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Guest Post: Tips to Integrate Your Collage by Seth Apter


5 Tips to Integrate Your Collage

My goal for every collage is to take a group of distinct elements and turn them into a single, unified whole. One of the ways to do this is by integrating all the individual pieces so that your collage looks like something more than simply small bits of paper (or other material) glued to a larger surface.

Here are 5 easy ways to create a collage that is cohesive and a seamless whole.

Splatter: Mix acrylic paint with a small amount of water and add random splatters by either flicking a paint brush or rubbing the bristles of a tooth brush. Hint: remove some of the excess paint on your brush by first splattering onto a random surface. This way you will end up with subtle splatter and not big blotches on your artwork.

Dry Brush: Apply a small amount of white gesso onto your brush and randomly dry brush over the elements on your collage. Be "purposely random" so that you do not end up with gesso lines. Hint: mix the gesso with your choice of color of acrylic paint if you would prefer to add an extra layer of color rather than white.

Connection: Connect all the disparate pieces of the collage with either hand drawn marks (lines, dots, dashes, etc) or very thin strips of paper. Hint: use very light marks and/or colors that match the background so that the connections are more subtle.

Edging: Chose collage fragments that have jagged, curved or torn edges rather than linear edges. Hint: if you do end up with many hard edges in your "finished" collage, soften the look by adding small pieces of torn paper, shreds of fabric, stitching, or random marks to the edges of the collage fragments.

Color: Create a glaze by mixing fluid acrylic paint and acrylic glazing liquid. Brush over the entire surface of the collage. Hint: quickly wipe off random sections of the glazing layer with a paper towel or rag to add more visual interest to the collage.


Seth marche headshot 2 thumbSeth Apter is a mixed media artist, instructor, author and designer from New York City. His artwork has been exhibited in multiple exhibitions and can be found in numerous books, independent zines, and national magazines. He is the voice behind The Pulse, a series of international, collaborative projects that are the basis for his books "The Pulse of Mixed Media: Secrets and Passions of 100 Artists Revealed" and "The Mixed-Media Artist: Art Tips, Tricks, Secrets and Dreams From Over 40 Amazing Artists", both released by North Light Books. Seth is the artist behind two workshop DVDs: Easy Mixed Media Surface Techniques and Easy Mixed Media Techniques for the Art Journal, also from North Light. His live workshops have been held throughout the United States, Mexico and Australia. He is a member of CHA, a blogger for Spellbinders Paper Arts, and a stencil designer for StencilGirl Products. 

To learn more about Seth, visit his blog at and his website at

This post originally appeared on his blog in 2013.