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How to make a collage in 5 easy steps
Photo collages are a brilliant way to tell a beautiful story, document an important occasion or capture a special memory that you want to hold onto forever.
To make building a collage as fun and fast as possible, we've developed a free collage maker that you're welcome to use – a CanvasApp right here at your fingertips. It’s very intuitive, so feel free to start creating your own photo collage online now
Alternatively, our step-by-step How To Make A Collage guide below gives you simple ‘how to’ instructions, some creative tips and some fabulous photo collage ideas that will leave you wanting to come back for more.
We provide high quality 360gsm canvas stretched across a 1.2” frame. All our canvas prints come complete with a mounting hook, ready to be hung. So once you've created your canvas collage just sit back, relax, and let us take care of the rest.
Our spectacular high gloss acrylic glass prints are made from light but durable plexiglass to preserve and enhance the printed image. Aside from its affordability, there are many reasons we offer our customers acrylic glass rather than standard glass. Acrylic glass is lighter and robust than standard glass (less likely to break!) and is often favored by photographers as it gives photos an exquisite gallery look. Also, the acrylic glass protects your print from UV rays, ensuring your color images gleam for decades into the future.
Hugely robust, our aluminum prints are created using brushed aluminum sheets that are treated to prevent corrosion. As well as being durable, the brushed metal material provides a funky, flawless, upmarket appearance. Your photos become works of high art.
Choose from 10 different landscape and portrait shapes that hold from two to nine photos.
We call these ‘traditional’ shapes.
Instead of choosing a plain shape, you can choose from 12 different landscape and portrait shapes that hold from three to five photos.
We call these ‘themed’ shapes as they also include ready-made word art designs to theme your collage.
Themes include Baby, Pets, Family, Dad, Mother, Travel, Love, Memorial as well as inspirational offerings like ‘The Best Is Yet To Come’ and ‘Live. Laugh. Love’.
If you would like to choose your own inspirational theme or quote, upload your own graphic when you upload your photos. Not a graphic designer? Don’t despair. Go to Canva and create your own graphic with ease!
Once you’ve chosen a shape or theme for your collage, you are now ready to choose a size.
Collages are available in two sizes – 18” x 12 “ and 30” x 20” – across all materials (canvas, acrylic glass and aluminum) and an additional larger 48” x 32” size is available in the stretched canvas.
It’s time to upload your photos! Select ‘Continue: Upload a photo’ to continue and upload a photo. Who would’ve guessed? You can then browse through your computer’s folders and select the photos you wish to upload.
You can upload the photos one at a time or upload as many as you like. You can upload them from your computer, from Facebook or Instagram.
If you’re uploading photos from your computer, before uploading them, place all the photos you want to use in a separate folder on your computer called Family Collage Photos (or similar). While it’s not necessary, this will make the process of uploading your photos as quick and easy as possible.
While our easy to use CanvasApp lets you upload as many digital photos as you like, we recommend uploading only those you think you will use (and maybe one or two to allow yourself some flexibility with the design).
The canvas shapes and the photo frame shapes and sizes within the canvas will help inform which photos to choose from your personal gallery. That said, it’s a creative rather than prescriptive process and the options are often endless.
You may have a clear vision of what you would like and take only 5-10 minutes to design the collage. Or you may prefer to keep your options open, upload a range of different photo options and experiment!
Either way is fine. No matter how long it takes and what you choose to do, it’s a creative process and therefore a lot of fun.
Once you’ve uploaded your photos, all you have to do is drag and drop them onto the blank spaceholder frames on the collage board.
Play around with the shapes and sizes. If you change your mind and want a different photo in a particular frame, simply drag and drop a new photo over the top. Simple isn’t it?
Your collage board may have a variety of photo spaceholder options: landscape, portrait and square. While it makes sense to try to match like for like (e.g. placing a portrait photo into a portrait frame), don’t restrict yourself too much. Try out a few different options and you may discover that one of your favorite portrait or landscape photos actually looks better as a square!
To manipulate a photo once it’s placed onto the board, you can click on the photo with your mouse and then rotate and zoom in or out on the photo.
To move your photo to a different position within the space, select the photo with your mouse and move it left, right, up or down.
When you’re rotating, moving or zooming out on a photo, take care you don’t reveal the white space behind that individual photo’s frame. In case you accidentally or unintentionally do this, before moving to the next step, a message will pop up from our CanvasApp saying ‘It has space on the photo frame, are you sure to continue?’
When you place a photo onto a frame, try zooming in. A close up may give your photo new life! You might even like to collage together different versions of the same photo from different perspectives
At this point, click ‘Cancel’ to return to your photo print board then have a really good look to make sure all your photos are positioned perfectly within their respective photo frames. If your decision to leave space behind a photo is intentional you can click ‘OK’ and continue onto the next step. Otherwise, once you correct the problem you’ll be right to move on.
To create a high quality collage, it’s important all your photos are all a high resolution. We recommend each of your photos are at least 150dpi and ideally 300dpi. DPI stands for ‘dots per inch’ or ‘pixels per inch’ and it refers to how close together the digital pixels are. The more digital pixels there are, the better quality the image is, so opt for a higher dpi every time
As quality is the most important principal in creating an amazing wall print, it’s vital to get the quality of your photos right. That said, if the quality of any of your photos isn’t high enough, we will let you know prior to printing your collage.
