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.

Mini Collage “Fleur de Free” cSylvia Robertson, 2017

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!


Previous posts in this series:

Day 1 Mini Collage and 31-Days Introduction

Day 2 Collage: Nothing-But-Junk Fish

Day 3 Collage: What Grabs Your Heart?

Day 4 Collage: Why I Chose to do this 31 Days–Really

Day 5 Collages: On Being Transparent

Day 6 Collage: Salute to Birds and Dragonflies

Day 7 Collage: Got it Made in the Shade

Collage Day 8: Three Good Children’s Books to Inform Our Lives

Day 9 Collage: Smiles, Smiles (What Makes You Smile?)

Day 10 Collage: Which Way is Out?

Day 11 Collage: Rugged Rocks or Rugs?

Day 12 (non-junk-mail)  Collage: “Be Like the Bird…”

Lovelights and Blues (Day 13 Collage)

2 thoughts on “Day 14 Collage: “Fleur de Free” (Extended Cut Shape Technique)

  1. Very fun and interesting. Now, tell me the life metaphor you find here.
    And how do you get all these catalogs? Do they send them free, and which do you recommend?

  2. Life metaphor, Lynni? I find none. Except perhaps that of the joy in doing that which God uniquely designed me individually to enjoy doing. Maybe that influenced me to call the collage “Fleur de Free,” feeling free in just the doing, being me-like!

    I think you once said somewhere (on some guest post?) that you believed maybe you were born singing? It’s like that, I think—about being that individual born with whatever passion all wrapped up inside as part of the package of “you.”

    That’s what’s gone on with almost all the collages in this series. Any life metaphor or high message usually came later… But sometimes not at all. As above. It’s “just” an experiment with images I found beautiful and inviting.

    But I think your question is a great springboard for a fresh blog post. Maybe the next one! Thank you for it!

    As for the catalogs, they almost all come to me, unbidden. All I need to do to get a barrage of unsolicited catalogs is order one item from one catalog I or someone else already had–or from a website online or from an ad in a magazine. The company I order from sells my address to other similar companies, unless I go out of my way to prevent it. A chain begins, and as it continues—with lots of side chains branching off—I end up getting catalogs in really outlandish categories someone thinks I might have an interest in, until periodically I have to email companies and tell them to quit it! heh.

    I can email you names of catalogs you could request free online, if you point out what kind of images you want to end up with. Also, I would say, if you–or your friends–have any old catalogs or magazines at all lying around at home somewhere, start leafing through. You might be surprised at what you can find, in shapes, colors, textures, facial expressions, etc. Fun!

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