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Artuta Art Tips 4: Scrap Paper Collage 1

A cute red  at surrounded by flowers
Red cat scrap paper art

If you look around you, many things can be used to create art. Almost anything has the potential to become a piece of artwork! This Artuta Art Tip is about using unwanted or scrap paper to create something unique. We have so much material to work with all around us. Let’s start by going through our houses or apartments to find things we don’t need that could be used as art materials. Since I work mostly with paper in my own art practice, I usually go through my mail to find scrap paper that I could use to make art. I mostly look for patterns, textures, colors, and good paper quality.

This is what I found in my apartment that I think can use to create a piece for you today.

  • Saved wrapping paper from a box of chocolates

  • Security envelope with a cool pattern

  • Two catalogs (one for flowers and one for fancy furniture) * *The furniture catalog is on very nice thick paper

  • Half page advertisements with animal illustrations and cool color palettes

Multiple sheets of paper  needed for creation
Wrapping papers for creation

I love the animal illustrations on the Small Door advertisement and while flipping through the Annie’s catalog with images of different flowers, I got an idea of the image I’d like to create.

The fun and challenging thing about working with materials that you find is that you learn to work with what you have. Sometimes this forces you out of your comfort zone, which can be a good thing.

To start, I gathered the tools I think I will need for this project.

The tools are: Pencil, marker, scissors, glue, crayon, colored pencil

Your tools may be different from mine and sometimes you may add or adjust the tools you decide to use. For example when drawing on the red wrapping paper, I first used a pencil, but the line was too light and I could not see the marks. So I switched to a black marker, which worked a lot better on the foil wrapping paper.

I have been saving this wrapping paper because I like the texture and how it shines. The texture is almost like the trunk of a tree. You can decide the scale of your images based on how much material you have or want to use. In this case, I wanted to save this paper for other projects so I decided to draw in the corner. Do you have prized paper? Lol! Next time you are eating a piece of candy, take a closer look at the wrapper - it might make a good art material!

Do you see both the pencil and marker drawings on the wrapping paper? This is a character based loosely off of my dog. Her head is shaped like this and she was watching me while I was drawing. Do you have a character that you love drawing? I love drawing my dog and other animal friends. As you can see, I drew directly onto the wrapping paper creating an outline.

Next, I drew more shapes onto other scrap pieces of paper. I decided the colors of each shape based on the scrap paper I selected. I did this for every shape in my character.

Red Wrapping Paper in the Shape of a Cat

Then I cut out all the different pieces from the different scrap papers. Do you see a face? This is one way to reuse paper. Take the parts of the paper that you like most - the color or texture and create something completely different by piecing together multiple scrap paper!

Red cat and white cat made by wrapping paper

Another way to reuse scrap paper is to simply cut out the drawings or pictures that are already there. See the cat from the advertisement? I thought his expression was very funny and I wanted to use him somehow.

Next, I went through the flower catalog and started cutting out flowers of different sizes and colors. This took some time, because I wanted to cut close to the shape of the flowers.

Since the assignment is to reuse scrap materials and make art out of it, I decided to use a page from the furniture catalog as the base of my collage. The paper from this catalog is so nice and heavy, I knew it would be able to hold all the cut outs. I chose a page with an image that would be easier to cover. Then I went to town and started gluing.

As you can see, I created layers of the flowers and tried to place them as if they were growing in a field together. The doorway from the furniture catalog acted as a frame, which was a nice surprise. Do you see the cat from the Small Door advertisement? Do you see the other insects and birds?

Place Parts of Flower-Designed Wrapping Paper Around the Cat

I felt some shading was missing in the ears, so I got a pink color pencil and colored them in.

Ta-da!! The final outcome. What do you think? I tried to show my dog, she wanted to eat it.

There are many many ways to reuse materials. Part of the fun is learning and experimenting with different materials and processes. Through playing with techniques and materials you’ll learn more about how you like to create. Most times you will come up with your own unique way to create artwork. Make sure you are having fun and enjoying yourself!

Lastly, if you’re interested in joining an Artuta class, check the link for more information.


Jessica Lee

Hello! My name is Jessica. I am a collage and soft sculpture artist based in New York City. I am originally from East Los Angeles, California. I love making things and believe that art is an extension of yourself. I am always excited to see what Artuta students create!

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