5 Key Mixed Media Collage Techniques for Beginners
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 6 min read


  1. Working with Collage Papers
  2. How to Mix Different Mediums
  3. Layering Technique in Collage
  4. Implementing Textures
  5. Using Found Objects

Embarking on the journey of mixed media collage painting can be a fun-filled exploration of creativity. Whether you're a seasoned artist or a beginner, there's always something new to learn. In this blog, we'll dive into five key techniques that can take your mixed media collages from good to great. Our step-by-step guide is like a mini mixed media collage painting tutorial that will help you hone your skills and add more depth to your art pieces.

Working with Collage Papers

Let's kick things off with the basics: working with collage papers. Whether you're creating a simple paper collage or a complex mixed media piece, your choice of collage papers can make or break your artwork.

Choosing the Right Collage Papers

When choosing collage papers, consider the mood or theme you want to convey. Vibrant, glossy magazine pages can add a pop of color, while vintage book pages add a touch of nostalgia. Here are some pointers:

  • Experiment with different types of paper: Use a mix of smooth, textured, thin, and thick papers. This will give your collage an interesting variety.
  • Consider the color and pattern: Choose papers that complement each other in color and pattern, but don't be afraid to throw in a few wild cards. They can make your collage more exciting.

Preparing Your Collage Papers

Once you've selected your papers, the next step is to prepare them for your collage. This is a vital step in our mixed media collage painting tutorials.

  1. Cut or tear your papers into the desired shapes and sizes. You can use scissors for clean edges, or tear the papers by hand for a more organic look.
  2. Arrange the papers on your canvas or board. Play around with different arrangements until you find one that you like.
  3. Glue the papers down using a brush and some collage medium or Mod Podge. Make sure to smooth out any air bubbles.

Remember, mixed media collage painting is all about experimenting and having fun. Don't be afraid to try different techniques and materials. You might be surprised at what you can create!

How to Mix Different Mediums

Mixing different mediums is where the real magic happens in mixed media collage painting. It's like being a chef in a kitchen, experimenting with various ingredients to create a delicious dish. In this segment of our mixed media collage painting tutorials, we'll discuss how to effectively mix different mediums.

Understanding Different Mediums

Before you start mixing, it's important to understand the characteristics of different mediums. Here are a few examples:

  • Acrylic Paint: Known for its versatility and bright colors, acrylic paint dries quickly and can be diluted with water or mixed with mediums to create different effects.
  • Watercolor: Watercolors are transparent and create a light, airy feel. They're great for adding soft backgrounds or subtle washes of color.
  • Pastels: Pastels can be used to add vibrant colors and a soft, chalky texture to your collage.

Mixing Mediums: Do's and Don'ts

Now that we know a little about different mediums, let's talk about how to mix them effectively:

  1. Do start with light layers. It's easier to add more than it is to take away.
  2. Don't mix water-based mediums with oil-based mediums. They don't play well together.
  3. Do allow each layer to dry completely before adding the next. This prevents smudging and muddying of colors.
  4. Don't be afraid to experiment. The beauty of mixed media collage painting lies in the limitless possibilities.

With these tips, you'll be well on your way to mastering the art of mixing mediums. Remember, the goal is not perfection, but expression. So, grab your art supplies, let your creativity run wild, and see what happens!

Layering Technique in Collage

Layering is a fundamental part of the mixed media collage painting process. It's like building a sandwich. Each ingredient—or in this case, each layer—adds depth, complexity, and flavor to the final product. Let's dive into some layering techniques for your mixed media collage painting tutorials.

Starting with a Base Layer

The base layer is like the bread of your collage sandwich. It sets the foundation for everything else. Here's how to create an effective base:

  • Choose your surface: This could be a canvas, cardstock, or even a piece of wood.
  • Apply a primer: This prepares the surface and helps the subsequent layers adhere better.
  • Add a base color or texture: This could be a layer of paint, a piece of fabric, or a collage of paper scraps. It's up to you!

Building Up Layers

Once your base is ready, it's time to start building up layers. Here's how:

  1. Add your medium: This could be paint, ink, pastels, or anything else you like. Remember to let each layer dry before adding the next.
  2. Play with texture: Add interest to your collage by incorporating different textures. This could be achieved with materials like fabric, lace, or even sand.
  3. Consider composition: Think about how your layers interact with each other. Do they create balance? Do they lead the viewer's eye around the piece?

Layering is an exciting and creative process. It's a chance to experiment, express yourself, and create something truly unique. So, go ahead and start building your collage sandwich. Happy layering!

Implementing Textures

The world of mixed media collage painting is a playground for the senses, especially when it comes to texture. Textures can add a whole new dimension to your pieces, making them touchable, tangible, and even more visually interesting. Let's explore some ways to incorporate texture into your mixed media collage painting tutorials.

Using Texture Mediums

Texture mediums are a great way to add depth and dimension to your collage. Here are some ways you can use them:

  1. Apply texture paste: Texture paste, available in craft stores, can be applied with a palette knife or brush. Once dry, it can be painted over to create an eye-catching textured surface.
  2. Experiment with modeling paste: Modeling paste is thicker than texture paste and can be sculpted into 3D shapes. It’s perfect for adding bold, tactile elements to your collage.
  3. Try crackle medium: Crackle medium creates a weathered, cracked effect when painted over. It's perfect for adding a vintage or distressed look to your collage.

Texturizing with Collage Materials

Another way to add texture is by the materials you choose to include in your collage. Here are some suggestions:

  • Paper: Different types of paper can create different textures. Think corrugated card, tissue paper, or even old book pages.
  • Fabric: From smooth silk to rough burlap, the possibilities with fabric are endless.
  • Natural materials: Don't limit yourself to what you can find in the craft store. Nature is full of textural inspiration. Consider incorporating leaves, bark, or dried flowers into your collage.

Texture in mixed media collage painting is all about creativity and experimentation. So feel free to get your hands dirty and let your imagination run wild. The possibilities are endless!

Using Found Objects

When it comes to mixed media collage painting tutorials, found objects can be your best friends. Found objects are basically anything you've discovered that wasn't initially intended for art-making but can be incorporated into your collage. Let's talk about how you can discover and use these unexpected treasures.

Finding Your Objects

Where can you find these objects? The answer is: just about anywhere! Here are some places to start:

  1. Home: You'd be surprised how many artful treasures are hidden in your own home. Old buttons, broken jewelry, fabric scraps, or even discarded packaging can become part of your collage.
  2. Thrift Stores: Thrift stores are treasure troves of quirky and unique items. Look for old postcards, vintage photos, or interesting trinkets.
  3. Nature: The great outdoors is full of free art supplies. Consider feathers, seashells, stones, or twigs.

Incorporating Found Objects into Your Collage

Once you've gathered your found objects, it's time to incorporate them into your artwork. Here's how:

  • Consider Composition: Think about where your found objects fit best in your collage. They can be the star of the show or play a supporting role.
  • Secure Them Properly: Depending on the weight and material of the found object, you might need strong glue, wire, or even a drill to secure them to your collage.
  • Paint Over Them: Don’t be afraid to paint over your found objects. This can help integrate them into the overall piece and create a cohesive look.

Remember, when it comes to using found objects in your mixed media collage painting, there are no rules. If it speaks to you, use it! After all, one person’s trash is another person’s art supply.

If you're excited to learn more about mixed media collage techniques, we highly recommend checking out the workshop 'Creative Mixed Processes: From Traditional Sketches to Large Murals' by Bryan Sánchez M. This workshop will guide you through various creative mixed processes, helping you take your mixed media collages to new heights and expand your artistic horizons.