The final assembly

You've put together a collage, and it looks just right. It's time for the final assembly.

Here's a finished arrangement of cutouts. It's time to glue them down.


Apply glue:

Once the composition is right, it's time to glue the elements in place. To make sure the composition stays right, glue one element at a time.

  1. Remove the cutout from the background.
  2. Place a temporary marker on the background so you can relocate the cutout exactly. I use a razor blade for this, but only because it's handy: anything small, flat, and weighty with a distinct corner will do.
  3. Place the cutout upside-down on scrap paper. Be careful here: don't use the same scrap paper location twice, because leftover glue will smear the front side of your cutout. Refresh your scrap paper often.
  4. Apply the glue stick, covering the back of the cutout completely.
  5. Return the element to the background where your temporary marker is located.
  6. Make sure the cutout is placed correctly, then tamp it down with your fingertips. The glue stick is fairly forgiving, and allows you to shift the cutout slightly as needed.

Let dry:

The glue will need an hour or two to dry. Large cutouts may tend to curl up; if it looks like they will, set something heavy, like a book, on top to keep them flat.


If you have a frame, drop the collage into the frame, with glass, and tack it into place.


Careful with that glue!

Glue, by design, sticks everywhere. It's also hard to see, and little bits of glue in the wrong place are hard to remove without smearing or tearing. Be careful what you get on your fingers and where you place your cutouts, because a minor glue mishap can take an aggravatingly long time to fix.