Getting crafty in quarantine – how to collage storage boxes with magazine clippings, stickers, and Mod Podge

DIY Collage

It’s hard to believe it’s almost August and we are entering our 6th month in quarantine lockdown due to the Covid-19 global pandemic. Since my 23 yr old son and I are both high risk, we have spent a majority of the last six months at home or at my parents home. To pass the time, my son plays his Xbox video games nonstop. As for me, I’ve tried all kinds of ways to pass the time.

When I’m not working from my dining room table, you will find me walking our dogs, Roxie and Bella, cleaning or organizing my closets and drawers, and binge watch shows on Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, DisneyPlus, Amazon Prime, and Masterclass. I’ve also spent my time playing with legos, reading books, writing, and crafting.

I recently took an online, virtual collage class with my friend Lisa that lives in Dallas. One of the upsides of quarantine life is that it’s normalized virtual meetings with friends and family around the country and opened up the possibility of doing things together online that we might not have even considered before the virus hit.

The theme of the class was “Wizard of Oz”. As I started to gather supplies from around my house, I went onto Amazon and found a cool children’s book with amazing illustrations of this iconic story. I was like Edward Scissorhands cutting up magazine images and quotes as I prepared for the class. You could say I have a tendency to overdo things and that was the case when it came to my pile of supplies.

At the start of the class, the teacher asked us to “bring our whole-selves” to the project. She emphasised the importance of being fulling engaged in the moment. “Be present”, she said firmly. Maybe it was because I’d already had one too many whifs of the rubber cement or maybe it’s because it’s been awhile since I’ve played with stickers, but I was 100% ready to throw myself into cutting, arranging, and gluing. I selected storage boxes, that I had found at the clearance rack at Michaels, as my canvas and got to work.

I vaguely remember the teacher telling us that “less is more” and pretended that she really meant “more is more”. As the class went on, she started asking a few of us to share our work. Holding my first piece up to the camera with pride, I vividly recall the teacher leaning in closely, letting out what sounded like a heavy sigh, and telling me my creation was “Mmmmm…very interesting”. LOL

I’d forgotten how much I loved playing with pictures, using my hands to merge images together in ways that are pleasing to my eye. It had been years since I’d attempted a collage mod podge project.

My last collage project made up of clippings out of a magazine that I worked at for nearly a decade.

Hours flew by as I mod podged my little heart out, jamming out to hip hop tunes with a steady beat in the background. When I finished gluing everything down and was content with my pieces, I realized I had a smile on my face. I’d just spent hours “being in the moment” not thinking about work or the global pandemic or any of the political craziness that takes over my Facebook feed. I was one with the rubber cement and glue sticks. I felt peaceful.

Want to get started on a piece of your own? It’s really quite simple. You just need magazines, books, scissors, a glue stick, rubber cement, mod podge, stickers, craft paper, glitter, and paint. I choose storage boxes as my canvas, but you can really use anything; an actual canvas, poster board, even a sheet of paper. Start by cutting out images, words, and quotes that bring you joy out of the magazines or books.

Next…just play. Arrange and rearrange until you like the way things look. I save gluing things down toward the end when I’m ready to commit to the placement of the images and stickers. Finally, paint an even coat of mod podge across your canvas and let it air dry for a few hours. Add a second coat if you think it needs it. Viola! You’re an artist!

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Alysse Bryson
Alysse Bryson

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