how to make a bird collage

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Feel free to listen to music, This episode of Circle Round, Little Cu”, or silence while making!

In this tutorial youll learn about Robert Indiana and how he used text in his art and how to make your own Bird Collage*

ART PLAY. Its all about EXPERIMENTS. CARVING OUT creative space & time for yourself feels good.

The point to this activity is PROCESS- not necessarily PRODUCT- though a nice product will often come of it as well. Plan on playing & experimenting with art techniques & supplies. The art supplies for this class were chosen because they are fairly basic and you can play with these techniques for, lets be honest… the rest of your life… Enjoy!

*Please note, this tutorial will be sharing the technique, not necessarily teaching you how to make the exact that is pictured- you may choose to put your powerful words on a t-shirt, if so , follow the directions on any t-shirt transfer product.

Supplies needed to make a mini art collage

  • Cardboard: I used some old packaging; anything substantial or corrugated works well.
  • Paper leftovers: magazine pages, old birthday cards, old book pages, scrapbook paper, etc.
  • A pretty paper napkin – optional
  • Ribbon is a fantastic use for the loops of ribbon that hang off new tops and dresses.
  • PVA glue or Mod Podge
  • Scissors
  • A brown or black sharpie
  • Template: I share my templates on Google Drive, but occasionally it acts a little strangely. Please let me know if you have any trouble downloading the template.

Preparing the collage base

Start by cutting 3” squares from your cardboard. You can obviously make yours any size you like, but the 3″ square is a cute little size that doesn’t require a lot of work. You need 2 squares for each mini collage.

To facilitate easier spreading, dilute PVA glue very slightly with a tiny bit of water if you’re using it. You won’t need to do that if you are using Mod Podge. One of the squares should be covered with glue before being layered with torn paper. I used pages from an old book that was damaged, but you could also use old magazines, packing paper, wrapping paper, etc. The inside of a business envelope with a gentle pattern would be nice; I’ll try that the next time.

When additional glue is required to secure everything, add it and let it slightly dry.

When it’s mostly dry, flip the cardboard square you covered over, add more glue, and fold all the frayed edges to the wrong side. Leave to dry again.

You can either leave it as is or embellish your collage base with additional patterns.

I created two collages using pretty paper napkins and two using magazine cutouts. I managed to cut out some stems, leaves, and flowers from the nice portion of a craft magazine page that was clearly misprinted in some way and had a large grey border along the side.

Gently apply a second coat of glue to the entire square, the cutouts, and the paper napkin, separating it so that you are only working with the very thin top layer. It will rip if you rub it or apply too much pressure.

Leave this to dry completely.

Making your collage birds

You can create your bird decorations as the base square dries.

Use the template provided here: bird template : or draw your own bird of course.

For every small art collage you create, cut out a bird shape from card. Cover the shape with glue and cover the paper. Leave to dry a little.

Cut out a wing from a contrast paper.

After cutting out the bird shape, add an eye and color the beak with a brown or black Sharpie. After positioning the wing, apply a layer of glue to the bird.

Before continuing, it is imperative that your elements—the base and the bird—be totally dry at this point. If the layers are still sticky when you press them together under a heavy book or two, you’re going to get into a hot mess!

how to make a bird collage

Attach the ends of a 16cm (6″ length of ribbon to the collage’s back using glue 1/2 “in from each edge to create a hanging loop. I used undiluted PVA for this. It was more than strong enough because these little collages are not heavy, but you could also use hot glue for this.

Add additional glue to the collage’s back and then the other, uncovered, 3-inch square of card.

Place one or two nice, heavy books on top of the small collages.

I placed the heavy books on top of my mini collages, which I had placed inside my notebook with the ribbon side showing.

They took about an hour to dry. Finish them off by gluing on the bird.

These birds are so adorable! However, if you arrange them as I have, with the tails jutting out, please take care not to bend them too much. If you take a little care, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem to fix it with a little card support at the back. If not, it’s not the end of the world.

how to make a bird collage