Make: Scrap Stamp Shape Collages For Kids

Dig into the recycling bin, save some plastic bits from the trash and grab a pile of that scrap paper you’ve been stashing away because we’re making scrap stamp shape collages!

Four of our simple shape stamp collage kids art projects sitting on a pink background.

Sometimes the very best projects come out of having no plan for the project at all. I’m all packed up for a move, surrounded by cardboard boxes with limited access to art supplies, but still in need of a fun creative kids’ project. After surveying the supplies I had (and have to use up!) I decided the best option would be to lay out paper, paint, scrap supplies, some odds & ends, and see where the supplies could take us.

Two of our simple shape stamp collage kids art projects sitting on a purple background.

After an afternoon of trial & error-style experimentation, these playful process art shape collages emerged! One of the joys of open-ended creation is that there isn’t a defined end goal, allowing for so much imagination and creativity. When we’d get to a natural stopping point, it was fun to take it one step further.

From simple square collages to interesting geometric shapes that could be used to build illustrated stories  (like this neighborhood scene above). Can’t you picture covering a bedroom wall with these beauties to create a magical Mary Blair-like castle?

Whether you need a last-minute afternoon art activity for one or plan on decorating a whole school hallway with these, they never fail to entertain and impress. And because you can stop anywhere in the process you’d prefer, these are easily adjusted to work as an art lesson with kids of any age. The inexpensive supplies are a major recycling (and budget!) plus too!

For more shape and form art explorations with simple supplies, try our cardboard tube art assemblages, moveable 2D paper shape art, or process art play tiles.

To make your own scrap stamp shape collages you’ll need:

Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains Woodpeckers Crafts, Etsy, Blick Art Materials, and/or Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*

BASIC SUPPLIES:

  • A couple of sheets of heavy cardstock
  • Scrap paper in assorted colors
  • Scissors
  • Bubble Wrap (we used two different sizes)
  • Acrylic or tempera paint in assorted colors
  • Bottle Caps
  • Plastic Containers
  • A glue stick or craft glue
  • A foam brush or ink brayer

OPTIONAL SUPPLIES:

Kids Scrap Stamp Shape Collage Instructions:

  1. Gather up scrap supplies

    Gather your scraps and supplies! Heavy cardstock makes a nice solid backing that will hold up well to layers of glue and paint.
    Create simple shape stamp collages from scrap paper and recycled bits!
    Pillaging the recycling bin for simple shapes is a great exercise in repurposing! Plastic lids make the perfect filled-in circle stamp ( you probably even have lots of different sizes to choose from). A square plastic take-out food lid makes a great open rectangle stamp. Bubble wrap and mesh can be used to add patterns and textures. What can you find to stamp with?

  2. Make a homemade stamp from scrap cardboard

    You can make your own simple shape stamps with cardboard. We cut a rectangle and half-circle
    shape, then hot glued lines of cardboard (trimming off the excess) for a set of unique homemade patterned shapes.

  3. Begin by gluing down paper scraps

    Start by laying down a simple layer of paper scraps. You can mix & match geometric shapes, organic shapes, or even torn paper. Glue down using a glue stick or craft glue.

  4. Trim edges

    Trim off any excess paper that goes beyond the edges of your cardstock and grab your stamping materials!

    Note: One of the things I love about this project is you can stop whenever you want. Working with younger kids? You may want to spend more time on the fine motor skills of cutting and gluing or focus on shape recognition. These collages we achieved by step 2 have a minimal style that I find particularly beautiful! 

  5. Experiment with adding patterns by printing and stamping

    We used a mixture of printing and stamping techniques. You can use a foam brush to apply paint to large pieces of bubble wrap or cover smaller squares by pressing them directly in paint.

  6. Try using your cardboard stamps to add textures and shapes

    We also brushed paint onto our cardboard stamps (an ink brayer works well for these too if you have one!) You can use one color of paint on them as we did or experiment with different colors or blending paint on the stamp.

  7. Continue to stamp and print until you’re satisfied!

    One of the best parts of creating these collages is experimenting with layers of colors, and observing how the stamps, prints, and papers overlap. There are no mistakes – it’s all about the process!

  8. Let dry for 5-10 minutes

    Once you’re happy with the patterns you’ve made, let your collages dry for about 5-10 minutes.

  9. Add dimension with paper cutouts

    While your collages are drying, you can start working on the next step – another layer of shapes. We used scrap paper to cut circles and create accordion-folded rectangles to add some dimension to our collages. You can lay out your shapes and then glue them down using craft glue or a glue gun. We also added some plastic mesh we had painted for another texture.

  10. Cut collages into simple shapes

    Our collages are already looking SO lovely! If you’re happy with your squares, stop at step 5 – they look fantastic grouped in small sets! OR you can add ONE more shape element by trimming your collage into a circle, triangle, or similar geometric shape.

These shape collages are so whimsical and fun, and a wonderful way for kids to explore new printmaking or collaging processes and tools. For more ways to make your scraps into recycled art, be sure to take a peek at our scrap paper quick collages, torn paper landscapes, modern cardboard geometric necklaces, or easy DIY melted crayon art (always a favorite around here!).

Four of our simple shape stamp collage kids art projects sitting on a pink background.

*A note about affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Blick Art Materials, Amazon, Etsy, or Woodpeckers Crafts. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click through to make a purchase we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!

Amanda Eldridge
Amanda Eldridge

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help kids and families discover their creative potential through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. Amanda has a background in graphic design, environmental design, and art curation. When not playing with ideas and designs for barley & birch, she enjoys working in freelance design, art, and illustration.

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