Take Charge - Express An Idea - Collage

Step 1: Start your design

  • Cut out a square template from card then use it to draw out 5 boxes
  • Cut out the 3 fish templates from card and arrange them in any combination on your first square. You can use each one as many times as you like or use just one, two or all three sizes. You can overlap them or have them swimming out of the box
  • Use your imagination to create a different composition inside each box to illustrate each of the following words:

                        calm      flowing       crowded       lonely     chaos



You may not have practised this before, but you can express a lot about each of these themes simply by the way you arrange your fish within your box. Just think for a moment about what crowded says to you as opposed to lonely. How many fish might you choose to use in each case? How might you arrange the fish (one or more) within the box? Would flowing suggest something different to chaos? How might you arrange your fish to express the different themes?


Have a look at our design examples below for inspiration. Try not to copy them, but come up with your own designs.


It may be useful to draw a mind map for each word to help you come up with your design ideas. Click next to see what a mind map is and continue with the exercise.


What is a mind map?

A mind map is a diagram that uses words or sketches to note ideas linked to a central, key word. A mind map gives you the opportunity to explore many different concepts and shows the process of developing them.


Mind maps are useful for generating, visualising and organising thoughts and ideas. They can also be used to make decisions, solve problems and to recall memories. You can see an example of a mind map below.


Mind Map Example - Red

Step 2: Choose a design

  • Take a look at your designs; you might have surprised yourself with your ability to come up with so many different designs from such simple shapes!
  • Choose the one you most like; you’ll be using this design to make a collage


Want some hints on creating collage?

If you haven’t already – watch our ‘How to create collage’ video.


Using recycled materials in collage

Lots of collage materials such as handmade and fibrous papers can be bought from craft shops, but you can create your own by recycling materials that are easily found around the house. These could be: pictures, text or colour samples from magazines or newspapers, textured or coloured wallpaper, wrapping paper, fabric scraps, buttons, junk mail, sweet wrappers, foil, collected texture rubbings or natural materials, such as leaves.


Step 3: Your collage

Now you’ll use your collage materials to bring your design to life.

Redraw your design on a new page. This exercise is about using shapes to express an idea and collage materials can enhance your design. Use materials and colours that you like and have fun with them. What colours and textures will you use to illustrate your chosen word?  If using thick materials use PVA as it is stronger than a glue stick




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