How to Make a Collage Lamination

HD Collage lamination by Pam Young

Looking for an easy, beautiful home decor project? A collage lamination hanging is colourful, charming and very fun to do! To make one, you will need the following materials. (You can visit our Downtown Courtenay store or check our online @http://south-hollow-gallery.myshopify.com/collections/specialty-paper-thailand?page=3 to see our amazing selection of silk mulberry papers.)

You will need:

A large flat working surface

Light plastic protective sheet to cover work surface

One sheet of clear PVC plastic sheeting, 0 .01mm thickness (Transvy) cut to size (slightly smaller than paper to allow some overlap of finished artwork)

One sheet of silk mulberry or similar weight paper for background

Additional silk mulberry or similar weight paper in other colours as needed

Container of clean water and artist paint brush

Diluted white glue (mix 50/50 with water or up to 2 parts water to one part white glue)

Foam brush 2” – 3” width

Grommets (3)

Raffia to tie artwork to bamboo pole

Bamboo pole 4” – 6” wider than finished artwork (optional)

 

To create your collage lamination (also refer to photos below):

Protect your work surface with plastic – split clear garbage bags work well for this.

Choose an image for reference (or just use your imagination) and background paper.

Lay down Transvy and background paper and centre paper on Transvy. Then flip over so that background paper is protected under the Transvy.

Use the artist paint brush and water to “paint” a line along one of the border edges. Once the water line has soaked through, go along the wet edge and gently pull off the straight edge to create a soft border. Do this for all four edges to create a deckle-edge effect.

Starting now and throughout this project, only use scissors if you need to cut through a particularly strong silk strand. Straight cut edges can stand out in the design and look harsh. Rough edges not only add a soft look to the finished image, they allow the dyes in the paper to mix better with the wet glue. This is important for creating bleeding and dye blending effects when working with varying colours later.

Now it’s time to develop your design. Look at (or think about) your image and mentally break it down into basic shapes – circles, triangles, squares, rectangles. Choose coloured papers for these shapes. Plan to have several of each shape so you can layer them for some interesting effects including the illusion of 3D. Expect some of the colours to run, especially dark ones, so plan the order of layers accordingly.

Remember to leave room at the top of your design for the grommets that form part of the hanging structure. You want to avoid having the grommet holes go through your design.

“Cut” the shapes out by using the wet paint brush and technique to “paint” around their edges (as you would usually cut with scissors). Use your fingertips to gently pull out the shapes. Repeat until you have all the pieces you’ll need for your collage image. Now set all these pieces aside – it’s time to glue your design together. (You can also try tearing out your shapes – just no scissors.)

Make sure your background paper is centred under the Transvy with margins evenly balanced. Now grasp the Transvy and paper with both hands and flip the piece over again so paper is now up.

Fold the top half of your paper towards you. Using the sponge brush, spread an even layer of the diluted white glue over the complete surface of the Transvy (reminder: white glue mixed 50/50  with water or up to one part white glue to 2 parts water).

Replace the top half of the paper, gently flatten it out then spread another layer of diluted glue over the upper half surface of the paper. Repeat process for bottom half of background paper. HINT: Be generous when applying glue; it will dry clear so you go ahead and really soak the papers.

Now you can rebuild your design, laying each shape in place and working from the background forward (ie. put down the areas that would be farthest away from you FIRST). Don’t worry about putting the pieces EXACTLY where you’d planned. The shapes may shift as you glue them down. Plus a loose, relaxed feel is part of the beauty of this type of art. Soak each piece with the glue mixture as you put it down and continue to add layers. And once in a while during this process, apply more glue to the background paper. The paper dyes flow best when the papers are kept wet from start to finish.

Extra hints: For a more 3 dimensional effect, crunch the paper shapes a bit before setting them down and applying the glue. If you’d like the shape to be a pastel colour, use only one layer for that shape. But if you want deep colour, plan to add two or three layers of the same shape. You can also try using two or three different colours for the same shape – often paper dyes will run together and blend into additional hues. If you need to define an area, try outlining it with a very thin line of contrasting colour. You can get some interesting effects by laying a strip of white across coloured areas – the white goes translucent but the silk strands often pick up colours from the layer below. To produce an even looser image, consider letting parts of your design run off the edges a bit. Once your design is finished, apply one last layer of glue mixture.

You’ll need to let your artwork dry over a day or two. This is a several-step process. When you see the edges of your background paper are thoroughly dry to the edges of the Transvy, you can VERY CAREFULLY run your fingers along between the protective plastic and the dry paper to free the Transvy/collage from the plastic. This will allow the entire collage to dry more quickly. Optional: Once the top papers are dry, you can flip the whole thing over so the back can dry faster. When totally dry, the piece usually curls up at the ends.

Decide where you want to place 3 grommets across the top. The weight of your collage lamination will be hanging from these grommets, so it’s important that the grommets go through both the mulberry paper and the Transvy. Try to leave at least one inch  (2-3 cm) from grommet to edge of Transvy/paper. Once the grommets are done, use your fingertips to carefully peel the top paper layer from the underlying Transvy. Tie raffia through the grommets and hang the collage from the bamboo pole.

Enjoy the beauty you’ve created!