Make a Paper Grid Collage: Learn a Simple Way to Create An Eye-Catching Artwork | A Cross | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Make a Paper Grid Collage: Learn a Simple Way to Create An Eye-Catching Artwork

teacher avatar A Cross, Mixed media artist and paper enthusiast

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      Making the Squares


    • 4.

      Making the Background


    • 5.

      Gluing the Squares


    • 6.

      Bonus Assembling Freeform Collage


    • 7.

      Last Steps and Final Project


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Discover and explore a new and simple way of making collages in Make a Paper Grid Collage. In this class you’ll learn how to take different kinds of paper, from any source, and turn it into a geometric piece of art. There’s no need to hesitate when you have a blank piece of paper in front you and you’re not sure where to begin making an image. I’ll show you what to do.

You will learn what supplies to use, and also the elements of collage and preparing the background and the squares of paper. What’s great about these kind of collages is that you probably have some or most of the supplies you’ll need. Think office supplies rather than art store. I will show the steps to take to make a coherent and interesting image through choice of paper, images, and composition.

No matter what your background in art, whether you’re a novice or have experience, you can make a grid collage. Not only that, you’ll find that following these simple steps will yield interesting art.

The class project is to make at least one grid collage of your own. So be sure and post yours so we can all see it. Sharing our projects is a great way to get inspired and gather new ideas for future collages of our own. You'll find background templates and a supply list when you click on Project.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

A Cross

Mixed media artist and paper enthusiast


I'm a mixed media art and teacher who's been concentrating on collage for the last few years. Recently I decided to share my experience by creating a new course, "Make a Paper Grid Collage."

Collage is an accessible medium. All you need to get started is paper and glue. Even scissors are optional! I designed my course with hesitant students in mind. A blank page can be a little scary. Where to begin? Once things are glued to paper, is it permanent?

The best thing you can do is to experiment. Put some paper scraps on top of another piece of paper and see what it suggests to you. Do the pieces of paper work with each other, look like an object, a person or animal? Add some more scraps and see what happens.

A grid collage is a more orderly way of making an image. You s... See full profile

