How to Make a Collage with Photos | A Creative Guide

Abstract colorful collage of various text, images and textures

Learn how to make a collage digitally or explore how you can handcraft your very own piece of art with our design tips. Whether you create a collage for business or personal use, it’s always a great way to visualize your ideas and convey them to others.




We take you on a deep dive into different types of collages to get you inspired and take you through the creative process step by step. Use our practical guide to spark your creativity and craft stunning collages.


How to Find Inspiration for Your Collage

Brainstorm ideas by looking through your own snapshots or stock photos to spark ideas. Leaf through magazines and search for any other materials you might want to use in your arts and crafts drawer. Put on some music that inspires you while you research and plan your collage.




When you’ve gathered an abundance of materials, pick a central theme to guide your design decisions. Your theme heavily depends on what the purpose of your collage is. A collage you create for work can be more restrictive while you can experiment as much as you like with your own piece of art.




As soon as you’ve decided on your purpose and theme, let this guide you and pick the photos, colors, web and graphic design tools and other materials you’re going to use. Depending on whether you’re going for a digital or handcrafted collage, lay out your materials on your desk or put them in a folder on your computer. We’ve got some advice on both formats for you.


Best Practices for Creating a Stunning Handcrafted Collage


Gather Your Materials and Tools

Before you take the plunge into handcrafting your collage, make sure you’ve got all the materials and tools you need ready. Materials can range from printed photographs to magazine clippings to fabrics to pressed plants, or anything else you can apply glue to and stick to your canvas. 




Get knives and scissors for cutting into your chosen materials and to reshape them. Depending on the types of materials you’re using, you need different types of glue to make them stick.




Decide what kind of backing you want to use for your design according to the glue and materials you’re using. A simple piece of paper can be enough of a foundation for your collage. But if you want to work with more liquid materials and use a good amount of paint, use a canvas, particleboard, or plywood instead.


Plan Your Composition

Once you’ve got everything ready, start arranging your materials on your choice of canvas to get an idea of what your collage might look like. Cut your images to experiment with sizing and how much you can get onto your backing. 




Rearrange your materials until you’re happy with your composition. If you’re unsure how to start, try focusing on one or two elements of design first before moving on to the next. 




When you’ve got it all laid out and there’s no deadline looming over you, put your collage to the side for a few hours or days. This way, you can come back to it with fresh eyes before you glue it


Use Contrasts to Create an Eye-Catching Design

Create tension and make your collage more intriguing with contrasts. Juxtapose contrasting elements and materials next to each other. For example, experiment with contrasting colors to move clippings into the foreground or background. 




Consider removing images to see how you might make white space work in your design or look at the shapes you cut out from a different angle. Turn magazine or newspaper clippings around to see if the reverse negative might be more interesting to arrange on your collage. Play around with negative images and contrasts until you’re happy with the result.


How to Make a Handcrafted Collage H2


Step 1: Look for Inspiring Stock Photos on PikWizard

Go to pikwizard.com and enter a keyword relating to the theme of your collage in the search bar. Browse our vast library of free stock photography to find great images for your collage.




If you’re still looking for inspiration, have a look at our Most Popular page by clicking the link on the top right and selecting Photos.


Screenshot of the Pikwizard search bar highlighted in red, with relevant images showing and one highlighted in red

Step 2: Download Your Favorite Images

To select an image for download, click it and a new tab opens. Click the Download button. 




Your chosen stock photo downloads automatically and you can open it immediately by clicking the download on the bottom left in your browser. You can also find your downloaded photos in your Downloads folder.


Screenshot of a selected perfume image with the 'download' button highlighted in red

Step 3: Print Your Photos

Go to your Downloads folder or the collage folder you saved your choices of stock photos in. Highlight them all and right-click to select Print. Or, easily print your photos directly from your phone in 1-hour at your closest Walgreens store with Picta. 


Step 4: Pick a Base for Your Collage

Choose a base according to the materials you’re going to use. If you’re planning on using a lot of liquid glue and paint, use a canvas, particleboard, or plywood rather than a piece of paper.


