Sunday, March 29, 2015

Using Throw-Away Pictures in Collage, Part 2

Wipe off the grit from the sandpaper before adding color
 In my last post, we had sand-papered the throw-away photo of clouds. Next, take a slightly damp paper towel and wipe away the powdery grit, see how the lines from the sandpaper look, and add more if you want to. If not, you are ready to add color.

Add colors wherever you want, but especially over the lines.

I usually use oil pastels, my go-to art supply, but you can try inks, for example, or other supplies you have on hand that can be rubbed into the scratches. Keep in mind if you use anything powdery, like soft pastels, you'll have to use a fixative on them later. Here, you can see that I have added various oil pastel colors to my scratched photograph. On the table in the upper right is a blender, another handy tool for use with oil pastels. It mixes colors without changing their intensity.

I use my fingers to blend, wipe off, and push the color into the scratches, and adding more color if I feel like it. If you are one of those people who doesn't like to get your hands dirty, use a make up sponge to blend.

A group of altered photographs ready to use. On the far left, the
photo of my hands tore as I peeled it. All the better!
That's really all there is to it. It's easy to use throw-away pictures or glossy magazine images to create your own collage papers. All that remains now is to peel the paper backing off the back of the photo. I do this because it makes the photo more like paper, making it easier to glue or stitch it in place on your collage. Just pick a corner, and start to peel. If it's an old picture, you might need to mist it a little bit with water to pick the backing off. Once it is peeled, you can dampen and crumple it, adding further lines to the surface. That's how I treated the Eiffel Tower photo, below. I then tore it up to fit the mat that I had.
La Tour Eiffel, in Paris. This collage was created with an altered, sand-papered photo.
This collage, and others, are available in my etsy shop, NoMoonNight.


  1. Great Technique! I love scratched photos.

  2. And I keep meaning to tell you that I like your banner and its message about unexpected connections.

  3. Thanks, Clare! As for the banner, it was "clipped" from an image of an old quilt called The Day Momma Died. I, too, like the detail.