Level: Beginner

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: in this class, you learn how to make great collages out of paper, a basic grade collages, a large square there's made of smaller squares. Hello, I'm Andrea Cross, mixed media artist and teacher. Let's have a look at some recent collages that I make. This collage is made from newspaper photos of a women's hockey team. I liked the uniform color in the expressions on their faces. It's made of 16 pieces of paper that measure an inch and 1/2 square. Next is a collage of blue skies. It's comprised of 25 squares that I got from magazine images. There's such a variety of blues ranging from pale to a deep shade. To make this, I took a page from the Yellow Pages and a map painted stripes on them in acrylic panes, then cut them into squares. Here they are arranged in a checkerboard, with the stripes going in the same direction. Here's another blue collage, a counterpart to the sky piece, thes air images of water. The scale you'll notice, is different for this black and white one. I use small pictures of people from the newspaper news Prints is one of my favorite materials this last one. Also, newsprint is made of images of crowds at sporting events. Let's consider the grid. It's a familiar element all around us. Any where two lines meet at a 90 degree angle, you'll see grids in architecture, clothing, art, these air by John and Sophie are and Montreal and even snack foods. Seriously, I have these in my house as the foundation for a collage. The grid is a marvelous framework. It's a way of structuring an art piece that encourages creativity. Many of us would not know where to begin if we had a blank page, a pile of pictures or magazines, and some glue and scissors in front of us. Great collages can be abstract a representative. Anyone, regardless of previous experience or knowledge, can create an interesting work of art in upcoming lessons will go through the steps to make several sizes of collage. I've included some templates of grades on white paper. You can use his backgrounds if you'd like. I'll also be showing you some variations in technique you can try. Kalash simply defined means to affix, usually with glue, two or more objects, the most common types of collages are made of paper. That's what we'll be talking about in this class. You'll be cutting, gluing and measuring from sources of your choosing. Making collages is a very flexible practice so it can accommodate your style of working, whether you are precise and neat or messy and a practitioner of freeform sm blockage. My My Journey with collage began almost 20 years ago. It was a challenge at first because I'd attempted to make an occasional collage before and never been satisfied with the results. I gave it another tribe because I love working with paper. I've always been a reader of books, newspapers, magazines, whatever I could get my hands on. So I guess it's not surprising that I would reach for the scissors and start cutting up these sources. Now I do something with collage almost every day. I'm eager to share my enthusiasm for collage. It has such potential for creativity and making paper Greed. Collages is a great place to start. Let's get started up next, we'll be talking about the materials you will need 2. Materials: you. Probably I already have many of the supplies you'll need. They're also cheap and non toxic, both of which are good. We can divide the material list into two parts paper and everything else. Let's start with the non paper items. Tools for measuring, barking, erasing, cutting, brewing metal rulers air Good because they have a straight edge. This one is especially useful because the inch measurements are in both sides. To make marks on your backgrounds and measure and cut out squares, I'd recommend these pencil. I use a mechanical pencil pens, the micron and sharp ear permanent and a ballpoint pen. If you're using newsprint, you'll want to avoid the markers because they will soak into the paper of thes. I use a mechanical pencil the most. You can also use the pens to make lines or other decorative marks on your paper. You're using a pencil, then you also want to have an eraser for cutting. Scissors are essential. They can be any size things. Paris. Good for larger areas, blades or something you might want to use. The snap off knife came from a 99 cent store. It's very handy thing exact. It has the sharp points, which is sometimes useful to glue. The squares down will be using a glue stick. Things purple one is visible when you use it, then dries clear. I like that. Optional supplies for gluing are Matt medium and a paintbrush. This can be used to it here, the squares and also to smooth surfaces. You want to use an old paintbrush because Matt Medium, it's water soluble, but it will ruin the brush. If you find that you like making collages and I hope you will, I recommend the family size of Matt Medium. It's quite inexpensive and lasts a long time. A long time for paper you can. Here's almost anything. Your choice depends on what kind of kalash you'd like to make. Do you want to have a theme like squares that have similar textures or colors? Would you like your collage to use recognizable elements like faces, letters or numbers? Make sure you have enough paper for a few extra squares. This will give you more options when you're arranging your piece. Here's some types of paper that I've used for collage wallpaper, which could be used for squares or background newspaper pages. The colors could be surprisingly complex, almost like watercolors. Fashion magazines, which contained bright colors, pictures of people on lots of patterns and textures. On these index cards, I painted some quick shapes and ink. Like the wallpaper, they could be used for squares or background. These old fated book pages have a lot of personality. Maps are another material you might you might try. You can add another layer of meaning to your collage by using a map from a place that has significance for you. This map is from a part of Brooklyn that's not too far from where I live. This is a large fashion photo and add from the back of a newspaper. I decided to paint simple flowers like daisies, someone dark gray and someone white on part of the background. And on another magazine page, the flowers echoed the dress the model is wearing, which has a botanical pattern of browns, yellows and white. In the next lesson, we'll talk about making the squares 3. Making the Squares: We're going to be using square pieces of paper for the great collages. It will measure either one inch square or 1.5 inches square. Smaller squares, which were especially versatile, can be used to make a small collage for larger one with more information and detail. It can also be used to make square collages of other sizes are rectangle of your choosing. Your only limitation is the size of the paper you're using as a base. I don't suggest working