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Eric Carle Inspired Collages

Diana MacKenzie

I wanted to share with you the collagy characters that are appearing in The Studio recently. The current project is Carle-Inspired Collages and we are using tissue paper and drawing tools, materials inspired by Eric Carle’s picture book illustration process. We offer this project every year and it continues to be a favorite with guests who visit us from around the world during these warmer summer months.

To adapt Eric’s beautiful and unique style to a family-friendly version, we use colorful “bleeding” and “non-bleeding” tissue papers from Nasco Arts & Crafts. These papers pair well with beeswax crayons, Crayola color sticks or oil pastels for drawing tools. Right now we’re using classic crayons, but we mix it up from time to time. Our papers aren’t painted like Eric Carle’s, but the tissue can be layered and applied in different ways to create just as interesting a picture.

A lot of people ask us about the adhesive we use for this project. We used undiluted liquid laundry starch and we poured a small amount into no-spill paint cups. We’ve also made no-spill paint cups with deli containers, which work just as well if you only need a few, are on a tight budget, or just prefer using recycled materials for your art space!

You could also make your own glue, we have a great Homemade Liquid Starch Glue recipe.

Enjoy the images below we’ve captured of our creative guests’ collaging process.

Above, a crinkle folding technique, and below lots of tiny carefully cut shapes combined with larger torn pieces.

Above, a free-form dragon and sky made with small overlapping pieces, and below an asymmetrical mountain landscape with scrunched and torn papers.

Who doesn’t love looking at a big beautiful sunflower on a sunny summer day?

We’ll be making tissue paper collages in the studio until early September, so stop by and create your own masterpiece to display in The Studio with these many other creations.

Update: 6/27/2018: We no longer use store-bought liquid laundry starch in the Art Studio and instead use AP-certified non-toxic Elmer’s Art Paste.


Diana, smiling wearing an orange scarf and brown shirt.

Diana MacKenzie

Public Art Program Educator from 2007-2016, Diana has a BFA in Printmaking from Syracuse University and creates mixed-media works inspired by her travels, combining her interests in printmaking and sculpture. She received her M.A.T. from Mount Holyoke College in June 2017, and continues teaching visual arts to children and adults.