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DecoArt Mixed Media Blog

Adding Texture To Your Collage

by: Diane Salter
March 30, 2017

Adding Texture To Your Collage

When I create a collage  I'm always looking for different elements that I can use.  I like any kind of texture--it always adds more interest to the piece.  One way I went for the texture (among others) was by including metal that I embossed.  Embossing metal is very easy, and even easier when you use stencils to emboss with, so here's my latest collage with texture.

Items needed :

  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Titan Buff
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Burnt Sienna
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Cobalt Turquoise Hue
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Quinacridone Magenta
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Diarylide Yellow
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Carbon Black
  • DecoArt Media Antiquing Creams - Carbon Black
  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Crackle Paste - White
  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Clear Matte Medium
  • Americana Stencils 6x8 - Daisy Chain
  • Personally Yours - Urban Ink 6x9 - Beliefs
  • DecoArt Media Varnishes - Gloss Varnish
  • 6" by 12" Birch Cradle Board
  • Assorted Brushes
  • 36 Gauge Embossing Metal
  • Wood or Plastic Stylus
  • Foam Pad for Embossing
  • Alcohol Inks
  • Scissors
  • Scrap Paper
  • Old Book Pagers
  • Brayer
  • Heavy Gel Medium
  • Brush Tip India Ink Permanent Black Marker Pen
  • Embellishments such as jewelry parts, keys, metal tags, tokens, etc.
  • Heavy Gel Medium

Instructions :

My substrate that I decided to use was a 6 x 12 birch cradle board.  This is the easiest surface to adhere the metal too especially if you've never done this before.

The first thing I did was collage some book pages onto the cradle board surface with the DecoArt Matte Medium, using a brayer to do this,  and leaving spaces for the embossed metal pieces.  When dry I added a wash of Yellow Oxide, Diarylide Yellow, and Burnt Sienna--adding and taking away color with a damp paper towel until I was happy with the result.

Next, I started embossing my metal.  I used copper, but you can use any type that you want--it will be colored in later. Using regular household scissors I cut the metal to the size that I needed for the surface.  To start, put the metal on a foam pad (an old mouse pad), and place the stencil over top of it.  I used the Americana "Daisy Chain" stencil.  And then simply take your stylus (or anything with a blunt tip--like a pencil) and start going over the stencil design.  The metal is fairly soft and very easy to work with.  I usually go over the stencil 2 times for a deeper impression.  If you've never done this before, try practicing on a metal scrap piece, until you're comfortable with the technique.

After that I used alcohol inks to add color--again adding and taking away.  The inks blend easily and will keep blending because of the alcohol in them, but when they dry, they're permanent.  When dry, I like to take my black india ink brush marker pen and smudge it into the grooves.

I also embossed another piece of metal in the same manner with the Urban Ink "Beliefs" stencil.  I then set the metal pieces aside and went back to my cradle board.

So I knew that I wanted to make a pair of love birds.  I made a simple template of a bird and then traced it on to cardstock, and then reversed the template and traced  it on to the cardstock again facing the other bird, and then cut out the images with a craft knife or you can use small sharp scissors for this step--basically making a stencil.

Going for more texture, I applied the DecoArt Crackle Paste through my bird stencil over the top of my collaged book page on the cradle board.  When dry, you end up with these wonderful little cracks.  I added the Cobalt Turquois paint over the top of the birds--wiping some away, so most of the color ended up in the cracks (make sure that the crackle paste is completely dry before adding paint to it).  And then I edged the birds using a liner brush with the Carbon Black Antiquing Cream--smudging it as I went.  I added the heart and painted it with  Quinacridone Magenta paint.  I also added some  Cobalt Turquoise paint around the edges of the board.

Next I made some houses with my scraps of painted papers from past projects--again adding a little more texture (notice the roofs)  These were papers that I had put modeling paste through stencils and then painted them, and also an embossed one that I made with my embossing machine. And also for an added touch put on a bottom border using an old cloth tape measure.  I used matte medium to adhere these and gel medium for the heavier paper making sure to seal them on the top as well before proceeding to the next step.

When dry, I added shading to the houses with the corresponding paints, and carbon black paint around the edges using a liner brush.  I also adhered the embossed metal to the cradle board using heavy gel medium to do this--apply the gel to the back of the metal and also the surface for good adhesion.  I always put some kind of weight on the metal while it's drying (such as heavy jars)--it won't crush the embossed parts.  I took my brush tip black pen and outlined the sections and edges of the board also to add a little more definition to the piece

When  everything is completely dry,  I apply a couple coats of the gloss varnish.  This especially enhances the embossed metal. And for the finishing touch,  I like to add some embellishments.

This was another fun project for me to bring to you using DecoArt products.
I hope I've inspired you to add different types of texture to your collage, and to experiment with techniques that you've been curious to try.

Be sure to visit My Art Journal for more projects and to learn more about Diane Salter.


Just love it!


March 30, 2017

Beautiful and lovely.

Edwige Viel

March 30, 2017

Adorable! J'aime beaucoup!! Bravo...


March 31, 2017

Oh Diane - I'm ready to go emboss some metal if my project would turn out even half as INCREDIBLE as yours. You created a BRILLIANT FOLKSY CORNUCOPIA OF HOMEY LOVE. Silly as it seems - my favorite part is your DARLING street made from the tape measure - it's just the PERFECT touch in front of your ARTSY houses. But that said... I LOVE every inch of your SPLENDID scene and YES - your collage is TEXTURE TERRIFIC. Xj.


March 31, 2017

what a lovely art work I can't wait to try the metal embossing Could you run it through an embossing machine Thanks for another wonderful tutorial


March 31, 2017

Super fantastic. I really do love all the texture and color

Gigi Black

March 31, 2017

Hello Diane, I've seen your work on Pinterest and very much admire your style. I'm going to follow your tutorial and make this piece. All of the texture is stunning. Thank you for sharing.


April 26, 2017

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