How to Create a Collage in the Style of Art Deco

Art Deco is the style of decoration widely used in the 1920s and '30s. It relies on geometric shapes, bold colors and symmetry, a mirror image with identical elements repeated on both sides. Think of the Empire State Building, a tall, sleek and elegant example of an Art Deco building. Here is how to do a collage with Art Deco pizazz. This collage, made by cutting and pasting colored paper, can be turned into a stylish picture frame with four quick cuts.


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    Use a piece of 9 X 11" white tagboard for your base. Divide the page into equal quarters. Along the top edge, make a mark at 4 1/2 inches and draw a light pencil line from top to bottom. Measure down 5 1/2" and draw a light pencil line from side to side. These lines are to keep your strips straight and on track.
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    Cut a variety of colored tag board strips measuring 11 inches long and 1", 1 1/4", and 1 1/2" wide. Be sure to cut an equal number of strips of any of the colors you have chosen. Begin work by placing a colored strip along the left edge of the paper. Add a second and third contrasting colored strip next to it. Use a glue stick to secure these strips to the base. You will be working vertically.
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    Begin work from the opposite side of the base creating a mirror image of the three strips already in place. Continue gluing colored strips, first on the left side and repeating on the right side until they meet in the middle. Your entire base will be covered with colored strips in a precise mirror image pattern.
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    Get creative! Place short strips horizontally. Keep the center line in mind as you work the left side of your design first. Layer thinner strips over the existing strips. Add triangles and circles. Cut some metallic tag board strips and geometric shapes and add them. Remember to stop at the center line. Replicate what you have done, working in from the left side to the center.
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    Locate the center of the page and measure up, down and side to side, 1 1/2" and draw a rectangle. Cut out this rectangle by poking into the center with scissors and carefully cutting it out, or use a utility knife and ruler.
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    Place a favorite picture behind the frame and tape it in place.


  • To get good coverage of glue, turn each individual strip over on newspaper and smear glue to all edges.
  • Use a ruler and pencil to lay out your colored strips keeping them even from top to bottom. Cut carefully, staying on the penciled lines.
  • You can add as many layers of geometric shapes and strips as you wish. Just remember to keep the mirror image, repeating exactly on the left side what you have done on the right side.
  • Metal was used widely in Art Deco architecture. Incorporating bits of metallic paper adds sparkle and authenticity.


  • If you are working with younger children, use round nose school scissors.

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Categories: Hobbies and Crafts