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Collage Ideas: Photos, Magazines, and Much More

Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.

Collages are a popular craft concept that can be used with a wide variety of mediums . Whether you are looking for a new kid craft project or are looking for inspiration for yourself, there is something here for everyone. In the age of digital photos and photo software, there are a number of digital collage ideas, many of which I've included here are well.

Please note that unless it is indicated otherwise, all tutorials and ideas are for personal use only. If you are interested in selling something that you have created, please contact the collage artist or tutorial author directly. Thank you and happy creating!


Wall Photo Collage

There are a couple popular methods for creating a photo collage that you can hang on your wall. Some people choose to leave space between their photos, as I did in the example on the right. Other people overlap their photos. There are several options for base materials. Consider canvas or wood. Don't forget to include hanging hardware and to use spray acrylic or another material that will seal and waterproof your piece.

Indigo Child - Carrie Chau Art Exhibition, Time Square, Hong Kong

Indigo Child - Carrie Chau Art Exhibition, Time Square, Hong Kong

Frames Display

Have you ever admired this in a home but been too intimidated to try it yourself? Unless you already have a collection of frames and appropriately sized photos, this will be a little bit of time consuming project. However, once it's finished, it'll be something that you can leave up for many years, simply switching out single photos or frames as you like. Many people lay out all of their frames on the floor and make up some sort of plan that they can transfer to the wall. Some people take an extra step and use a laser pointer for the hanging process.

Lauren used magazine pages for the green trees.

Lauren used magazine pages for the green trees.

Magazine Collage

Magazines are a great material for collages because they are readily available and inexpensive. If you subscribe to any magazines and are interested in using them for collages, simply start saving them instead of discarding them. Before you know it, you'll have more than you ever need. Junk mail and catalogs are also great, inexpensive collage materials.

Table or Other Furniture Collage

A collage is a fun way to refinish or simply makeover an older or plain piece of feature. A table top is a good choice for a first furniture collage project, as it is generally a flat, decently sized surface. Don't let this limit you, though. You can create a collage on just about any part of a piece of furniture.


Digital Collage with Free Software

For those who are not photo software savvy, don't despair. There are a number of great free web site and software options that create beautiful, versatile collages. Free software and web site options for making digital collages include:

Typically I use Picasa for collages with my photos and Big Huge Labs for collages with images pulled from web sites. For example, sometimes when I feature Etsy artists on my blog, I create Big Huge Labs collages with their item photos. I've included a few examples here for free software and web site tutorials. You can Google many additional tutorials if you don't find what you're looking for here.

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If you aren't ready to shell out money for software but aren't afraid of a challenge, check out Gimp! There are lots of tutorials for Gimp.

Photoshop Collage

For those who have made the jump to Photoshop, there are numerous collage options for the software. If you aren't sure where to start, there are a lot of great tutorials out there. Does the big price tag on the full Photoshop package scare you? If you aren't a professional photographer, it's very unlikely that you need it. Opt for Photoshop Elements instead.

Photoshop Tutorial - How to Make a Photo Collage | Big Picture Workshops

Name Collage

Most of the name tutorials and ideas out there are for digital name collages, but of course there are many other options, too. Some people choose to take photos of letters and alter the photos or to use letters cut out of magazines or that they've designed themselves (i.e. painted and then cut out). I've seen some clever kid gifts on this theme that one parent will put together for an occasion such as Father's Day with their kids holding up letters to spell "Dad." Check out the cute ideas for Father's Day photos on Pinterest. Your mind will start racing with ideas for customizing this concept for other occasions.

You can apply this concept of making a collage picture frame to a wreath.

Wreath Collage

There are not a lot of collage specific wreath tutorials out there, but there are tons of ideas for wreaths. If you spend any time on Pinterest, you've probably seen at least a few of them. You can apply the collage concept to many of these ideas.

Instagram Collage

Are you one of the 30 million people addicted to Instagram? Instead of letting all of those photos just sit on your phone or Twitter account, turn some of them into collages. You can print off your photos at home and then make a collage with them or you can use a photo service to order a printed collage. Both of the linked posts include photo services that offer Instagram products.


Greeting Cards

I originally included this here because one popular way to display collages is on greeting cards. However, there are also some great ideas for making collages out of old greeting cards. If you can't part with old Christmas cards or the cards that you received from your wedding but aren't sure what to do with them, consider this idea.

More crafty resources from the author.

© 2012 Rose Clearfield


Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 04, 2013:

Thanks! That's great. :)

Kathy Sima from Ontario, Canada on March 04, 2013:

So many great ideas! My daughter loves making collages with photos from old magazines. I'm sure she would like to try some of the other ideas as well.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 05, 2012:

Thanks so much, Vicki!

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on September 05, 2012:

Gosh, you're so creative! I love collages, and you have some great ideas here.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 04, 2012:

Thank you much, Kelley and Cyndi! I'm glad that the ideas here fit a wide variety of interests.

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on September 04, 2012:

Great ideas, great pictures, great hub! I love it all! You have fabulous ideas and I think I'll incorporate a few myself! :)

kelleyward on September 04, 2012:

What a beautiful hub... I love Instagram and Picasa. Thanks for sharing this article. I'm going to share it now on Google+ and vote it up and beautiful. Take care, Kelley

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 30, 2012:

Very nice! It's not absolutely essential, but it will ensure that it's waterproof.

Jill Kostowskie from Pennsylvania on July 30, 2012:

I had made two overlapping photo collages to hang on the wall leading to our upstairs. I never thought to spray acrylic over it. Thanks for the tip!!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 30, 2012:

Thanks, Om!

Om Paramapoonya on July 30, 2012:

How fun! I really like the furniture and magazine collage ideas, but your other suggestions are very neat, too.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 28, 2012:

chef-de-jour, collaging furniture is a little out of my comfort zone, too, but sometimes it's good to push yourself like that. Using collages as a bonding exercise in the classroom is a great idea. That could be another awesome article topic!

Carol, thanks! I'm glad that you got some new ideas here.

Daisy, thanks! Using magazines for fashion collages is a great idea!

Chantele Cross-Jones from Cardiff on July 28, 2012:

Great crafty hub, i do the occasional collage in my fashion journal with lots of magazine bits! voted up!

carol stanley from Arizona on July 28, 2012:

Being a painter and crafter I really enjoyed this hub. I found some new ideas. I love your photos and work. Thanks for sharing this.

Andrew Spacey from Sheffield, UK on July 28, 2012:

Some great ideas here. Recycling the cards is spot on for refreshing something old but still cherished and collaging furniture? Plenty of scope for development there! As a teacher I sometimes use collages as a bonding exercise - the whole class creates a giant collage using all sorts of classroom debris! So many different things for everyone to have a go at.

Voting up. Thanks.

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