much smaller than an inch, however, because it encourages of fussiness that is more about exactness and the gluing of tiny and difficult pieces of paper rather than experience in collage. Let's go over some of the techniques you can use to make paper squares, thistles my dream to own a paper cutter. But most of us don't have one, so we'll be using rulers, pencils, pens and scissors or a cutting blade to make our squares for the great collages. We're going to cut some squares first. Newsprint. I'm making a straight edge. This ruler has matching measurements on both sides, so it's good for making squares and rectangles. I'm match up the two sides then flip it over to makes marks on it. I don't want to use a marker because it might bleed through the paper, so I'll use pencil. I'll make a market one inch, then another. They're kind of hard to see. Usually I cut one at a time because it's more accurate. But if you have another system that's fine. I'll use the sides of the ruler to devil check. It will be slightly larger than an inch. I'll talk more about this in a moment. You could also use scissors for any of this cutting, but you'll get a straighter line with a ruler and a cutting blade. It's your preference here. We have a map. It will be good to use for abstract purposes. I like the color and patterns. I'll cut along one edge. - Then I'll cut toward the middle to make a smaller piece. That's easier to work with. This is like copy paper so I can make pencil marks and race them later. Too. Little marking lines are enough. I'm not going for exactness. Oops, I slipped a little at the end. No matter will cut squares from the other end. I'll make a pencil line, then cut by matching up the sides of the ruler. Even it up. Let me erase the pencil marks as we go along. As I see them, I'll make one more square. I have a choice here. I could use the front or the other side, this interesting kind of orangey. There you go. We're starting to accumulate some squares that could be incorporated into different collages. When you're cutting out the squares, you want them to be just a little larger than the square where you're going to be blowing so that the lines on your background sheet don't show. When you draw a square or other close space there, several parts to the line. Specifically, there's an inside and an outside. Imagine. The square is an enlarged, exaggerated version of one you've measured and marked for grid collage. Middle of the line correlates most closely with what you've drawn. If you cut on, the inside square will be a little smaller than this. On the outside, it will be a little larger, and that's what we want. In order to hide the background and template lines, and also to make the grade collage easier to assemble. Next up will be talking about the grid collage background 4. Making the Background: the background paper. The sheet where you'll be glowing your squares does not need to be heavy. If you're using the glue stick for your first collages, copy paper will work fine. I've made a set of background templates with grid lines on them you can download and use so that you can see the lines clearly in this video printed thes with heavier lines. When you print out the templates, you'll note that the lines air faint so there's less chance they'll be visible in your finished piece. The first is a square that is four across and four down the size of the squares used to make this are 1.5 inch square. This might look simple with not many squares, but you can include easily visible information like photos and text. In a square this size, it can make an effective illustration or art piece. Next is a variation on the previous template. It's also four across and four down. What has spaces between the squares 75 square inches. Sometimes you're elements will need a bit of breathing room, and you won't want all the squares to be touching other squares. I've seen this format used to show sequences. It also resembles a window frame. This one is comprised of one inch squares, five across and down, 25 square inches large. This size is large enough to contain a lot of information and other elements like color and pattern. Finally, there's the six by six square that is made of 36 smaller squares like the five by five grid . It's a great format for making a complex image. On the downside, he might find that you need to come up with too many squares. I think you'll find the selection of templates useful to get started making good collages. You can also draw your own grid lines on any kind of paper. There's also graph paper, which tends to be thin but is otherwise ready to use. If you find a background with grid lines confining, you can wing it and blew the squares toe a blank sheet of paper without any lines to guide you. Maybe you want to use a page with images. If you're thinking about making an orderly and neat collage, you want to have more guidelines, and you'll also be more careful about following them. If you like things freeform. You may be fine with the less detailed grid on your background shape for heavier paper. Bristol Board, which comes in pads, is my go to paper for many projects. Thicker and born durable within copier paper or index cards, it will stand up to drawing, gluing and other processes like painting. I find that 8.5 by 11 card stock is also a useful paper to have around for backgrounds Here on a large index card, I'm going to make a plus sign in the next lesson. I use this as a guide for making a small, whether minimalist collage with only four squares, because I'll be using another kind of glue Matt Medium that has painted on. I won't be using a template. It would be great to have some of these marked up big index cards around so you could dash off a small, great collage. If supplies are accessible and ready to go, there's more chance you'll have creative moments. Stay tuned for the lesson on composing and glowing 5. Gluing the Squares: this lesson is where all your preparation comes together will be gluing squares and composing the image. You'll be making creative decisions for May. This part of making grid collages is especially fun. I like moving the squares around trying different arrangements before blowing them down. Thes three sheets of scribbles are what I'm using to demonstrate gluing the pieces of a collage. By this point, you may be asking yourself why Paper collage? Why not do this on the computer? I spend enough time on the computer, so I like making art with my hands. With paper. Great collages. You could be so precise in your cutting and gluing that it resembles a computer graphic. Most of us don't have the patience for that, though a paper collage has a handmade us that it. The beauty of them is partly derived from their imperfection to glue the squares down, just making X with the glue stick on the background where you want the square to go, then place the square down and press lightly. If you're using