A4 Purple shades paint strokes on white paper handcrafted collage background

Step 5: Cut and Experiment with Materials

Cut your photos and other materials to the sizes and shapes that fit with your design. Arrange them on your base and move them around until your composition feels right.


Step 6: Glue Your Composition and Add Final Touches

Use different types of glues for the various materials you’ve gathered and stick them to your base. Add colors and any other final touches to complete your collage. Consider adding more masking tape to create different effects, sprinkle your collage with glitter, or use your favorite coloring pencils to write some text.



Perfume brand identity collage with images a paint stroke background, images of perfume bottles and flowers stuck on

Experiment and Relax with a Personal Art Collage



Abstract art collage with an image of a woman, hand holding flowers and a pink flower placed over newspaper with masking tape

PikWizard images used: 




Creating art and working creatively is one of the best ways to relax your mind. Experiment with a classic mixed media art collage to get your creative juices flowing. Play around with different materials and your composition to experience the calming effect of simply making art. 




For this type of collage, you don’t necessarily need a theme. Your composition can be completely random as you cut out and glue just for the fun of it. Working on a collage like that can be your mindfulness practice and spark creativity for other areas in your life.




We chose a portrait image from our vast PikWizard library of stock photos as the main image on our collage and used the orientation to create a fun collage in portrait layout. We enjoyed cutting and adding a mix of colored paper, newspaper clippings, and other images to complete our design.


Spruce up Your Home with a Wall Collage



9 Images placed in a heart shape stuck on a cream background with masking tape

PikWizard images used:



Are you looking for ideas to decorate the empty walls in your home? A great DIY solution is to make your own wall collage. Express yourself and create a stunning piece of art to impress friends and family.




Your wall collage can have a theme like travel or portraits of your loved ones. Complement your own images and complete the look with high-quality stock photos.Use blu tack or masking tape to stick photos to your wall directly or make it a mix by framing some of the images. Experiment with shapes for your wall design and add inspirational quotes to join the different elements of your design.



We chose a heart shape for our wall decor to emphasize the emotional connection with our collage. You could also wrap the collage using a simple picture frame. And for the best impression add picture lights at the top of the frame to highlight your photos



Experiment with shapes for your wall design and add inspirational quotes to join the different elements of your design. We chose a heart shape for our wall decor to emphasize the emotional connection with our collage.


Boost Creativity with a Mind Map Collage



Brand Logo brainstorm collage featuring logo pictures, newspaper, tinfoil, cardboard and masking tape

PikWizard images used:



Brainstorming is an effective way to collect your ideas. If you want to lay out your mind map in a more visual way, creating a collage boosts inspiration. As you add to your design, you can explore different avenues to create a roadmap for a future project.




Our mind map collage focuses on gathering ideas and graphics for branding and logo design. Visualize your ideas with high-quality stock photos, notes about the meaning behind your future logo, and the types of fonts you think would fit to convey your brand message. 




Enjoy using different textures to create effects and convey emotions that fit with your brand identity. Use this type of collage to spark creative ideas and help you and your team make design decisions around creating a fitting wordmark for your business.



How to Make a Digital Collage


Step 1: Look for Inspiring Stock Photos on PikWizard

Go to pikwizard.com and enter a keyword relating to the theme of your collage in the search bar. Browse our vast library of royalty-free photos to find high-quality images for your collage.




Still looking for inspiration? Have a look at our Most Popular page by clicking the link on the top right and selecting Photos.


Screenshot of the Pikwizard search bar highlighted in red, with more relevant images showing and one highlighted in red

Step 2: Edit Your Favorite Images in Design Wizard

When you click a free photo on PikWizard, a new tab opens. To open and edit the image in Design Wizard, click the Edit Image for Free button.


Screenshot of a selected perfume image of a bride holding a perfume bottle with the 'edit image for free' button highlighted in red

Step 3: Resize Your Canvas and Image

Click Resize in the menu on the top left. Enter your Custom Size or select one of the predefined sizes. Resize and position your chosen photo on your collage.


