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How to Create a Masterboard Collage for Artist Trading Cards and Junk Journals

Get creative and boost your crafting with a collage masterboard! Here's your guide to the supplies and a technique needed to create unique backgrounds for art journals and artist trading cards.



How to make a collage masterboardf



What are collage masterboards?

A collage Masterboard is a mixed media collage technique often used to create artist trading cards or to add to a junk journal. They use various found and collected papers and ephemera, some painted elements including stenciling, and stamped designs to form a background to use in a further mixed media artwork. They are created by using several layers of elements that build upon each other on the surface. They are then cut to the size needed for multiple art pieces.


The blog Tin Teddy gives a good introduction to what are artist trading cards.




Common supplies used in masterboard backgrounds:


supplies for mixed media masterboards copy




How to make a masterboard collage background:


Start with gluing down strips of paper


using papers for collage

For this step, you can use whatever patterned paper you'd like. That includes scrapbook paper, newspapers, old book pages, and sheet music like mine.


Use Mod Podge or other mediums to glue them down in a random, haphazard way.



Add torn napkins or tissue paper


tissue paper for collage

Adding crumpled tissue paper or paper napkins gives the masterboard some texture, making it a neat mixed-media background.


You can use plain or patterned napkins and white or colored tissue. Anything goes! See my tutorial on how to color plain tissue paper.



Add some acrylic paint or other colored mediums


painting over collage


Add patches of various colors of watered-down or less opaque acrylic paints to paint on top of the collage papers and fill in any blank spaces.


You also don't need to stick with just acrylic paint. You can use any colored medium, like gel crayons, bingo markers, other inks, and watercolors.

See my post about using multiple mediums for backgrounds.



Reduce the brightness

making collaged backgrounds

You can leave what you have so far as it is. But because this was intended to be used as a background, I wanted to tone down the brightness a bit so that the elements I would eventually add to it would stand out more.


So, to do that, I watered down some white craft paint, and using a sponge brush, I applied over the papers and paint, adding more to some areas and less to others. If you try this, just make sure you can still see most of the colors and papers underneath.



Use stencils


stenciling background

Using various stencils adds interest to the collaged background.


Apply it with a sponge brush and just go through parts of the stencil. Try to use colors that blend in but are still visible to the rest of the masterboard.




Use stamps

stamps in mixed media

Stamps also add to the collage. If you added tissue paper initially, you'd want to use foam stamps with acrylic paint. Cling, or rubber stamps, are generally too fine in detail to give a good impression over textured areas.


However, you can make masterboard backgrounds in many ways, including making them flat with various, more intricate stamped images.




Finish it off with some paint splatter


paint splattering

To finish it off, add some splattered paint with a toothbrush.

Go to my tutorial for best practices for splattering paint with a toothbrush.



Once you're all done adding all the elements, add a layer of Mod Podge over your collage to seal it so it can be easily cut and used for multiple projects.



masterboard collage


collage masterboard



I used part of this masterboard to make an art journal page...


masterboard art journal page Small






Here is a different masterboard I created:


masterboard background

I drizzled the top with glitter glue.



collage masterboards copy



I hope this has inspired you to grab your supplies and create your own mixed-media masterboards 😃.




If you love these background tutorials, order my ebook with 30 of these techniques packaged into an 18-page PDF file.










If you loved this technique, please share ❤️❤️❤️



how to make a masterboard background


diy Collage masterboard background




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