How to Make Adorable Collage Art of Your Dog

A fun DIY art project to do of your pup.
By Kimberly Santini, September 2019
Dog Collage Art by Kimberly Santini

Art by Kimberly Santini

Show off your dog's adorable smile with a stunning photo collage portrait. Gather together some simple supplies, a photo of your pet and indulge your inner artist. Read our easy and fun instructions on how to make your own DIY custom dog portrait collage art below.

Materials

  • Substrate (paper, a journal or sketchbook page, a panel, cardboard, whatever)
  • Collage papers, magazines to cut up
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • A photo of your dog printed at the scale you wish to use
  • Paint pens/opaque markers
  • Acrylic paints and brushes (optional)

Instructions

1. Choose a substrate of the desired end size. (If you’re thinking of framing this, plan ahead and work in a standard size so that you can slip the piece right into an off-the-shelf frame.) Optional: Paint the substrate a solid background color using acrylic paint (in my example, the background was painted teal).

2. Cut out your dog photo so you have the silhouette of his/her body.

3. Brainstorm a list of your dog’s favorite words. Using different colors and patterns of collage paper, cut out thought bubbles for each command. You can size and shape these however you wish.

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4. Cut a banner or strip of collage paper for your dog’s name. You can size and shape this however you wish.

5. Without glue, play with the placement of the objects on the substrate. Experiment with overlapping the various shapes. Cut out or create new shapes as needed. Pay attention to the colors and patterns you’re using. Move things around until you have an interesting design. Take a photo of the design.

6. Glue the pieces in place. Refer to the photo as needed to recreate the placement of each piece.

7. With acrylic paints/paint pens, add desired details to the background spaces (I used a harlequin pattern and some dots).

8. Add lettering to the thought bubbles. Vary the lettering for added interest. If you don’t like your handwriting, use stamps, or cut out letters from a magazine. In this example, the thought bubbles are lettered with a black Sharpie, and the dog’s name, with paint pens.

9. Scribble a perimeter of color around your dog’s silhouette. I used an opaque paint pen.

10. Add decorative borders to the thought bubbles with paint pens/acrylic paints. Consider adding rays around your dog’s favorite word or command, like I did with “frisbee.”

11. Connect the thought bubbles to your dog’s head with a trail of dots, graduating from smaller (closest to his head) to larger (at the thought bubble).

12. Sign and date the piece; if you don’t want to do this on the front, put it on the back. Trust me—later, you’ll be glad you did.

Kimberly Santini has a BFA in painting and a BA in art history. She was selected as the official artist of the 2015 Kentucky Derby, and her work can be seen in a number of galleries. She and her family, which includes a herd of pets, live in Lake Orion, Mich.
 

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