Make a Collage for Occupational Therapy!

What is a Collage?

I have always loved making collages... since the first time I squirted glue on a smaller sheet of paper to secure to a larger background surface. Collage is from the French word coller which means "to glue" or stick together". The concept of collage may be used in music. However, I am in love with the simplicity of assembling objects together to create a whole new product. This might involve gluing shredded, red, food-colored napkins for a Valentine's Day card  or cutting up amusing photos of friends to glue onto an ocean background packed with sharks and scuba divers.

Bernie is everywhere!

I've been amused by the craze of photoshopping Bernie slouched, looking cold and uncomfortable, yet sporting cool mittens. I do not have the skills to use photoshop and actually, prefer to spend as little time as possible on the computer. I'm a paper, glue, scissors and pencil type of occupational therapist/amateur artist. Copying the Bernie photo has been fun while honing my drawing skills.

Think about the size of your Bernie or other Main attraction!

I was having so much fun drawing Bernie that I didn't think about how large he was and how he would fill up most of the page. Most of the photoshopped pictures seem to include a smaller bernie situated in cute settings such as shown in the Edward Hopper painting.  

I didn't want to re-draw the picture smaller. Although, I had the option of scanning my drawing and printing it out smaller- I decided that it was good Karma to keep him as he was when I started the project and it was easier to glue the photo printed mittens onto the larger Bernie drawing.

Assembling Your Collage

I chose a simple photo of my yard with lots of big, empty-feeling spaces to glue the recycling containers, compost bin and strewing compost.  I glued the background photo to cover a page in a sketch pad. This might be an easy step for a toddler or preschool age child to learn and excel at.

Cut out objects to fill in the background scenery

Although Bernie is star and center in the collage, I needed to add props to my recycling theme. I printed photos of trash bins and compost. Then I cut them out and moved them around until I decided where to glue them. I love having some overlap of the compost and how Bernie's jacket covers part of the recycling bin.

A Final Touch! 

The brand new compost exemption sticker that arrived this week had my address printed across it. I replaced it with my web site addess. I thought it added a nice touch to the total composition!

Occupational Therapy Tips.....

Many of these steps will be too challenging. However, children and other artists may be involved in any or several steps by

  • Searching through magazines and online photos to cut and glue into the collage
  • An older person might draw a thick bright line around the border  of the shape to be cut. This will make it easier to see and cut on.
  • Consider tracing an outline of the shapes to be glued (such as the trash can) onto the background scenery, so that children may match each shape to its corresponding outline. This is similar to placing puzzle shapes in formboards.
  • Choosing a way to adhere the picture- perhaps using a glue stick, paste with brush, squeezing a glue bottle or other adhesive may vary depending on the individual's sensory needs, preferences and/or fine-motor skills.
  • Exploring adapted scissors or hand over hand assistance to cut edges of pictures. Check out these scissors tips!
  • Having a discussion on possible themes and what photos would work in it.....such as trucks, bulldozers and backhoes on a construction site background.

Technologically advanced artists may alter their art work or photos online to be a different size or cropped. Some artists may even prefer to use photoshop! Either method would be a great occupational therapy activity.

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