Collage Revisited

Lesson Plan, Grades K-12, Art, History, Math, Collage, Drawing


Lesson Plan and Artwork by Joe Culotta

The American Heritage Dictionary defines collage as “an artistic composition of materials and objects pasted over a surface, often with unifying lines and color.” The origin of the word is French: coiler, to glue. Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque launched collage into the mainstream of art in Paris in the 20th century and popularized the term. This lesson plan is adaptable for students of all age levels. It will explore all aspects of design using the collage technique.


  • Students will study the development of the Collage Movement of the 20th century, focusing on Picasso and Braque.
  • Students will cut their finished design into various shapes and apply these shapes to a hard board surface.
  • Students will explore different techniques using various media on black canvas, i.e., colored pencil, paint, oil pastels.
  • Students can experiment with using different materials to raise their cut shapes, creating a relief structure within their collage

Supplies Needed

Black Canvas Pad, 9 x 12 in, 10 sheets
Canvas Panels, Tara Gray, 11 x 14 in
Canvas Panels, Heather Green, 11 x 14 in
Heavy-Bodied Acrylic Paint, Pint, Set of 12
Canvas Panels, Georgia Peach, 11 x 14 in
Multi-Media Varnish, Gloss, Quart
Canvas Panels, Cappuccino, 11 x 14 in
Newsboard, 9 x 12 Inches, Natural
Oil Pastels, Set of 25
Color Sticks, Set of 24
*Here are the supplies needed for this lesson plan for reference. Find a convenient carousel of shoppable products for this lesson below.


Standard #2: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
Standard #3: Define and complete artistic work.
Standard #5: Develop and refine artistic work for presentation.



Explore with students the various origins of Collage/Cubism, focusing on the works of Picasso and Braque.


Show students how various media such as colored pencil, paint and oil pastel can be used on black canvas.


Have students create a design/drawing on black canvas using various media such as colored pencils, paints and/or oil pastels.


Using their completed design/drawing, have students cut the canvas into various geometric or irregular shapes.


Using these “shapes,” students can lay out their collage on a canvas panel. This layout will allow them to play with their design and decide on the best positioning of the shapes. NOTE: If using a white panel, it can be toned.


Using various materials such as newsboard or cardboard, students can experiment with adding different heights to their shapes, creating a relief structure within their collage.


Once placement has been decided, the shapes and their support pieces can be glued onto the panel.


Mixed Media Varnish can be used to highlight and/or protect some or all of the pieces.


Have students share and discuss their final pieces with each other.