How To Create a Unique Watercolor Photo Collage

design team - julie diy Oct 29, 2021
Make a DIY watercolor photo collage

Today we are going to create one of my favorite projects ever - a Watercolor Photo Collage! I love to make these to commemorate special events and celebrate birthdays. These collages are so fun and there are a million ways you can customize them to make them your own.

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 YouTube tutorial instead. I can’t wait to see what you create! Let’s get started.


Prefer watching the tutorial instead?








Step 1: Paint!



To start this project, you are going to paint a watercolor wash using all 4 colors on your larger, 9 x 12 sheet of watercolor paper. Using the Indigo color, paint about half of the sheet. Using more or less water and paint, make some variations in the saturation on your sheet. You will want the paint to bleed and blend in order for it to be more interesting.



For the bottom half of the sheet, start with some of the Perylene Green and work your way down using the Burnt Sienna and Yellow Ochre. These colors will naturally bleed into each other so try not to actively blend them. Blending them too much will muddy up your colors.

Set this sheet off to the side to dry.



Next, grab your 8 x 10 sheet of watercolor paper, ruler, pencil and painters tape. Find the center of your sheet with your ruler and lightly draw lines to mark the center on the top and bottom. Use your painters tape to mark off a diamond shape.

*Tape Tip: Rip off a piece of painters tape or washi tape and stick it to your pants or shirt before sticking it to your watercolor paper. This will help prevent the tape from tearing your paper when you peel it off!

Using the Yellow Ochre, fill in the center of your diamond. Peel off your painters tape and touch up any edges as necessary. Set this sheet aside to dry with your other watercolor sheet.




Need a beautiful pouch for the pencils and other supplies? Have a look at this cutie  !




Step 2: Cut!



While your paint is drying, you are going to cut out around the edges of your photo. When choosing your photo, try to find one that doesn’t have too many stray hairs or blurry edges. This will make the cutting go a lot smoother!



Once the watercolor is dry, you are going to cut out some shapes from the larger, watercolor wash sheet. 

Using the painters tape or an empty glass, trace a circle on the indigo portion. Next, cut out two, smaller circles in the area between the blue and green.



On the orange and yellow portion, cut out four leaf shaped pieces. Each one will about about 1.5” to 2” long.

Arrange your cut-out pieces on your collage so that you can adjust the size and shape of them. The two smaller circles will go on the top, left hand edge of the diamond. The larger circle will overlap the bottom, right hand edge of the diamond. The photo will be on top of the larger circle, in the center of the diamond. The four leaves will go on the bottom edge of the photo.



Step 3: Glue and Embellish 



Before gluing down your pieces, draw two gold circle outlines with your gel pen over the upper, right hand side of the diamond. Using the white gel pen, draw some white lines over half of the large circle and half of one of the smaller circles.



Next, glue down your circles, the photo and then the leaves, in that exact order. 



Finish your piece off with some small gold dots as embellishment and you’re done! You have a beautiful, custom piece of art!

If you try out this tutorial, let me know! Tag me on Instagram (@harp_and_crow) 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!


Pin this beautiful tutorial for later.