"We can never have enough of nature."
Henry David Thoreau

Nature Collage
© 2000 Nita Leland

Nature collage is such a delight. Not only is it appealing to artists and adult craftspeople, but it is also great fun for children. On occasion I've even worked with groups of children and it's amazing to see how their creativity blossoms when they work with natural materials. Nature collage makes a great project for celebration of Earth Day--call it an Ecology Collage event and your day will be a winner. The best part is that the materials are so easy to gather.
whirlwind nature collage

  • leaves, nuts, twigs, shells, sand, coral, small stones, gemstones
  • Dried materials, flowers and such, are better than fresh ones.
  • assorted recycled papers, fibers, old magazines
  • white glue, acrylic medium or glue stick
  • gel or heavy gel for heavier items
  • scissors (optional)
  • cardboard, paper, poster or illustration board for support (Coat on both sides with acrylic medium to seal.)

Unify your collage by giving it a theme: the seashore, the woods in autumn, trees, for example. Gather more materials than you think you need, so you'll have plenty of choices. You'll change your mind a lot as you assemble your collage. Clean your materials of loose dirt, wipe them off with a damp cloth if necessary and if there is any oily residue on them, wipe with alcohol. Then encase the objects in a layer of acrylic medium to seal them.

Apply papers as a background, using colors that harmonize with your objects. Arrange your objects on the support, and when you have a design you like, adhere them with acrylic medium or gel, depending on the size and weight of the objects. If necessary, coat the entire collage with medium to seal it.

There are more nature collages in my collage gallery with descriptions of how I made them: "Sea Shapes", "Whirlwind," and "Canada".

For more collage ideas see The New Creative Artist and New Creative Collage Techniques.

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