Screenshot of the design wizard resizing options highlighted in red



Step 4: Change the Background Color of Your Collage

To select a background color, click the square on the top right above your canvas. Move the radio buttons or enter a hex code to adjust the color and opacity.


Screenshot of the background color options in design wizard highlighted in red with the image repositioned near the top right

Step 5: Upload More Images and Position Them

To upload your own or more PikWizard images, click Uploads in the menu on the left. Drag files into the Upload section or select them in Explorer and click Open.


Screenshot of the design wizard canvas featuring more images with the images and upload tabs on the left highlighted in red

To position your images, click the Grid icon on the top right above the canvas and use the grid lines as a guide. 


Step 6: Add Icons, Shapes, and Text

Explore the Design Wizard library of icons, shapes, and fonts through Images, Text, and Shapes in the menu on the left. Adjust colors and font styles in the panel on the right.


Wide screenshot of design wizard with the images, text and shapes tabs on the left all highlighted in red

Step 7: Save or Download Your Collage

To save your collage and return to it later, click Save on the top right and Save Current Design. When you want to work on your collage again, find it in your My Designs folder.


Screenshot of the save and download buttons highlighted in red

To download your collage, click Download. If you’ve chosen free images from the Design Wizard Images library, find your download in your Purchase History. You can download your finished poster here as many times as you like.




Note that you can explore even more images to create stunning collages if you signed up for Design Wizard Pro.


Digital perfume brand identity collage with images of perfume, wood texture, text and icons

Meditate on your Goals and Get Motivated with a Lifestyle Collage

Lifestyle collage with 5 goals written on colored icons over matching images

PikWizard images used: 




Are you looking for a change in your life but unsure how and where to start? Make a collage to become your visual guide towards your new goals. Get inspired and find your way into a clearer picture of what you expect to achieve in the future.




Our lifestyle collage features five elements for a healthier and more balanced lifestyle. We chose our favorite images from our dedicated Fitness and Food and Drink pages on PikWizard and arranged them in Design Wizard. 




Add shapes or icons to create more contrast and an appealing design. Adjust colors in your icons for an inspiring and colorful design that motivates you every day. The text here helps to reinforce the visuals and your new goals.


Create a Mood Board to Visualize Projects for Clients

Interior design visualization collage with wall and furniture imagery, and a selection of colors in boxes

PikWizard images used: 



Whether you work in graphic, web, or interior design, a great way to convey your vision to your clients is to send a digital collage or mood board. A mood board helps you to put your ideas and colors into a visual format that you can send to your clients via email. This makes it easier to discuss your design concept and make any changes. 




Our interior design mood board highlights textures and colors in A4 landscape format. When you’re editing your PikWizard images in Design Wizard, you use the Color Picker tool to get the various colors you want to highlight. To add colors in boxes, create squares with the Shape tool and use the colors you’ve picked from your images or enter hex values in the Color panel to fill the boxes.




Save and download your final version. If your clients request changes you can find your design ready for your edits in your My Designs folder.


Celebrate Your Memories from a Special Day

Birthday collage of 5 images from a birthday celebration framed by teal lines

PikWizard images used: 



Create a collage with your favorite memories of special events in your and your loved ones’ lives like birthdays, graduations, or weddings. Use your design skills to make a personalized gift for friends or family members. 




Or make a collage to plan your celebrations and use our large selection of birthday or wedding images as inspiration. We created our birthday collage in landscape format to have space for as many images as possible.




We used the Shapes tool to create a grid design and selected the green color straight from the images with the Color Picker tool. Play around with positioning and resizing the images until you’re happy with the white space between lines and images.


Collages are versatile and a creative way to visualize ideas. Explore this art form digitally or enjoy the tactile experience of handcrafting using different materials. Knowing the theme and application is a good starting point, but to plan your collage research is crucial to spark new ideas. 


Whether you make a collage for professional or personal purposes, use our creative guide to get the creative juices flowing. If you’re looking for more creative ideas to increase sales, check out our brand new ebook.