Mix – Cut – Copy

Last month, I got totally gobsmacked by one of James Burke’s videos, Collage + Copy Tutorial. It consists of assembling different elements to make a non-permanent collage page that you would then photocopy to create different projects.

This video is inspired by James’s tutorial, with my twist.

mix copy cut thumbn

Watch it on Youtube and Vimeo (free download)

I started by assembling my supplies, some of them I didn’t use as I decided not to plan anything.


  • cardboard or thick sheet of paper to use as a base
  • washi tape
  • magazines, collage/scrapbook papers, fabric, paper embellishments, scraps of paper, book pages, comic book pages, colouring pages, music sheets; I’m also using my tarot cards, my own artwork and a stencil
  • paper clips
  • scanner, memory stick, computer and printer
  • white card paper
  • Photo editor software (I’m using Photoshop CS5)
  • my phone’s camera
  • Polaroid Zip app on my phone (or any other image editing app where you can add filters to your photos)
  • paper cutter/guillotine
  • markers and paint pens to add doodles



This project is great for beginners as no drawing skills are required (even if you can use your own artwork as “collage” papers and elements).
I love the fact that these collaged sheets are not permanent as you can reuse your elements over and over again.

Place your papers and elements, attaching them on your base until you are happy with your design. I’m using a washi tape with poor adherence as I know my elements and papers won’t be damaged when removing them from the base, as well as coloured paper clips which will show and add interesting elements to my final page.
You can arrange your elements in any way you like, planning it all in advance, or going instinctively (like I do in this tutorial) or even picking and placing elements randomly without even auditioning.

I am creating 2 different projects in this video to start with.

In James Burke’s video, he photocopies his collaged pages, but I decided to scan them and print them, and this for 2 reasons. Firstly, I want to keep my collaged pages in case I want  to be able to reuse them again. Also, the printer part of my scanner/printer does not work so I can’t copy anyway; I have to scan first for it to be printed on my main printer.
I am scanning my pages as individual jpeg files, with a 600 dpi resolution and photo option, so that it will be scanned in the highest quality. As some of my elements go over the A4 page, these were scanned as  A3 pages.

Once saved on my memory stick, I open the image files on my computer in my Photoshop software. If you don’t have any, you can insert the image in a Word or Publisher document.
In my Photoshop options for types of New documents, I’m selecting an A4 size, and insert the image in each new document. Using Photoshop (or any image manipulation software, however basic), you can manipulate your image in many ways (resize, rotate…), and even apply filters. Possibilities are limitless. Once I’m happy, I am saving each document as individual jpeg files. I am creating 3 different versions of each, to show you how you can play with your images on a very basic level. It also gives me a few options for later steps.
I’m printing my pages in colour on white 200gsm card paper.

Once printed, I’m using a paper cutter to cut my pages into various sized-mini cards. I even use an envelope as a template for the size I need if I wanted to send my card in a normal envelope.

After cutting your pages, you end up with a multitude of cards, as well as scraps of papers, which I am keeping.

With all these pieces of patterned cards of all sizes and scraps, you can actually created another collaged page, recycling your creations infinitely.
Creating this new non-permanent collaged page, I am using my phone to show you that you don’t really need a scanner and Photoshop to make this project. I am using the camera on my phone and use a photo editor app (I first tried Snapseed, which I used to love on my Iphone and Ipad, but the Android version is really limiting) – I am using my Polaroid Zip app, but many apps are available where you can apply filters to your images. Once the filter applied, I’m making sure that I am saving my photo so that it can be printed when needed.

As you can see, the creative possibilities of this type of project are endless. You can create backgrounds, collage elements for your creative projects; this is a great way to create mini cards for scrapbooking and Project Life projects.