Fixing Mistakes On Your Collage

Yeah, mistakes happen. To everyone. Mistakes in art; I call them surreptitious moments. Some of my better ideas and better work came about from what I learned from a mistake. So don't sweat it, embrace it!

One of the most common mistakes in collage are those dreaded lumps and bumps! There have been times when I have actually glued a bead or something small under my paper and didn't notice it until the glue dried. Most times though a bump comes from a piece of paper not having quite enough glue or different parts of the collage drying at different rates. This unfortunately tends to happen right in the middle of an image.

Where exactly this lump occurs and how severe will determine whether of not it's fixable. 

In the collage piece that I demonstrated with last week there was a spot where the paper wrinkled.

This wrinkle occurred because I didn't quite lay the paper down flat enough. 

A tip for helping to avoid wrinkles in the first place is to press your image down firmly and with a even layer of glue behind and on top of the image. I sturdy brush or your finger work great. But lumps can still happen so here's how to handle them.

Here my glue has dried and there is no going back, so I have to deal with the lump. I have on occasion drawn around the lump and made it a part of the piece. This lump occurred in the landscape portion of the collage so it is completely feasible. Ground is never completely flat and even right?

In this case though I decided to try my other trick in addition to the drawings; and that was to sand it down. Yup, sand it. With a fine grade sandpaper (I use this trick on the sides of my canvas as well). Just make sure to sand before you add your drawings!

I could have then covered the sanded down portion with a little paint or more paper, but I decided that the sanded look worked with this piece. I just added my hand-drawn details and I was done.

Now if the wrinkle had happened on the bird image itself then I would have had to decide if I wanted to completely remove the bird image, replace only the part of the bird image with the lump, or sand the lump down and paint over top.
The choice of action would depend on how sever the lump was and where exactly the lump occurred. A lump across the face of the bird would have warranted a new bird image (or at least head), but a lump in the birds body could be sanded and painted over.
If you have any tips on how you get rid of those lumps and bumps in your work, I would love to hear about them.


  1. Sarah, I'm so happy to read your blog! Spring semester is finally over for me, and I now look forward to a wonderfully creative summer. Your blog inspires me even further. I may have to get some glue under my fingernails ...

  2. Hey Deborah!
    Yay for no more school!! Summer and gluey hands go perfect together I think. :)

  3. After finishing collage do we need to fix it with lacquer sprey or fixitive sprey?

    1. A lacquer spray is for finishing and protecting the work. A fixative spray is used as a spray glue to "fix" paper to a surface. Hope that helps. :)


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