Mixed Media Collage

Mixed Media Collage brings so many techniques together to create wonderful masterpieces. It’s all about the layering and composition. And it teaches us so much about what looks “right” and what doesn’t.

Getting started with Mixed Media Collage
To begin creating a collage, you will need a sturdy backing, or substrate, to create the foundation for your masterpiece. For a mixed media art collage, this may be a canvas, a piece of cardboard, a piece of wood or a page of an altered book. Make sure it is sturdy enough for what you have in mind. If you are planning to add a few layers of paint and some ephemera, then thick cardboard will be fine. If you are planning to thread wire through then a piece of wood maybe more suitable. Also consider how you would use a canvas; a pre-stretched canvas can present problems when stamping on the soft fabric that sits inside the wooden frame.

Creating the background
There are many ways a mixed media collage background can be created.

You can begin by painting, or using paint and the credit card technique to give you a unique finish. Cute backgrounds can be created using small canvas.

mixed media art mini canvas

During the process of painting the background and setting the mood of your piece, you can also begin to add your collage elements; vintage papers, stamping and stencilling can all be used to create shapes and areas of interest. Some of it may fade into the background; other bits will peak through. When layering paints to create a background, take your time and allow layers to dry once you have finished blending them.

Adding embellishments
Knowing just when the background of a mixed media collage piece is complete and ready to add the foreground is something only you can judge. Allow the background to dry fully before beginning to add the elements on top.

There are so many elements and embellishments that can be used to complete your artwork. Here is a list the most common ones used:

This list is by no means comprehensive and as this is mixed media art, where anything goes, anything else you can think of that would suit your project is fine to use.

mixed media ephemera

Before beginning to glue elements down, spend a few minutes arranging the bits and seeing what looks good and catches the eye. Turning the piece up-side-down or leaving it until the morning can all help to gain perspective and see things in a new light, especially if you are beginning to get frustrated and start to hear that nagging voice of doubt in the back of your mind.

Consider how you are going to attach these elements to your mixed media artwork. Adhesives of different strengths are available depending on what you are attaching. If the item is particularly bulky, consider wiring or tying it into the piece. This adds visual richness to the piece and takes the pressure off the adhesives along.

Once the piece is finished you can stand back and admire your work.

If you are looking for further inspiration to get you started, here is a simple collage tutorial.

simple Mixed media collage

Happy creating!