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Collage Patterns


What are patterns? How can we make them with cut or torn shapes?

Grade Level




Big Idea/Theme

Artists can create patterns in their collages.

Essential Question

How can we make patterns?

  • Slide Deck

Materials and Tools

  • Colored paper (construction paper, magazine pages and notebook paper)
  • Large sheet of background paper
  • Scissors (optional)
  • Glue (optional)


Step 1

Look for patterns in your surroundings. Patterns can be made of shapes, lines, and colors that repeat over and over. They can be found on clothing, curtains, the floor tiles, and doors.

Take pictures or draw the patterns you see!

Step 2

Cut or tear thin and thick strips of paper. You’ll need at least 5 or of each.

Cut or tear squares, rectangles, and triangles. You can make them small and large. Make 5-10 of each in each color.

Optional: Cut or tear other shape of your choice.

Step 3

Take out the large sheet of paper that will be your background. Select a strip of paper and place it on your background.
You can make stripes by lining up strips of paper from one edge of the paper all the way to to the other edge.

  • Will you start with thin or thick strips?
  • Are the stripes close together or far apart?
  • Will you put shapes or other stripes
  • between the tripes?
  • Look at your pattern. Do you notice any
  • new lines or shapes?

Step 4

Remove all the shapes and strips of paper. Select a new shape to place on the background paper. Try arranging shapes in a row. Make another row using the same shape or a different shape.

If there is space you can make another row. Look at your pattern. Do you notice any new lines or shapes?

Step 5

Let‘s make one more pattern. You can put 2 shapes together to make a new shape. Join 2 triangles along their longest edge to make a square. Or try putting 2 triangles together to make a bigger triangle. Repeat the shapes to fill your paper.

You can make a pattern with alternating shapes by adding different shapes in the spaces between one kind of shape.

Step 6

Try a pattern using diagonal stripes. Can you make “V” or “x” shapes?

Try layering a shape like square or triangle on top of the stripes. You can also layer a shape on top of another shape.

Step 7

When you are happy with your pattern, use glue to attach your shapes to the background. When gluing layered shapes, glue the bottom shapes first.


What kind of pattern did you make? (stripe, shape, layered)
I made a ____________ pattern.
What shapes did you use? (triangles, squares, rectangles, thin/thick strips)
I used ________________________________ to make my
How did you arrange them? (put them in rows, alternated shapes, placed
them diagonally, layered shapes or strips)
I ______________________________________________.
I put the triangles in rows.
I alternated the squares and triangles.
I put a smaller triangle inside a big triangle.




Collage Patterns
Written by Cynthia Chen, Artist Instructor

Studio in a School NYC Team
Andrea Burgay, Associate Director
Julie Applebaum, Senior Director
Hasna Muhammad, Ed.D., Chair, Board of Directors, Studio in a School Association
Alison Scott-Williams, President, Studio in a School NYC

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