Upcycled Watercolor Collage

design team - julie painting Apr 05, 2022
How to upcycle watercolor art into a collage

If you’re anything like me, you’ve got a drawer or box filled with cast-off pieces of artwork. What do you do with your misspelled lettering pieces, smudged galaxy watercolors or warm up sheets? Today we are going to be repurposing these old pieces and breathing new life into them!

I’m Julie (@harp_and_crow on Instagram) and I can’t wait to share this project with you. I am going to walk you through it step-by-step, but you can also watch the video tutorial instead.  I can’t wait to see what you create! Let’s get started.






Prefer watching the tutorial instead?



Step 1: Prepare Your Background


The first step in upcycling your old pieces into a new work of art is to create a fun background for the collage. I chose a bright pink gouache, but feel free to use any other color or type of paint. 

Using your painter’s tape, mark off the outer edges of your sheet of watercolor paper. Next, use your gouache to cover the sheet in a wash of color. Pull the tape off (pulling with the tape angled toward the paint) and set it off to the side to dry.



Step 2: Start Upcycling!


Lay out your old pieces of art on your desk and try to find a few spots where you’ll be able to cut out some flowers, leaves and stems. I start with the stems because you’ll need a longer, thinner slice of paper for those. Cut five stems in a slight curved shape. Be sure they are long enough to reach at least the middle of the background.

Next, cut out some basic circles and half circles for your flowers. Leaving the shapes so basic lets the focus be on the texture and pattern of the paper you’re cutting. 



Each stem will need a few leaves, so cut out some tear-drop shaped ones and some pointy, football-shaped ones. Alternate the type of leaf on each flower.


Need some more inspiration for your fun florals? Grab Peggy's Guide to Nature Drawing & Watercolor now.



Step 3: Glue and Embellish


Once the pink background is dry, you can glue on your floral pieces. Glue the stems first, then the flower, followed by the leaves. I like to vary to height of the flowers to give the piece more interest. Trim your stems to reach the bottom of the pink portion and trim any leaves that might seem overpowering. Sometimes I make edits once I see the cut-out pieces on the paper, so go back and cut new flowers or stems as needed. 

Using your gold or white gel pen, embellish the flowers with lines, dots and circles. Using the white gel pen, draw some small dots and stars in the background. And that’s it! You’ve breathed new life into old pieces of discarded work and created something new.



I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and I can’t wait to see what new art you create with your old art! Tag me on Instagram because I would love to see your work. Thanks for creating with me today!



Julie is a self-taught artist living in Central California with her husband & three daughters. She rekindled her love of art during the most trying years of early motherhood and has found a passion for helping others ignite their creative spark. Check out more of Julie's tutorials here!


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