Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Character Collage Project

My elementary school's media center had murals of popular characters painted on the walls above the shelves. I can remember seeing Ramona Quimby, Pinkerton, and Corduroy lovingly hand painted onto the cinder block walls. Maybe that is why I was so inspired by a project I saw on Instagram by Apples and ABC's. She had created art for her new Dr. Seuss themed classroom. You can see her beautiful work {HERE} on her blog. I decided that I wanted to do something similar for the space behind my guided reading table in my room. I shared my finished project on Instagram and Facebook. A lot of you had questions about how you could do something similar. So, here is a quick step by step guide to how I made this project.
Step One: Gather Supplies
Sweet Girl and I made a run to Hobby Lobby. I bought black acrylic paint, Glossy Mod Podge, foam brushes, and 2 packages (12 tiles) of Master's Touch Artist Canvas Panels. These were thin and 8 inches square.

Step Two: Who to Include?

While the family watched a movie, I started brainstorming a list of my 2nd graders favorite characters, series, and authors. Then, based on images I could find or personal preference, I narrowed my list down to enough for 12 tiles. For individual characters like Froggy, I thought I might could do a collage of many characters on one tile.

Step Three: The Search Begins
I started searching through Google Images by title, author, or character name. I looked for crisp images that would fit the space I had in mind. This one was a winner because it would be easy to cut out and it had three of the characters I wanted in one shot. I just right clicked and copied the image. 

Step Four: Creating a Document
Using the design tab in Power Point, I set up my slides to be 9 inches square. I knew I would need to buffer for printing. This size slide gave me a good perception of how the images would look on my canvases. Here you can see how the image above looked on the slide.
Here you can also see how some of the images looked before they were cut out and arranged.
Sometimes I used more than one slide. For my Dr. Seuss canvas, I used one slide for the characters and another for the truffula trees. Later, I would layer these images.

Step Five: Print, Paint, and Cut!
Sorry but I didn't get any pictures of this process. 

Important: Print your slides on CARDSTOCK! Copy paper is too thin and tears too easily! 

Basically, I covered the table with paper. Then, I used a foam brush to do two coats of black acrylic paint on each canvas. While they were drying, I cut out the images I wanted and toyed around with how to arrange them. 

Helpful hint: Eliminate all white space when cutting out the characters. Sometimes I had to make a tiny cut to get through to the white space by a character's arm or something. I knew it would be okay because the mod podge would glue it all back as one image anyway. 

Step Six: Let the Fun Begin!

Once the paint was dry and the images were ready, I slathered mod podge all over the canvas with a foam brush. I laid the cut out images on top and then sealed it down with more mod podge. Here is a peek at one freshly mod podged. 

Step 7: Enjoy!

Once it's done drying, have fun arranging your tiles and deciding how to display them. I thought about adding ribbon and hanging them on command hooks. Instead, I decided just to hot glue them to the wall as is. I will post pictures when I do my classroom reveal soon.
I would LOVE to see pictures if you decide to give this a try! What characters will you use? 


  1. This looks amazing! I think I will have to give it a try for my book corner this coming year, Thanks for sharing!
    Growing Little Learners

    1. Thanks so much, Pixie Anne! I really would love to see a picture when you get it done!

  2. I LOVE this! Very clever....and I think I could actually do it!
    Chickadee Jubilee

    1. Thanks! You should try it! It was a fun and reasonably inexpensive project!

  3. Wow! That is a great idea! Although I wish I didn't see this because now I want to do it and I have NO time. Those are treasures.
    Tales of a Teacher

    1. Thanks, Kelli! I understand not having time for another project. I am currently marking things off my to do list because there just won't be time to finish them. Maybe next summer, right? :)