Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Spring fairy collage }{ Tutorial Thursdays

I mentioned just a while ago that I love to make mixed media collages. Since they take a bit longer than my usual projects and stretch my creativity a bit more as well, I don't do them as often. They end up taking a lot out of me.

But, they are also so much fun. That's why for today's tutorial I want to share how I made my latest collage  "spring fairy."

N. and I have been taking some walks and collecting flowers for our flower press lately. We're running out of space so I've been thinking what could be done with the flowers. I'm going to share one of the projects this coming Monday on The Caffeine Coquette where I'm a network writer. But I still had some, so I decided to make a small collage.

The issue is that they always start small until a sudden burst of inspiration erupts and I can't stop. I'll spend hours and days working on it, thinking about it while cooking, before bed, while driving... That's what happened today. I ended up working on this piece for four hours.... And that's very quick for my collages, haha! The style here has been influenced by two of my favorite artists: Shona Cole (the background) and especially Julie Nutting (the girl). Enough talking, let's get going.

One piece of caution - this isn't a tutorial for kids necessarily, though I'm sure older kids can easily do this as well. For younger children too, all you need is a bit of adjustment.


  • pre-gessoed canvas (but you can experiment with different surfaces - I often use cardboard or wood scraps) 
  • 3 colors of acrylic paints (I used red, pink, and yellow)
  • old shopping/calling/credit card
  • packing bubbles
  • glossy mail order catalogue
  • scissors
  • glue
  • ribbon
  • buttons
  • yarn
  • pressed flowers

Step 1: Making the background. Drip a little of each paint throughout the canvas.  Of course, the dominant colors will be the ones you use the most of. I put lots of pink and yellow with just a bit of red because I wanted the background a little lighter.

Step 2: Creating texture on the background. There are several ways to create texture on an acrylic background, and this is one of my favorites. While the paint is still wet, take the packing bubbles and press them in several locations on the canvas. Let the paint dry.

Step 3: Making the girl. There are several mini steps here.

  • draw a girl figure.
  • Cut out the different parts that you want to have different patterns.
  • Trace those parts on different patterns from the glossy mail order catalogue. I used different colors and patterns for the dress and print for the fairy's skin.
  • Cut out the catalogue parts on the inside of the lines you traced.

Step 4: Putting the girl together. Once you have all the parts, putting the girl together works like a puzzle. You just glue each part where it's supposed to go on the canvas. I suggest trying it in different places and perspectives before actually using glue.

Step 5: Adding other elements to the girl. I painted her cheeks with a tiny little bit of pink watered down paint. For a sash, I used ribbon and a button. Then came the hair... I originally thought of cutting the hair out of the magazine, but decided it would look better with long green yarn.

Step 6: Adding the final elements to the background. I added some of our pressed flowers and leaves to the canvas (now dry).

This last step is the one part I should have slept on before finishing. I would have done the arrangement differently given the chance. But... in the interest of sharing it with you guys, here is the result as it stands now.

It's going on top of N.'s shelves in her play area.

If you want to try this with younger children (and I see no reason not to!), I suggest letting them do the background, the bubble wrapping press, and the gluing of the different elements. The result may come out super funky, but that's even better! All you have to do in preparation is to cut the different elements making sure they are big and simple enough for the child to put together. Also, have a hair drier handy to dry the acrylic quickly once the spread the paint on the canvas.

I hope you all like today's tutorial, long winded as it is. Can you tell I just love collages?


  1. Now - how cool is this?! I love the idea you clever woman! :-)

    Did you get around to any dessert making yesterday? :-)

  2. Wow - this is amazing. I've never seen something like this broken down into steps.

  3. Holy crap, this is so cool. I love fairies (anything that has to do with them) so this is a favorite post! :)

  4. I always get inspired every time I come here! :)