Collage Tips & Ideas

Top Ten Tips for Making a Great Collage

By Tara Alexandra Kachaturoff

The word “collage”, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, refers to “an artistic composition made of various materials (as paper, cloth or wood) glued on a surface.” It is derived from the French verb, coller, which means to glue. Collages are fun to create and can be incorporated as a useful coaching tool. You might encourage your clients to make collages around different things, qualities, ideas, and opportunities that they wish to attract into their life. These personal artistic creations are a powerful way to make a statement about what you want most. While there are a lot of techniques you can use when designing and developing your collage, here are some tips to keep in mind.

1. Laying the foundation.

You need to find something to create your collage upon. Poster board, which comes in a variety of sizes and colors, is a good place to start. Large poster board measures 22 inches by 28 inches and is available at any office supply store. White is probably the best choice since you can add color, as you choose, to the background. You can purchase 8.5 inch by 11 inch packages of colored paper and place them in various areas on the white board to enjoy a multicolored background. This is especially nice when it highlights or brings out the color in a picture that you place on top of it. You can also paint the background with a design or solid color, or even use wall paper or other decorative scrap book papers to create the background that you desire.

2. Materials, materials and more materials.

You need some basic materials on hand in order to get started, including poster board, scissors, colored pens and pencils, and some glue sticks. A collage is your personal canvas, yours to decorate in any way that you please. Gather magazines and other materials from which you can cut out pictures, words and phrases. Add money or coinage, or the scent of your favorite perfume or cologne (these scents will fade with time). Add colors and designs penned with colored markers or pencils, or even crayons. Add bits of decorative paper, colored string or other ornamentation. Include special photographs. You might even want to add pressed flowers, a small bag of beach sand or other small items which are important to creating your masterpiece. Use whatever materials you enjoy that will bring your vision to life. Make this multi-sensory experience all about you and your vision.

3. Its all about…you.

Spend some time thinking about what you want to put on your collage. You might have some preliminary ideas about colors and layout. After you have cut out pictures, you can mock up your collage and try laying out things in different formats. Think about these questions as you work on your collage: What do I want to attract for myself or for others? Why am I creating this collage? What special meaning does it have for me?

4. Take your time.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and your collage doesn’t need to be either. If you’re busy, buy the materials on one day, gather magazines and decorative items the next few, spend another day cutting out items/designing the layout, and spend the final day assembling your personal masterpiece.

5. Create a place.

Create a quiet space and time to sit down to work on your collage. Select the best time of day and your favorite day of the week that works for you. You may want to play some relaxing music in the background. You may want to work on it in the early morning, at twilight, or even late at night. Pick a special time of day when you feel relaxed and focused, but excited to use your mind and hands to create your vision on paper. A collage is a wonderful way to invest in yourself; a short vacation to visit with your vision!

6. Make it your own.

To make sure you are directly connected to your work of art, include a photograph of yourself on the collage or sign your name on it. This “ownership” will remind you that this collage is made by you and for you.

7. Leave some space.

Make sure to leave some space between the various items you place on your collage. The space symbolizes the space, clarity, and even the room for growth that you desire in your life. Certainly it is fine to overlap items, however, don’t cover every inch of your poster board. You don’t want a life that is filled to the brim with no space for welcoming in new things.

8. Words are power.

Consider writing phrases, verses, or quotations which hold special meaning to you above, below or beside the pictures that you include on your collage. You can search for quotations on the internet by simply typing the word “quotations” in any search engine.

9. Display your work of art.

Place your collage where you can see it every day. Spend time looking at it and thinking about the meaning behind the various pictures, words, and colors you have chosen. Your collage isn’t just a dream, whim, or passing thought, but rather it is a living vision that you can access every day.

10. Specialty collages.

There are so many things one can do with a collage. One idea is to create a collage in the shape of a life vision wheel. A life vision wheel is a circle, divided into 8 different sections. Each section represents an aspect of your life. It might include: finances, spirituality, career, hobbies/interests, romance, friends and family, health, and physical environment. You can make up the number of categories that works for you. You could tape several poster boards together and draw a big circle on them representing each of these areas. Then you could create mini-collages for each section. Or, you can create separate collages, each on its own poster board, for specific areas you want to work on, like your health or wealth. The sky is the limit. Have fun with creating collages. They are a wonderful tool to support you in creating the vision for the life you want to live.

Copyright 2004 by Tara Kachaturoff

About The Author...
Tara Alexandra Kachaturoff is an executive coach, trainer, consultant and professional speaker with over 15 years of corporate experience. She coaches executives, professionals, and entrepreneurs on leadership, business and lifestyle issues and has been featured in radio, print, and television. She is the owner of CoachPoint™,,and