Collage 101

My collagesterpiece.

This is a quick and easy tutorial on how to make your own super-cool collaged poster. We’ll be using Photoshop ’cause they offer a free trial :)

What you’ll need:

  • A computer
  • Photoshop
  • An internet connection

How to do it:

Step One: Find your photos!

If you have a Tumblr account, chances are the pics you’ve reblogged will be great source material for a collage you’ll love. When I’m collaging, I go to my Tumblr archive (to get to your archive, type /archive after your Tumblr URL; for example:, and I grab a few of my favorite reblogged pics:

step 1

If you don’t have Tumblr, another great place to go is the “Posts You’ve Liked” tab on Instagram to find some inspo:


Here are some accounts I’d recommend:

And @rookiemag!

Step Two: Open Photoshop!

Photoshop has free trials to try before you buy, so even if you can’t get a Photoshop subscription, you can at least spend a month making some cool collages.

To start, open a new document:

step two 1

The size is up to you: You can select preset sizes in “Document Type” or make a custom size by selecting “Custom.” I’ve decided to make mine the size of standard printer paper, and with a landscape orientation, but that’s up to you. (You can change the document’s orientation by selecting Image, then Image Rotation.) Once your doc is all set, choose File, Open and import all the photos you’ve chosen for your collage:

step two 2

Step Three: Select your background images.

Along the top toolbar, you’ll be able to toggle between the photo files you imported and your document. Choose the first photo you want to use, then use the Rectangular Marquee tool (second from the top left in the toolbar) to select the whole image. Then use Command+C (Ctrl+C) to copy, and Command+V (Ctrl+V) to paste it into your document:

step three 1

Once the image is in your otherwise empty document, you can use Command+T (Ctrl+T) to select the image and alter the size:

step three 2

Handy tip: Hold the Shift key if you want the image to maintain its original proportions.

Step Four: Delete unwanted areas.

For this collage, I only want to use the mountains in this image and delete the background. To do this, I selected the Quick Selection tool (on the left-hand side—it may be hidden under the Magic Wand tool):

step four 1

And clicked on the areas I didn’t want:

step four 2

Then hit delete!

step four 3

Step Five: Add more layers.

Repeat Step Four with other images you’d like to import, deleting the areas you don’t want to include in your collage. Then, to rearrange the images around each other, you can select the Layers tab:

step five 1

And click and drag the layers to change their order on the document:

step five 2

Step Six: Add vector layers (if you want to).

I decided to fill the background with a different image. To do this, move the layer of your new image (in my collage, Layer 3) under the original layer (Layer 2):

step six 1

Using the Quick Selection tool, click on the area where you want to swap in the new image (I wanted to drop the trippy background in Layer 3 into the cloud in the sky in Layer 2), and select the Add Vector/Layer Mask button on the Layers tab:

step six 2


Step Seven: What to do when the Quick Selection tool gets tricky.

When you want to delete the background out of an image that has a bit more detail, the Quick Selection tool may highlight areas you don’t want to delete:

step seven 1

Don’t fret! Simply change the Quick Selection tool from a plus sign, to a minus:

step seven 2

And now you can deselect the mistakes:

step seven 3

Step Eight: Save and share!

Keep playing around, re-arranging your images and layering them how you’d like. Once you’re super happy with your collage and wish to share it with the world, choose File, Save and select JPEG instead of Photoshop PDF:

step eight

Yay! Now you have the perfect collage to cover a book, stick on your wall, or use as a Facebook cover photo or phone wallpaper. The possibilities are endless! ♦