an accessible art process which requires few materials. You will need scrap paper, scissors and glue. We recommend a glue stick as the papers are more likely to dry flat.


1. Select papers or colors that stand out to you.

2. Cut out shapes or images you like from old art work, scrap paper or magazines. 3. Arrange the shapes in ways that move your eye around the page, create a new picture or tell a story.


4. Glue down your images being thoughtful to plan and layer pieces to give your collage more depth and interest.


5. Include a quote or poem that means a lot to you.


6. Maybe draw on top of your collage to add more detail to your design. Importantly, you can't do this wrong.Collages can take so many forms, sizes and shapes. They can be simple or complex. They can be made by artists of all ages and skill levels. Collaging with photos of specific things or places can remove the pressure to be able to create something that looks realistic. Simultaneously, collages can be equally successful and satisfying by mixing simple shapes and colors. They can become signs, letters, pages in book or even posters to put in your window. Collages can also be made individually or as a family. As we continue to cope with the changes all around us, it is important to offer our children and ourselves ways to express our thoughts and feelings. We hope you will consider making and sharing a collage of gratitude, hope, encouragement or care with the children in your life.

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