Here's what you need to get started:
- gallery wrapped artist canvas in the size of your choice
- vintage ephemera or copies of different documents you want to use for the background (sheet music, handwritten letters, ledger paper, etc.)
- color butterfly printouts (The Graphics Fairy)
- Mod Podge
- white or ivory acrylic paint
- paper towels, ink pad, sponge, etc.
Don't be afraid to tear your paper. Find interesting sections to feature.
Tear paper in all different shapes and sizes.
Place the torn pieces of paper on the canvas. Layer the paper strips to create interest. This step takes the longest as you play around with the placement. Once you are happy with the arrangement, take a photo for reference when recreating the look as you adhere the pieces of paper to the canvas with Mod Podge using a paintbrush. When you have completed adhering the background to the canvas, cut out the butterflies for placement on the background. Again, play around with the placement before adhering the butterflies to the canvas.
Layer. Layer. Layer.
Play around with the paper. What arrangement looks best?
Use Mod Podge to adhere paper to canvas
Cut out butterflies
Don't forget to take a photo for reference!
Next, dilute some white or ivory colored acrylic paint with water to create a wash. Brush areas of the background with the wash to create lighter areas; leave other areas alone. This creates dimensions and interest to your collage. For some areas, liberally apply the wash and dry by pressing a paper towel on top. Remove the paper towel and reveal the texture that is left behind. You can try using a sponge or other items to create this effect. If you would rather have a vintage, grungy background, use an ink pad in a sepia color around the edges of your collage.
Notice the lighter and darker areas in the detailed photo above
Look closely and you will see the texture left behind by using the paper towel technique
When you are happy with the result, seal the collage with a coat of Mod Podge in a matte finish. Add picture wire to the back of the canvas. And Voila! You have created an original piece of artwork for your home.