Today's project is a collage made using strips of scrapbook paper but really it can be any kind of paper, not just scrapbooking paper. Colorful magazine photos and wrapping paper are great to use and it's a good way to recycle/upcycle.
So here's what you'll need:
Tag board or posterboard
Sharpie or other pen
Comments on materials and supplies:
Frame mats- I got mine at the Dollar Tree. They come two in a package for $1.00. These are standard size 8x10 with a 5x7 opening. Going with the standard sizes makes it easier to find frames if you plan to frame the finished collage.
Paper- We've already discussed, in the first paragraph, that it can be any kind of paper. Watch Michael's for sales on their scrapbook paper or ask staff, friends to bring in magazines with colorful photos (Martha Stewart, National Geographic, etc) or leftover wrapping paper.
Glue- Big fan of glue sticks. If you get purple glue sticks, which is nice because it is easy to see where the glue is applied, make sure that you get the kind that is labeled disappearing purple glue. There are some kinds that will not disappear and your project will have purple-ish smugs on it if things get messy. And when I'm doing a project, things do get messy.
Scissors- I'm just going to say it- there's a good bit of cutting in this project.
Templates/Cutouts- These are used for accent details on the outside of the mat. They are not necessary but do add a nice touch. Have your volunteers cut out basic shapes (or cut them out in the evening while watching TV, like we've all been known to do) or look for pre-cut shapes at the dollar store, craft store, teacher store. If you have a cutting machine such as a Silhouette, Cri-Cut, or Sizzix that's great too. If you have the funds, you can purchase stickers or scrapbooking embellishments but I tend not to have the budget for that sort of thing. Why are they so expensive?
Tag board/posterboard- You'll need this as the base for your project. I've been saving the tag board from our printer paper reams for years but you can also buy tagboard. Poster board is cheaper. Consider pre-cutting you tag board to the outside dimensions of your mat.
Ribbon- You can buy the narrow rolls of ribbon at Wal-Mart for 97 cents each.
A note about choices-
Over the years, I have found that sometimes, especially with folks new to crafting or with cognitive impairment, offering too many choices is not necessarily a good thing. I would suggest limiting how many choices your participants have to make. That sounds contradictory to fostering creativity doesn't it? Of course you may have craft veterans who can handle alot of choices and who have good filters for dealing with many choices, in which case go at it! But do be aware that too many choices can make it really hard to actually make a choice. We've all been there: you get the dessert menu and everything looks so delectable that you simply don't know which one would be best or right. As we get into the process of this craft, I've included some suggestions on directing choices.
OK- let's get started!
To avoid mass mayhem at the beginning of this project, consider pre-cutting your strips of paper. Get your volunteers in on this or put in a good movie at home to watch in the evening while you're cutting away. The measurements below are based upon a mat with a 5x7 opening.
Cut your paper into 1x6 inch strips. This is where a papercutter comes in really handy. I'm using scrapbook paper here but remember that anything with a pattern will work.
You want the strips to be long enough to overlap the picture opening.
Cut out a bunch of strips in a variety of papers and colors and divide them up between some plastic baskets or shallow boxes. By putting them in boxes you will contain the paper and make it easier to pass around the paper so your residents can pick out their colors. I love the creative mayhem of paper and colors all over the place but it's just too much for some of our folks. Last time I did this craft one of my ladies with early dementia just simply shut down. She put her head back, closed here eyes, and said, "I'm so tired all of a sudden."
Also consider marking the opening of the mat onto your tag board ahead of time, depending upon whether or not your residents will be able to do this. Lay the mat face down on the tag board and trace the opening with a Sharpie or marker that will be dark enough to be easily visible. Again, this is a good way to put those volunteers to work.
OK- group time. Each person will need a tag board/posterboard base, frame mat, glue stick to get started.
Once the residents have selected their papers, begin lining them up on the tag board. Play around, experiment with different possibilities. Placing contrasting colors and patterns next to each other will make the most of the paper choices.
Once your resident has settled on a pattern, slide the strips of paper off to the side so they will remain in the desired order. You don't actually have to do the lay-out on the boards but it does provide an idea of how it will look. Lay the mat over the paper to see how it will look when matted.
Once all of the strips are glued down, you can glue on the frame and call it a day.