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Art/Journal Collage Demo
by Aisling D'Art
©2002, aisling d'art, all rights reserved

animated GIF showing collage steps, by aisling d'art
this animated sequence plays twice
refresh screen to see it play again
(that's the top of aisling's knee in the final frame)

Steps in how Aisling makes an art/journal collage:

1. Assemble materials. Ais works on her bed for these quick, morning collages. Her usual materials include magazines, tissue paper, sponge brush, Golden Medium/soft gloss gel, glitter, and gold leaf. She keeps a trash container nearby, to toss bits of paper into, immediately. Ais tears all of her images; you may choose to cut some of them with scissors in your own work.

2. Start with a blank journal page. If you intend to apply heavy materials, gesso the page first. Or, if you're going to bead it or otherwise treat it like fiber, iron on fabric interfacing to the back.

3. Go through your materials, selecting images and text that appeal to you. You can collect this and decide which to use, when you finish. Or, you can tear/cut & glue as you go along. You decide.

4. Apply gel medium evenly to the back of an image that you're going to use. Ais uses a discarded magazine page underneath this image, to protect the journal from stray blobs of gel medium. During an average collage, she'll use three discarded pages, changing them when they get too much gel on them, so the images remain clean on the front.

5. Place your images in layers, starting with the bottom layer, first. Usually, if you're using tissue paper, this goes down first. And, if you're using text elements, they usually get glued on last.

6. Smooth each layer with your fingers, gently, so the image doesn't bubble or get distorted, but still sticks all the way to the edges.

7. Continue building up layers until completed. Apply glitter and/or gold leaf after all the images have been applied. Ais uses gel medium to adhere these elements, too.

8. Let dry. If you're collaging the next page/s immediately, separate the pages with sheets of wax paper. Generally, this prevents the wet pages from sticking to anything.

9. After the pages are fully dry, you can do fiber-type surface treatments. However, if you didn't already apply iron-on (fusible) interfacing to the back of the page, you'll need to do this and, as you iron, use release paper on the front side of the collage. Otherwise, the heat of the iron will cause your gel medium to melt and stick to whatever's under it.

The finished collage:


click to see larger

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