a template as the background, try to cover the lines of the grid with the paper. Square composition is the term for the arrangement of the elements of an artwork. We're not going to get technical here or talk about art historical formulas such as the rule of thirds or the golden ratio. I'm going to share the decisions I may cause. I put together a collage. My goal is to achieve a balance of different parts of the picture. For example, if you put tiny figures floating in a large white background, it would look strange and incomplete. If you use dark colors just on one side of your picture, it might look weighted down or lopsided. You want to make a visual path for your viewer so that when someone looks at your collage, their eyes will travel around the image you want them to think. Oh, this area is interesting. Look, something similar is going on over here. Think about the relationships between objects instead of using two similar squares. What if one is a slightly different color or texture? You want to keep it interesting and avoid monotony. For many artists, composition is a combination of conscious decisions and intuition. We like the look of some images, and we don't know why it's natural. Interesting composition is one of the reasons were drawn to particular artworks. Before gluing, you can assemble your agreed collage partially or fully as you wish. If you're using the glue stick, it's especially easy to pull off squares and replace them with another. Or you can just glue another square on top of one you want to replace. Here's another, more permanent way to adhere the squares to the paper With Matt Medium. I'm going to use the index card with a plus sign on it as X and Y axes that I showed you in the previous lesson. The collage is going to be simple. Only four squares and all each is two by two inches. I've laid these out ahead of time. I went through numerous fashion magazines to find what I was looking for and made a couple dozen squares and edited them down to thes shown here. The image in the squares is hair on a one color background and the first collage. I want the hairdos to meet along the centre line and form a totally new shape, and one of the collages they look like leaves to glue these. I use a paintbrush to put down a Finnish layer of Matt Medium. After the square is in position, I paint the top with Matt Medium to smooth it down. If the glue seems thick, dip your paintbrush quickly in the water. The second piece here is more abstract. Thean Mages of Hair are moved to the sides like the curtains of a stage. Another facet of composition is color. That's something you need to consider as you're putting together your collages with these hair images. I made the decision to have the backgrounds be muted compared to the hair, so that the elements would not compete visually with each other. For me, the subtle differences between some of these squares is compelling. In a quiet way, I want to viewer to first donuts the shapes of the hair, perhaps recognize what the images are of, then taken the tones of the background. After these demonstrations, are you ready to start making some paper grade collages 6. Bonus Assembling Freeform Collage: thanks for having a look at this bonus paper grade collage video. I'm going to show you a free form collage in how it was put together. What I mean by that is I'll be gluing down a paper grid collage with minimal grid lines. This collage is a combination of rules and chaos. Like the minimalist hair collages. I will start with the background that has a simple plus sign on it. My organizing principle is that the smaller eyes will be toward the middle and move out to the larger ones. The squares are the smaller size one inch. By now you're getting very familiar with these. Matt Medium is what I'll be using to go them down. I'm selecting the squares at random, and then when I put them down there, overlapping just a little with the Jason squares, the parts might come together in an appealing way or not. When I begin a collage, there is no guarantee about the results. With this one. I accept that it's going to be a little unruly, less organized. I'm arranging by intuition, not thinking too much. I associate eyes with the process of seeing, which is obviously important to the making and viewing of art. And I like the shape and range of the eyes you see in magazines. There's an endless variety. Unlike the other grid collages, two things stand out with this one. It has some blank squares in the outside. Edges are jagged, not in a straight line. Overall, I think it's looking pretty good. I'll come back to it later and have another look and see if there are any squares that don't fit in with the composition. 7. Last Steps and Final Project: before we talk about optional finishing steps for your paper. Great collage. I'd like to say Thank you for taking my class also. Congratulations. You've made it to the end of the course. I hope you do the class project, which is to make your own paper great collage. Use the temple if you'd like, but that's optional. The main thing is to glue down some squares and see what happens. Have fun and be creative. Seeing the work of others is often very inspiring. It's a wonderful thing that our creations will exhibit a wide variety of styles and choices . While I've been speaking a slide show of paper, great collages has been on the screen. Some of these will be familiar from the demonstrations. Finally, I want to give you a couple of suggestions about how to finish your collages to take them to the next level. Scanning will really unify the elements of your collage. Also, if you used a glue stick, your collage might be a little fragile, so that's another reason to scan it. Visually scanning blends all the small squares into a cohesive piece of work. All of the collages I've shared in these videos have been photographed, obviously. So to understand what I'm talking about, you'll have to give it a try. Scan one of your images and see what you think. He may be pleasantly surprised with how the pieces of your grid seems to magically come together. I'm not saying everything you try will be a beauty, but this type of paper collage doesn't take long to put together. And usually the paper elements are not so rare and special. It's kind of liberating to terrible collage and make a new one. But or yet wait a day until you throw it out. Sometimes you might be critical in the moment and later realized that you've made something you want to save. The second thing you might want to dio is use a photo editing program to make the outlines of the collage straight. That's the extent of the editing Ideo. You're creating a reproduction which can be printed out or shared electronically with my collages. I don't think of theory Genel as being more valuable or authentic than the scans. All right, it's your turn now. I encourage you to do the project. I'm eager to see what you'll make