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How to Finish a Collage

Updated February 21, 2017

A collage uses bits and pieces of different elements to create a new work of art. Those diverse elements might include newspaper clippings, words cut from magazines, portions of photographs and fabrics and ribbons. The technique dates back to 200 B.C., around the time paper was invented. Collage takes its name from "coller," the French verb for "to glue."

Place the elements of the collage in position for final arrangement. Choose an appropriate backing. Common elements include paper, foam core board, mat board, canvas or wood surfaces.

Laminate your collage. Use laminating film according to the manufacturer's instructions. Fit the film to the collage and seal it with the laminating machine.

Coat a collage with a clear gloss spray fixative. Work outdoors on a warm, dry day or work indoors in a ventilated area. Wear a respirator mask. Make sure the collage backing is strong enough to stand up to the fixative.

Arrange the collage on a wood surface and secure the pieces in place with adhesive on the underside. Brush on several coats of clear varnish over the collage and the surrounding surface. Allow each coat to dry before adding another.

Make sure that the collage is well sealed with laminate, fixative or varnish to protect it from the elements. Consider varnish for a durable finish.

Display the collage on the wall or place it on an easel. Set it out of the way of direct sunlight, which may discolor the laminating film or fixative.

Things You'll Need

  • Laminating film and laminator
  • Spray fixative
  • Varnish
  • Respirator mask
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