This fun and easy collage only requires a few materials, and is a great way for kids to mess around with their acrylic paints and glue. It’s also a good way to recycle colourful plastic lids from old jars and bottles, buttons, bread ties, old plastic toys (or pieces of toys) – and anything else you might want to throw in.
Like many craft activities, this one is very flexible and easy to adapt to suit different age-groups and situations. For example, you can do it at home with just one or two children, or create a mural at your school with an entire class, if you’re an educator. It’s also a colourful and effective way to decorate cardboard boxes which can then be used as attractive storage containers for your child’s bedroom.
Creating a fantastic plastic collage is heaps of fun. Just use the steps below as a guide, and add your own personal touches as you go. As with all craft activities, there is no right or wrong way.
Time: Approximately 90 minutes - not counting drying time for the paint.
Age: 5-10's, Over 10's
Acrylic paint in a variety of different colours
A piece of strong cardboard or chipboard
Paint brushes and sponges in various sizes
A selection of colourful plastic buttons and lids
Other miscellaneous plastic bits and pieces from around your home – for example, old toys (or pieces of them), ties from bread bags, broken jewellery (such as old plastic bangles)
Small wooden spoons and paddlepop sticks
Cut outs from junk mail or old gift wrap
Scraps of wool and colourful ribbons from gifts
Strong craft glue
Paint the base of the collage in colourful acrylic paint. Encourage creativity, but discourage children from mixing the colours too much or you’ll end up with a drab muddy colour. Leave the paint to dry before progressing to the next stage. Although it’s fun for kids to use thick dollops of paint (and it provides an interesting effect), it takes a long time to dry, so be aware of this if your youngsters are impatient.
While the background of the collage dries, use the time to paint other items that can be utilised in your masterpiece. Small wooden spoons or paddle-pop sticks (easily sourced at most craft shops) look awesome painted in bright colours and glued onto this kind of art. Wait for the paint to thoroughly dry on these items.
Once the paint has completely dried on your collage, you can start gluing the plastic objects and the painted wooden pieces onto it. Ours had a garden theme, with recycled plastic lids serving as the centre of flowers and the small painted wooden spoons serving as some of the petals. This looks really nice, but an abstract collage looks equally good.
When the plastic items have been securely glued to the base of the collage (using strong, good quality craft glue), leave it for some time (perhaps overnight) so it can thoroughly dry.
Once the glue and paint is totally dry the children can add the finishing touches to their collage. Colourful cut-outs (we used these as petals for some of the flowers), snails made from pipe cleaners or some finger painting in a bright colour that contrasts with the rest of the design will all look great.
If you have gold paint or glitter glue, the children can use this to add some final dramatic touches to their collage. A few dots or squiggles of white paint also create a striking contrast. Your Fantastic Plastic Collage is now complete.