Healthy KidsYMCA Camps and Outdoor Education

How to collage using your old magazines, recyclables, or even junk mail

09 April 2020 - by YMCA of Greater Toronto

Collaging is all the rage right now, but our YMCA Camps team members are the OG masters 😉

Campers usually make these cool collage silhouettes with us in the summer, but today, we're bringing you in on the fun, using materials you already have at home! This magazine silhouette craft can be modified for kids of basically any age.

Hand holding cardboard with magazine silhouette art 

More complex silhouette shapes, like this bear, are perfect for older kids looking for a challenge.

Here’s what you you’ll need:

  • A piece of cardboard
  • Glue (either podge, a glue stick, or white glue that dries clear)
  • If you’re using podge or white glue, you’ll need a foam brush or paint brush to apply it
  • Scissors
  • Pencil or marker
  • Magazines (just one is enough! If you don’t have any at all, you could even use your junk mail)
  • Something to cover your table, like newspapers or a garbage bag
  • Clothes you can get a little messy

Let’s get started!

If you’ve been following along with our other crafts, you already know this, but we can't say it enough! Make sure you cover your table before your start and that you and your kids are wearing clothes you don’t mind getting a bit sticky. Once you're all set up:

1. Using your marker, draw the outline of a shape or animal on your piece of cardboard.

2. Next, cut the strips from your magazine that you’ll use to fill in the silhouette. Encourage your kids to find pages with different colours, patterns, or even words to make their project bright and interesting.

3. An optional step: get your kids to sort the magazine strips by colour and/or pattern.

4. Choose one strip at a time, and decide where it should go on your silhouette. Some kids like to start at one side and work their way to the other, but they don’t have to.

5. Using your pencil, trace where you’ll need to cut your magazine strips to make them fit within the silhouette.

6. Trim the strips along your pencil marks so they’re ready to fit inside the silhouette, then glue them in place.

7. Keep gluing until your silhouette is filled with colourful strips!

Making it right for your kids, depending on their age 

We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve to help you tailor this craft for kids of different ages.

If your kids are younger:

  • You can try doing step one (drawing the shape) for them.
  • If they want to draw their own, make it a simple shape like a circle.
  • Use a larger piece of cardboard (more than two feet long and two feet wide) and make their shape nice and big as well. It will make it easier for them to cut the strips to size and position them on the cardboard.
  • If you don’t want your kid to handle scissors, you can cut the strips for them, and just have them focus on placing them in the shape. Or, try cutting a few strips for them to start, so they can see an example of what they’re supposed to look like.

If your kids are older:

  • They can try creating animal silhouettes or other more complex shapes.
  • They should be able to work on smaller pieces of cardboard (around two x two feet) and make smaller silhouettes if they’d like.
  • Encourage them to experiment with cutting the strips in varied widths and lengths. They can also use thinner strips than little kids to make more intricate designs.

Looking for a little visual inspiration? Get a step-by-step video tutorial from YMCA Day Camps staff member, Leigh!


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