Friday, January 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Cards: A lesson in composition

com·po·si·tion [kom-puh-zish-uhn] –noun

Fine Arts . the organization or grouping of the different parts of a work of art so as to achieve a unified whole.

It's about a month away from the holiday so I figure it's time to talk about the big V day.  I wish I had a better tutorial for this, however, when I made these last year I wasn't doing a blog or tracking how iImade things. I'm just glad I was proud enough of my little cards to take some pictures! I still wanted to write about it though, so I hope this at least inspires you to get creative with your cards. 

If you've never done collage work, it can be very mentally cleansing.  At least I think it is. I get in a zone of meandering through magazines with new eyes, clipping out the random snippets of wonder I come across in pages full of generally negative projections. This is the main part of my love for collage, transformation from something ugly (like ads that promote a poor perception of beauty) to something positive and uplifting. 

**IDEA ALERT! Collage can be really fun with friends! Have a get together, invite everyone to bring a stack of magazines and some scissors, provide some snacks, throw on some background music and make a social night of it. Super fun times. ALSO you can use this same idea for some really cute and unique invitations, though I'd keep it to a small party since collaging a lot of cards could get overwhelming... END ALERT**

Things You'll Need:
  1. Cardstock
  2. Something for the "backdrop"
  3. Some magazines to cut into
  4. Mod Podge (or your favorite adhesive for collage/scrapbooking)
  5. Accents

1* Last year, I came across a pack pre-cut heart shaped cards at Michael's and made them my canvas. I had so much fun with it because it was a mix of the traditional "building" of a valentine but used less doilies. Not that I don't love a good doily project but sometimes you just have to bust out of the norm, you know? 

2* I had origami paper left over from one of those 365 day calenders. You were supposed to do a project everyday, but I didn't like every project so I had a lot of cool paper to use for whatever else I wanted. You, of course, can use scrapbooking paper, wrapping paper, fabric, felt, big photo, etc. for a good backdrop to the scraps you add. 

A larger magazine photo can make for a good backdrop.

3* Grab the magazines and look for whatever inspires you, cut it out to use. Just because it's V-day doesn't mean you have to get mushy. You can give a card to family, your kids, your neighbor, your friends....and with collage you can make it personal ( the recipients favorite color, theme, etc.).

A friend of mine bought this one for her son, a big John Lennon fan.

4* Before going nuts with the glue, arrange your selected cut outs into the desired affect. You don't have to cover the entire heart in words or images, though that could look really awesome too. Composition can play a significant role.  The easiest way to think of composition, for me, is in terms of music. Think of an orchestra, several completely different instruments (elements) playing one song (the piece). Or maybe a dance with several dancers doing different things at once to one song and yet it all flows together in one poetic, united, display of movement. 

Apply that concept to collage. You can have sequins, glitter, fabric, ribbon, bits and bobs of whatever come together to make a whole card and send one message. Alternate sizes (large fonts with small dots of glitter), use different shades or patterns of the same color, incorporate different shapes...but make sure you orient it all to the message you want to project. You want the balance of all of these elements to accent the main image or word you want to have as the focus.

The words "Open Your Heart" lead into the key to opening it.

5* This was pretty much covered in #4 use whatever will stick to the card :) Also, don't feel like you have to use magazines to say every word, if you have a stamp or a label maker that you can use to printout the word a different way then it can be a nice addition to the composition.

This card incorporates stamping and rhinestones as well.

What are you planning to do for Valentine's Day?



  1. I love the project and the way you did your post! I want the key one! New follower here! :)

  2. Awesome! Thanks so much, collage is one of my favorite crafts, as you can probably tell :) Thanks for following!

  3. Love the heart collage, nice ideas:)


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