Technique: Collage Background 2

The books were small–clearly children’s versions of classics. A closer look revealed real leather bindings and adult classics–full text, not abridged. They were just small. The leather was disintegrating, and try as I might, it would not be restored. Pages began to sift out of the small books. I’d found them at a garage sale, and I didn’t want to throw them away.collage bookcover

So I gathered them up and arranged them on a piece of heavy watercolor paper. When I had a pleasing arrangement, I put a piece of parchment over the arrangement and turned it face down, then lifted the watercolor paper. I brushed Golden’s Matte Medium on the watercolor paper, and carefully pressed it on the page-down arrangement. That gave me the exact arrangement I had before.

Using a metal ruler, I turned the entire piece over, watercolor paper, glued pages and parchment. I lifted off the parchment, made sure the pages were arranged the way I wanted them, and let the arrangement dry.

Once it was dry, I coated the back with Matte Medium to keep the page from curling. When that side was dry, I turned it over and coated the page collage with three layers of Matte Medium. I then punched the holes for the Rollabind rings.

Had I wanted the pages to be a background for a collage, I would have thinned an ivory or mushroom-colored acrylic paint with Matte Medium and painted at least one, but probably two coats to create a background.

If you prefer a busier background, use a large-toothed comb and drag is carefully across the painted surface. It will create an interesting pattern. You can also apply the thinned paint first, then lift some of it off with a damp sponge, creating a different effect that is quite appealing.

–Quinn McDonald is a certified creativity coach and artist. See her work at

2 thoughts on “Technique: Collage Background 2

  1. The cover is 400-lb watercolor paper, so it is substantial, although flexible. It’s not stiff like cardboard, it is more stiff like leather. This makes it easy to carry in a bag, because it doesn’t bend and crease, it just bends until it’s pulled out, when it straightens out again. I’ll post the inside front and back covers today.

  2. Quinn, that’s a beautiful cover! Is it flexible or stiff? I have a couple old nautical charts (old as in outdated, not rare) that I’ve been thinking of cutting up to use for a cover, and your article is a great primer that I can use. Thanks!


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