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Beginner Magazine Collage Tips and Ideas

If you have thinking about trying magazine collage, here are all my best tips and ideas for how to get started, the supplies you need and then some great inspiration to get you going!

Beginner Magazine Collage Tips and Ideas

Beginner Magazine Collage Video

What Is Magazine Collage?

I really didn't understand what magazine collage was when I started… I had seen some people doing cool journal pages using images and I just wanted to try and see if I liked it… here is my very first magazine collage…

Big Cats Beginner Magazine Collage
This was my very first magazine collage!

I LOVED how it turned out and was super proud of it (I still am!)

Now, is it the kind of art I do today after having done HUNDREDS of other designs? Nope, but everyone starts somewhere and I love that I was brave enough to try!

My Biggest Inspiration Teesha Moore

The way I even knew that magazine collage was a thing is seeing Teesha Moore's art journal pages. She and Dyan Reaveley started doing this kind of journaling YEARS ago (like in the early 00's) and there are tons of pictures of her work floating around… I have a Pinterest board of Teesha Moore's artwork.

Surreal Landscapes Magazine Collage

Another kind of magazine collage is the sort of surreal images that are not in the right place and are a little mind bending.

This is a piece by Nat Girsberger where he place with focus and dimension. Here are Nat's 10 Practical tips for how to make this kind of collage.

There is also a great Youtuber, East of Honey, who does this kind of collage … she is super good at explaining how her process works!

Figural People

source Tara Jacobsen portfolio

Another kind of magazine collage is where you sort of mix magazine images with artistic elements like this figural image.

This is way more of a mixed media piece, but still using magazine images as the basis of the head and body.

“Regular” Magazine Collage

Last but not least is just plain old, regular magazine collage where you take some images, mash them together on a background page and maybe do some doodling, but not full on art journaling!

Here is one of my more recent magazine collages that is pretty simple, but still cute and fun!

Wanna Party Girl Magazine Collage

Where To Get Magazines For Collage?

Okay, now you have bought into the concept of maybe doing magazine collage you need to find some magazines! Here are the best places I have found them over the years…

  • Ebay – search for “lot vintage magazines” or “lot fashion magazines”
  • Doctors offices – oftentimes they will have old magazines you can get
  • Friends – I “steal” my friend Deb Ward's magazines all the time
  • Libraries – some libraries sell their old magazines, it is worth asking at the counter
  • Barnes and Noble – they have some some super unique and fun magazines (some are pretty pricey)
  • Subscriptions – the cheapest way to get good, up to date magazines!
  • Yard sales – make sure to ask the sellers if they have any magazines (sometimes they don't know anyone would want them)
  • Thrift stores – some have magazines, some don't… don't get discouraged, keep trying!

Additional Resource :: The Best Subscriptions For Magazine Collage

What Can You Make A Collage On?

You can make magazine collage on ANYTHING, including doing it in a magazine! That said, using different types of backgrounds will give you different results!

Art Board

These are the wooden boards that “real” artists use to paint or make wall art on. You can get these at art stores like Dick Blick and they cost anywhere from a couple bucks to big money for a larger board.


You can use canvas that you can get at Michaels in packs that are canvas on a core or using painting canvases are cloth mounted on a frame.

Heavy Mixed Media Paper

This is what I use for most of my mixed media magazine collage pieces. You need to have a heavy enough paper that is not going to fall apart when you put a bunch of glue or paint on it.

My favorites are the Canson Mixed Media Paper Pads and the Grumbacher Mixed Media Paper Pads (you can get them at Michaels too with a coupon!)

Art Journals

Another type of paper that I love to use is the Dyan Reavely Art Journals! She is a magazine collager herself so she knows what works best with this type of artwork!

Typing Paper

If you are just starting out and not sure that you want to spend a ton of money on magazine collage, FOR SURE it is okay to just use typing paper to make your collages! It is cheap and readily available, so go for it!

What Art Supplies Are “Must Haves” For Magazine Collage Art Beginners?

There are millions of supplies out there that you COULD use for magazine collage, but what are the “must haves” to get started?


I am sure you are like, duh, of course I need magazines. But it really does depend on what kind of collage you want to do.

When I started I bought a whole bunch of used National Geographics, only to find out that I like doing fashion people and women… not great with the magazines I had bought.

My suggestion to start is collect a few different kinds of magazines, make some collages and then see what you like doing before diving into buying millions of magazines that you will just end up recycling later!


There are people, like Dyan Reaveley, who swear by glue sticks so if you are just getting started you can FOR SURE use your kid's glue sticks.

You can also use Mod Podge, although that does tend to warp the paper a bit.

Nuvo is my all time favorite kind of glue for magazine collage! It doesn't warp the paper and rarely gets clogged in the nozzle.

If have any more glue questions here is a whole post about it… The Best Glue For Magazine Collage


I use two types of scissors to cut out my images… “normal” scissors to make the big cuts and then “snips” to make the little cuts.

For sure having really good, little scissors to do the fine cutting is going to be a real boost to your artwork… I recommend the Tim Holtz Snips Scissors.

Magazine Collage FAQs

Over the years I have gotten LOTS of questions about magazine collage, here are some of the ones that I have heard most!

What Is The Difference Between A Glue Book And Magazine Collage

I have to say that this is the one I question I get the most!

So first off, you get to call your artwork whatever the heck you want! Could be a glue book, could be an art journal, could be magazine collage… don't let anyone tell you are doing something “wrong”.

Now, here is my understanding of the difference…

A glue book has JUST magazine collage images. It is possibly a large cut out magazine page image background with other images added to the top.

A magazine collage has some kind of background that is not just magazine cut images.

A mixed media collage is a background, magazine images and then all sorts of other art supplies like paint, tissue paper, washi tape, etc.

Again, they are just words… you make whatever kind of art you want!

Should You “Seal” Your Magazine Collage

I have heard this asked over and over again… so here is my answer…

I do most of my collages in an Art Journal or on Mixed media piece of paper so they aren't precious to me. They are just for fun and are something that I like to look at from time to time.

So I don't seal mine.

Now, if you were going to sell your collages or want to keep them safe for a long time, you could seal them using Mod Podge or a spray sealant for sure.

But since magazine images are not acid free or archival, even sealing them might not keep them from fading or degrading over time if they are in direct sunlight or exposed to light over a long time.

Can You Sell Collages Made From Magazines?

First off, I am not a lawyer, but having been in business for a long time and having researched this quite a bit, here are my thoughts!

What is copyright on magazine images?

Usually the copyright on images belongs to the photographer, not the magazine that used the image. Copyright protects the photographer from people using her picture without her permission.

Selling one original collage – Fair Use or First Use Doctrine

Okay, say you want to sell just the one original magazine collage. First off, for Fair Use, you can use comedy or commentary to transform the original work… so not so great for us collagers.

So what about First Sale Doctrine which gives you the right to use something you bought in any manner that you want. This is more in line with an artist selling a piece that uses the original magazine clippings.

I would think that at long as you used pieces and parts of a photo rather than glueing the whole thing on, you would probably be okay to sell that original artwork.

Selling Prints

Okay, so what if you want to sell prints or copies of your work or even collage sheets with just parts of it.

This gets way more murky and isn't something that I would do… I choose to respect the copyright of the original photographer and not sell prints of my work.

If you do want to sell prints of your work, PLEASE contact a lawyer who specializes in copyright law before you start selling your artwork.