Torn Paper Collage

Elizabeth Brigham tears paper and glues it into a collage inspired by a photograph.

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Materials and Tools:

handmade imported acid-free papers
commercial acid-free papers
favorite photo
4-ply watercolor paper
cuticle scissors or small paper scissors
white glue
bowl for glue
1/2" to 2" goat hair paintbrush
sketchpad
pencil
meat skewer
pressed-dried flowers
thin dried grass or straw
clean piece of plywood
weights or books
spray water bottle
piece of plastic

Steps:

1. Choose a photo for reference to create your torn paper collage.

2. Sketch the photo image and background design on paper. Tack the sketch to the wall.

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3. Place the 4-ply watercolor paper piece face up on the work surface.

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4. Tear large pieces of desired colored handmade and commercial acid-free papers for the background. You will be working from the background to the foreground, placing the background pieces on first.

5. Brush white glue onto the watercolor paper using a soft goat paintbrush.

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6. Press on the torn background pieces referring to the sketch for detail.

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7. Tear and cut lighter papers for the background elements. For example, smaller pieces were glued on top of the large darker pieces in the area of the rocks to create depth.

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8. Cut out foreground pieces and the figure shapes.

  • Cut the shape of the skirt.
  • Cut the shape for the blouse.
  • Cut the shape for the head.

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9. Cut small white paper flowers, including translucent white paper for the skirt with small scissors.

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10. Cut wavy strips of paper to represent the folds of the skirt. Using a skewer, apply white glue to the backs of the white flowers and glue them to the skirt. The translucent flowers will give the appearance of folds in the skirt. Let dry.

11. Cut additional flowers from different colors of paper for the blouse.

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12. Attach the colored flowers to the blouse with white glue. Let dry.

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13. Glue the bottom of the blouse to the top of the skirt. Because of the thickness of the layers, you will need to hold them together until the glue starts to set up. Let dry.

14. Cut shapes from various colored papers for the facial features. Glue them to the head-shaped piece of paper cut earlier. Let dry.

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15. Complete the design by gluing the female figure to the background.

16. Cut additional pieces of paper and glue them to the background to form two baskets.

17. Cut a guitar piece.

18. Turn the entire collage over. Spray the back of the watercolor paper with water, cover it with plastic and place a clean piece of plywood over the back. Place books or other weights on top of the plywood and let the piece press overnight.

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19. Remove the weights and plywood. Turn the piece over to the front and glue pressed flowers to portions of the design. Glue straw pieces to the guitar to represent guitar strings. Let dry.

20. Place the torn paper collage on an easel to display or frame it and hang it on the wall.

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