What you will need:


  • A bunch of magazines with colourful images
  • A sheet of heavy weight paper. (For size I like to use A1 or A2)
  • A glue stick
  • A good pair of scissors
  • A clean workspace (I like to work on the floor so  can spread out)
  • A pen and note paper

Now lets get started….

  1. Prepare your materials and get comfortable.
  2. Write a sentence or two about the issue(s) you would like to work on.
  3. Reflect on experiences and emotions related to your memo.
  4. Flip through your magazines and choose 3-4 large images to create a background covering the space of your paper (landscapes or textured surfaces are best).
  5. Tear or cut out the images you want to use as you find them.img_1176.jpg
  1. Return to the magazines and pull out smaller images that “speak to you” and/or attract your attention. Tear or cut out the pages. (leave detailed cutting for now)
  2. Once you have all the images you need/want, glue the background images in place.
  3. Now cut the smaller images. You can contour the images, cut them into different shapes, or tear them.


  1. As you prepare the smaller images, start placing them on the background (without gluing them).
  • Play with the placement of the images and allow your intuition to guide you.
  • You can group small pieces together. Not everything has to stand out equally.
  • Consider the overall patterns of the collage: How do the images relate to the background and each other in terms of colour, space, size and light?

10.  Once you are satisfied with the way everything fits together glue the final pieces.



Understanding Your Collage

Here are some guidelines for understanding your collage:

  1. What themes, shapes, and colours dominate your collage?
  2. Do any images or clusters repeat themselves?
  3. Are the colours dark/light, warm/cool? Do they remind you of a season, an atmosphere or feeling?
  4. What parts do you like or dislike most?
  5. Is there an image you could not change without creating a whole new collage?
  6. Reflect on images that don’t seem to fit in with the rest and try to figure out ways in which they are related.
  7. Why did you chose specific images? What memories and experiences do they contain?

Note: These guidelines are based on what I learned in a workshop I took with Lynn Butler-Kisber and Mary Stewart from McGill University in 2003. (Collage as an analytic tool and/or representational form, In Artful analysis and representation in qualitative inquiry using poetry, theatre, and collage, AERA Pre-conference Workshop, Chicago, IL, 2003)