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How to make a collage in 5 easy steps

How to make a collage

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.

If you have any questions along the way please be sure to:

  • check out our FAQs
  • chat to us via our instant live chat support (bottom right of the screen)
  • or complete our contact form
 
Step 1: Choose Your Material
How To Make A Collage - Select Material

To create your own canvas print, from any page of our website select the ‘Create A Canvas’ link located at the top of the page. Our CanvasApp will appear.

Select the material you’d like to choose. The options are: Canvas, Acrylic Glass and Aluminium.

Canvas

We provide high quality 360gsm canvas stretched across a 3cm 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.

How To Make A Collage - Canvas Prints
 
How To Make A Collage - Acrylic Glass Display
Acrylic Glass

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 favoured by photographers as it gives photos an exquisite gallery look. Also, the acrylic glass protects your print from UV rays, ensuring your colour images gleam for decades into the future.

How To Make A Collage - Acylic Glass
 
Aluminium

Hugely robust, our aluminium prints are created using brushed aluminium 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.

How To Make A Collage - Alumnium
 
Step 2: Choose Your Shape, Theme & Size
How To Make A Collage - Shapes

From the Style options, choose Collages then choose the shape and size you would like.

Choose the Shape you want first then, once you’ve selected the Shape, choose your preferred Size.

Shapes

Choose from 10 different landscape and portrait shapes that hold from two to nine photos.

We call these ‘traditional’ shapes.

How To Make A Collage - Traditional
 
How To Make A Collage - Themes
Themes

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’.

How To Make A Collage - Pet Theme
 

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!

Sizes

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 – 45x30cm and 75x50cm – across all materials (canvas, acrylic glass and aluminium) and an additional larger 120x80cm size is available in the stretched canvas.

How To Make A Collage - Select Size
 
Step 3: Upload Your Photos

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.

How To Make A Collage - Upload Photos
Uploads

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.

Make A Collage - Social

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).

Make a collage from photosMake a collage photo selection
Choice

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.

Make a collage choices

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 heaps 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.

Make a collage creativity
Creativity

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. Easy peasy!

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 favourite portrait or landscape photos actually looks better as a square!

Make a collage and get creative

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.

Make a collage and mix it up

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?’

make a collage - fill the space
Make a collage templates

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.

 
Free collage maker positioningFree collage maker templates
Quality

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

Free collage maker photo quality

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.

Step 4: Choose a Wrap Style

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.

Make a collage background colourFree collage maker colour selection
Background color

On our canvas, acrylic glass and aluminium print range, you can choose whether to have a plain white background (as default) or select any colour you like. This option is perfect for collages as you can separate the photos from each other using creative colour.

To choose your own colour, click the Coloured Wrap option in the CanvasApp and you can either choose a colour from our colour palette, create your own colour or – and this is the best bit – choose a colour 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’.

Make a collage with colour matching

Simply click on the eye dropper tool where it says ‘Choose a colour from your photo’ then select a colour from any photo. As you do this, under the colour wheel, you will see a number field and a colour box change. The number starting with a # is the colour code you’ve just selected.

Free collage maker tips

So whether it’s the blue of the sky, the beige of the sand or the orange of the sunset, the colour selection or ‘eye dropper’ tool will choose that exact colour.

Have a go! If you don’t like your first choice, you can always pick another or return it to the default colour 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 aluminium prints, you can choose whether you want a wall mount or not.

Make a collage - wall mountsMake a collage - no mounts
Wall mount

A metal wall mount means your acrylic glass or aluminium 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.

 
Free collage maker - no mounts
No Wall mount

The other option is to purchase your acrylic glass or aluminium 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.

 
Step 5: Choose Your Effect

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.

Make a collage - apply effectsMake a collage - special effects

Here, you can alter the effect of each individual photo on your canvas. You can choose to keep everything normal; change a photo to greyscale; or give a photo a different colour tone – sepia, red, green, blue or yellow.

Free collage maker - apply effects

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.

Free collage maer - special effects

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.

Make a collage - add sparkleFree collage marker finishing effects
Step 6: Purchase Your Collage

Voila! You are done! All you have to do now is add it to your cart and you’re off!

Make a collage - confirmationFree collage maker confirmation

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.

Make a collage and share it

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 to Customer Showcase to be featured in our web and social media galleries.

Make a collage nowFree collage maker get started
Get Inspired With These Creative Collage Ideas

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 coloured 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 favourite place at home and photograph them there. Once you’ve taken the photos, you’re ready to create your collage

make a collage with words
 

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 favourite inspirational quote on a piece of paper. To maintain quality, get them to send you their favourite quote and print it out on an A4 sheet of paper for them to hold up

make a collage with quotes
 

Even though it can look great to have all the photos on your canvas the one colour – either all full colour 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 colour 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 colour.

make a collage with mixed colours
 

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.

make a collage from your holiday
 

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.

make a collage for a special occasion
 

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

make a collage with custom graphics