Monday, September 17, 2012


Don't throw away your failed art work or scraps of painted paper!!!  I repeat...don't throw them away!! Why you ask?  Because they can be recycled and used in future art projects.  Every painted piece of paper can be used in some form or another.  Even the newspaper print that you use to protect your table when spray painting those inky pages and even the paper towel used to clean your paint brush.  Save them all!!!

This next project is a technique that I learned from the very talented Joanna Grant, a fellow classmate in the Joanne Sharpe Color Love 101 Class.  Joanna recycles her art to make wonderful collage art pieces.     I have tried collage before but it never occurred to me to recycle my own art work.  If you would like to see some of Joanna's work, pop on over to her blog and Esty store:


First, you need an inky or painted substrate on which to paste all your art elements.  I chose a journal that I made in Joanne Sharpe's Letter Love 101 class. This was made by using watercolor paper, stencils and Dylusions and Ranger Colorwash sprays.

Next, look for art elements to use in your project.  Look at using your original art work including your art rejects, inky papers, saved magazine or newspaper pictures, ephemera, etc.  (Be careful if you sell your art work that you only use copyright free images.)  Now, decide which elements you wish to use.   Don't worry if you don't want to cut up an original or if the image is not the right size......we can copy and re-size them.

For this project, I didn't want to destroy ANY of my original art work, even the rejected pieces. You never know when you might want to use that particular piece again. So... I scanned and re-sized all the chosen elements using Photoshop Elements software.  You may have a different photo editing software that will work just as well and that's fine.  The important thing is that your software allow you to crop the scanned images. You don't want to waste all your precious printer ink just to use a very small portion of the picture.  Also, you need software that will allow you to include several images of varying sizes on one piece of paper. This will save a lot of printer paper!!  Hey!!  This tutorial is about recycling isn't it?  Well....we don't want to create more waste do we?

For this piece, I wasn't real particular about the size of the individual elements except for the lady's body which had to exactly fit the length of the page.  Everything else could be approximate.  Therefore, I scanned both the upper and lower parts of the body,  cropped and re-sized them to exact measurements.   I could not live without the resizing feature in Photoshop Elements.  It is probably the feature that I use the most!  It allows me to select the exact size in inches, pixels, millimeters and more.  If I want my finished image to be 3 inches tall, my printed image will be exactly 3 inches tall.

I wasn't too particular about the sizes of the remaining images so I eyeballed the sizes by first cropping and then dragging and dropping them onto a blank 8.5 " x 11" page.  I then stretched them to size by grabbing a corner and stretching until I felt the size was approximate enough for my use.  (Used Photoshop Elements)

Now we're ready to print but before we move on, I need to make a few comments about the printer and paper.  I happen to use an HP inkjet all in one printer that uses Viera ink.  It does a suitable job, although, the blacks are not as dark as I would like them to be.  I was able to improve this a little by selecting a better quality paper.  I now use Hammermill Color Digital paper.  So, keep in mind....the paper can make a difference!  

The picture below shows the inky journal and all the scanned and printed elements that I planned to use for the circus girl journal page.  Notice that I have several sizes of the same element?  I couldn't decide the size I needed so I made several different sizes.  The ones that I didn't use went to my recycle pile for use in a future project.

Oh!  Almost forgot the most important part....the inspiration for this piece was a picture that I clipped from a magazine of a girl riding a unicycle.  I only wanted to use the bottom half of the girl so I copied and re-sized it.  The top half of the girl was from a journal page and prior blog about using Washi tape to make "She Art."  You may recognize her!  Be creative and use a combination of your recycled art, clippings from magazines, newspapers, paper napkins..anything that your little ole heart desires!!!'re ready to cut out the elements, position them onto a painted substrate and when you are happy with the composition, glue into place.  I used a good quality glue stick like Elmer's Craft Bond Photo Stick. Don't make the same mistake that I made by buying Elmer's School Glue Stick.  (I bought six giant tubes!!  When I make a mistake, I make it big.  Ugh!) School glue is made for kids and does not stick to inky pages.

Once all the elements are glued into place, you can then add the finishing pen work, doodles, lettering or more.  For my piece, I added the tutu, arms and umbrella handle, pole for the yoga girl, and the tightrope wire.   That's it!!!

I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial and if you have any questions, please feel free to leave me a comment.  Have a happy recycling!!!


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