Every now and then in these “31 Days” I plan to post some collaging techniques I’ve learned along the way. The first, today, is called extending a cut shape. I first used this method with my kids, while homeschooling.
It’s really as simple as it sounds.
Cut out a shape from a piece of paper. It can be a solid color, or patterned, as used here; fine decorative paper or junk from the mail pile or an old wallpaper sample or remnant of gift wrap. Something that will lie flat (nothing too rumply) will be easier to cut for this method.
The shape can be just about anything, too, but keeping it basic and simple is a good idea, certainly at least to start. In today’s collage it’s an egg shape, with top and bottom straight (either from being cut from a rectangle in the first place or leveled off later to fit the 4×6 card. I think the former is the case, because the flower pattern I cut egg-shaped was a rug in a furnishings catalog—Lots of beautiful, even spectacular rugs out there these days!…)
Next, lay your shape on a cutting mat or board, and cut a few lines, straight or curved, all the way from side to side or top to bottom. An exacto type knife is the ideal tool, but if you don’t have one, you could pencil your lines, then cut with scissors. Here you can see one vertical cut at the left side (better visual dynamics than a static down-the-middle), and several repeated, parallel cuts (not all equidistant) running hoizontal.
Lay the pieces in order on a background (in this case, the plain white card—a good choice actually, especially with a patterned paper shape).
Then spread them apart, thus extending the shape. (So when you cut out your shape in the first place, you need consider the area available on your background piece and how much spread you’re going to give the pieces.)
The extending above is fairly regular, with little difference in distances between pieces. The open white area down the middle does swell toward its middle, making its own contours somewhat ovate. But all else is fairly regular here. This is not necessary. You can experiment with different distances and see what you like.
Don’t aim for a masterpiece, but a learning exploration.
Once satisfied with your arrangement, paste down the pieces.
You might want to add other cut pieces to add interest and enhance the overall design, as I did, above. I pointed the leaves and the flower stem in toward the main design to draw the viewer’s eye that way. You could keep this in mind, too—or not. There’s no science to this except that it’s experimentation.
Try it, and have fun! If you have kids or grandkids around, what a great way to get them away from the iPad for a while and get their creative juices flowing—and do the same for yourself, too!
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