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Mapping and Overlapping: The Importance of Collage

  • Grades: 3–5, 6–8

When making a collage, students can bring all of the questions that they consider when making a painting or a sculpture, but many find the artistic process easier because they can use found objects to create their projects. Spend some time on the websites listed below to help students understand what a collage looks like and how it works. Though Picasso was the first artist to bring collage into a museum, it has existed as an art form for centuries.

  1. Prepare students to think about the following project as if it were a puzzle of their own making. They will choose images that go together, so they should consider the size and shape of the images and how they will fit into the overall shape of the completed collage.
  2. Ask students to pick a theme. It can be home or school, a special interest, an event or just an idea that they have been thinking about. 
  3. Have your students start collecting images related to their theme. Ask them to think about how they want to put the pieces together. For example, do they want to cut the pictures into clean geometric shapes or tear them out and leave ragged edges?
  4. Students should work on a layout for the images and then think about bits of found objects: leaves, seeds, bits of string, plastic, or metal. Hair, glitter, and different colors of tape or paper add texture and color. 
  5. Once students have made their decisions about layout, instruct them to begin the process of affixing the images and objects they've chosen. Proceed until all articles are glued to the paper. 
  6. Once the collages have dried, students can also draw on or write in any text that they think fits into the collage.
  7. The collages are now ready to hang in class!

Variations: The activity above is geared toward horizontal collages assembled on paper. Depending on the interests of the class, these collages can be created in three dimensions as well: in shoe boxes as dioramas or on wire hangers as mobiles. The only additional supplies would be the shoe box for dioramas or wire hangers for mobile support, as well as string and additional cardboard for the hanging images of the mobile.

For more ideas about collages and the tools needed to create them, visit DLTK's Crafts for Kids website.

  • Subjects:
    Curriculum Development, Arts and Creativity
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