Japanese Paper Collages

Collage means to glue, and comes from the French word coller. It involves the use of just about any material which is assembled on a surface. While the possibilities are endless, in this project, focus is on the use of Japanese paper. A detailed history of these papers can be found here


  • white matboard, 8″ x 12″
  • black bristol board, 10″ x 14″
  • selection of Japanese paper
  • scissors
  • glue stick

The Paper Place in Toronto offers an assortment of scrap bags which they call Snack Packs. This is what I have been using, and find it’s a great way to obtain a range of papers at a decent price. When using these magnificent papers, you should save even the smallest pieces. They can be used in projects that I will post in the future (eg.ornaments).


1. Lay out all the paper you have so you can have a good look at the colours and patterns available to you. Although some children just dive in and select papers they like the look of, others need a little help. You can suggest themes like using a single colour and creating a monochromatic colour scheme; focussing on the different textures; selecting only floral prints; creating abstract compositions; making patterns; making a landscape. If you are going to be adding origami to your collage, consider making a suitable background eg. water and waves for origami fish. Also keep in mind that you can tear these papers, drawing attention to the wonderful  fibres from which they are made.

2. Once you have cut or torn your shapes and like the look of your layout, you can glue your paper onto your matboard. Add a little double-sided tape to the back of your board and mount it on the black bristol board. This will really bring out the colours and give it a nice, finished look. Finally, add origami if you have chosen to make any. See ‘Origami 101’ post for instructions on how to make the butterfly and sailboat pictured here. See ‘Something Fishy‘ for instructions on making the fish.


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Filed under collage, origami

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