The last thing we want is for you to be unhappy with your collage purchase due to one bad quality photo. The great thing is, if you’re unsure at any time, you can email your image to and we’ll check the quality for you. Remember, if you get stuck, we are here for you every step of the way.
This step is awesome. Even if you know nothing about how to make a collage or you feel the whole creative process is way outside your comfort zone, this step will help reveal your inner artist and enable you to create art like a professional.
You have so much control here, yet it’s simple – the perfect combo.
On our canvas, acrylic glass and aluminum print range, you can choose whether to have a plain white background (as default) or select any color you like. This option is perfect for collages as you can separate the photos from each other using creative color.
To choose your own color, click the Colored Wrap option in the CanvasApp and you can either choose a color from our color palette, create your own color or – and this is the best bit – choose a color from your photo and use this. This latter option is one of the tricks of the trade artists and graphic designers employ to make what you see somehow ‘make visual sense’.
Simply click on the eye dropper tool where it says ‘Choose a color from your photo’ then select a color from any photo. As you do this, under the color wheel, you will see a number field and a color box change. The number starting with a # is the color code you’ve just selected.
So whether it’s the blue of the sky, the beige of the sand or the orange of the sunset, the color selection or ‘eye dropper’ tool will choose that exact color.
Have a go! If you don’t like your first choice, you can always pick another or return it to the default color white.
All our collage prints can come ready to hang. All the canvas prints come with a mounting hook attached to the back. With the acrylic glass and aluminum prints, you can choose whether you want a wall mount or not.
A metal wall mount means your acrylic glass or aluminum print will hang with a slight gap between the print and the wall. When you select that option, four neat rivets will appear on each corner of the print preview, representing the placement of the wall mount on your print and, generally, where those rivets will appear on your photo print.
The other option is to purchase your acrylic glass or aluminum print without a wall mount. Here, you instead use adhesive tape to hang the print flush against the wall. When you select this option, you will note the absence of the rivets appearing on the front of your photo print in the print preview. To mount your print, we recommend you buy 3M brand adhesive tape from your hardware store or supermarket.
This is where you can let your creative juices flow! Our CanvasApp makes the tech side of things super easy, so it’s really just a matter of playing around with all the different effects to see what you like.
Here, you can alter the effect of each individual photo on your canvas. You can choose to keep everything normal; change a photo to grayscale; or give a photo a different color tone – sepia, red, green, blue or yellow.
If you click the small blue circle under this section of the app an additional eight effects appear. Don’t miss the opportunity to polish and perfect your collage. You can brighten, blur and sharpen a photo among a number of other cool tricks.
All you need to do is select the photo you’d like to alter and then select the effect you’d like to give it. To alter a different photo, select it next and so on.
The great thing about the CanvasApp is that you can go back at any time and make changes.
Voila! You are done! All you have to do now is add it to your cart and you’re off!
Prior to purchase, be sure to check the details – the size, style and price of your collage print.
You can then continue shopping or proceed to the checkout. Once the transaction is complete, you will receive your collage print within 5 to 10 business days.
We at The Canvas Factory love to share our customer’s beautiful designs to inspire others so, once it’s hung, you can send a photo of your final product our Customer Showcase to be featured in our web and social media galleries.
Choose a word like ‘family’, ‘love’ or ‘together’ and have each member of the family hold up that letter. To craft your letters, simply buy some bright colored cardboard and cut out large shapes. Photograph each family member separately, holding up that particular letter.
You might prefer everyone to have the same backdrop, but to mix it up you might like to get them to choose their favorite place at home and photograph them there. Once you’ve taken the photos, you’re ready to create your collage
Another version of the idea above is for each family member or friend in your friendship group or colleague in your workplace to hold up their favorite inspirational quote on a piece of paper. To maintain quality, get them to send you their favorite quote and print it out on an A4 sheet of paper for them to hold up
Even though it can look great to have all the photos on your canvas the one color – either all full color or all black and white – don’t be shy about mixing it up a bit. Having all your photos in black and white and just one in color or another sepia tone can often look fantastic. Alternatively, you might like to have all the photos in black and white (e.g. baby photos) and then include a few images – perhaps quotes – in color.
Family photos are wonderful, but if you’re documenting a family holiday – which are definitely memories worth treasuring – select photos of people as the hero (large) shots then scatter smaller photos of natural or urban environments throughout the collage. Often there’s beauty in the detail. For example, for a beach holiday, include a close up of a sandy beach or a photo of some seashells. For a New York holiday it might be a close up of a fire hydrant or a photo of some delicious cupcakes. These filler photos provide context and add wonder to your photo story.
To accompany a special occasion or themed collage (e.g. Wedding, Pet Collage) do up some lovely quotes using Photoshop or Canva and include them intermittently or just one on one corner. For example, to accompany your wedding photo collage, you might like to include an image of your vows. For a pet collage, you might like to include the name of your pet or, if it’s in memoriam, something like ‘RIP Timmy, the best dog ever, March 2006-February 2015.
We have a number of creative themes and quotes on our CanvasApp to suit a range of occasions, but if you would like to choose, design and upload your own quote, you are most welcome to do so. Not a graphic designer? Don’t despair. Go to Canva and create your own graphic! Canva is a quick and easy way to do something up that looks classy and professional. Choose the ‘Poster’ option to ensure it’s a high enough resolution for your collage