How to create wall collages with prints, photographs and art

A great way to personalise a wall is by adding your own collages, curating a range of prints, photographs or artwork to show off your personality and interests in an artistic manner.

Those of you who love a vintage look can hang these collages in chunky gilt frames in a salon style by placing the prints, posters, photographs or postcards at odd angles, much like a scrapbook. On the other hand, homes with more of a contemporary design can benefit from collages carefully measured and hung in sleek straight lines.

What you will need

  • Framed prints of quotes
  • Photographs
  • Polaroid pictures
  • Postcards
  • Canvas artworks 

First think about the wall location and colour 

Too much furniture near the collage can make it appear cluttered and busy rather than a unique statement. Keep the collage a focal point by reducing distractions around it, allowing the eyes to zero in on the pieces you're displaying. 

Horizontal lines in your room can help frame the collage, such as a mantelpiece, the edge of a desk or the top of a headboard along a bed. Wall background colours also complement the collage – paint the wall in white or neutral tones for multi-coloured collage hangs. Useful shades for this purpose are Resene AlabasterResene Athens Grey or Resene Concrete

If your collage is taking advantage of the current metallic home trend, such as by using prints with metallic foil fonts in gold or silver, it can actually help to paint the wall in similar bold, bright shimmering tones such as Resene Allusive or Resene Blast Yellow

Next, get creative with where you source your material 

Old vintage magazine covers, clippings from newspaper archives, personal family photographs, cheap canvases with palm prints of your kids, Polaroid pictures hung on string with pegs or postcards of places you have travelled to are all collage materials that don't require you to fork out huge sums of money to decorate a wall.

You can also create your own metallic quotes by printing out a quote you admire and ripping pieces of tinfoil to glue over the lettering for a unique, textured print. Pop it in a pre-bought frame painted in your favourite Resene colour rather than get a custom frame built for it.

There is an app you can use called 'Postagram' that makes personalised postcards by using photos you upload and printing them into physical cards, then sending them via snail mail to an address you provide for a small fee. These are an alternative to store-bought postcards that can make your collage even more personal.

Finally, it's easy to create your own geometric abstract artworks to place on the wall using protractors and triangle rulers as stencils against which you can dab blobs of paint.

Finally, use measurements for straight hanging 

Before you get the nails and hammer out, measure out the sizes of your frames, especially if you're using a variety of different shapes and sizes. Next, use low tack masking tape to stick on the outlines of these frames onto the wall, or cut out the precise shapes using brown paper and attach them to the wall with low tack masking tape. This step helps you see how the collage will look – and you can rearrange items based on what visually works best.

If you want a simple, neat, tidy layout, keep all the items equidistant by measuring exact gaps between each and marking the wall with a pencil before you put things up. A useful tool for making sure you're hanging things up straight is to use a level. Nowadays they sell these with lasers to get a crisp straight line along your wall for easy hanging.

Enjoy your one-of-a-kind curated collage wall!

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