This post first appeared on The Pigeon Letters

If you’ve ever worked with Photoshop or another digital editing software and fell in love with adjustment layers, this is the perfect tutorial to achieve that same look in real life. We are going to create transparencies that you can use in your next collage, mixed media piece, line drawing, or even lettering! What is so fun about this project is that just about every creative discipline can use this to enhance their projects and add some interest to their artwork. Trust me, it’s easier that you probably think!

Savina Monet Collage DIY Transparency - Gather Your Supplies


  • Scissors
  • Clear Packaging Tape
  • Magazine Clippings
  • Water
  • White Paper to act as canvas

Optional supplies:

Step 1: Trim Your Clippings

Maybe you’re like me and rip out entire pages with the intention of only using the corner piece. If that’s the case, you’ll have to trim down your clippings to the area that you would like to use. Start to think about how you would like your transfer to look and cut to size.

Once your clippings are all prepped, place them on your canvas. Here’s where the magic happens!

unique collage techniques

Step 2: Play With Layout

This is the step that doesn’t really need any guidance. Go wild with your clippings, play with directional movement, foreground and background, any sort of composition. There is no wrong way to do this, you just want to get an idea of how your transparency will work with your piece.

collage arrangements

Step 3: Making Your Transparency

Alright, here’s where it gets wild. We are going to tape over the paper that we want to become our transparency. Take your time laying down the edges of your tape, I like to work on one edge and smooth out the tape to the other side. If your tape isn’t wide enough to capture the entire image, don’t worry. You can simply overlap the edges of the tape, once we are all finished the seams won’t be noticeable.

mixed media tricks for collage

Step 4: Soak Your Paper

Now I know you guys are probably thinking I went off the deep end here, but trust me. It’s all part of the process. We are going to dunk our paper in water being sure to really soak the entire image. I’ve found that sometimes I have to rub my finger over any dry bubbles to really work the water in. Leave here for about 10-15 seconds.

collage hacks

Step 5: Rub Dry & Cut to Size

Now we are going to flip over our transparency so it is tape side down and rub our finger over the backside. The paper will start to pill and fall apart, this is exactly what we want. Keep rubbing the paper until there is nothing left. You’ll want to keep a cup of water and a towel handy to dry up any messes. Once the paper is gone, you’ll see the ink from the front of the magazine has transferred to the tape. Use your image as a guide and cut your transparency to size.

Step 6: Now Enjoy!

Once we have our cut out transparency, we can play with overlaying it on fun bright paper, working it into an existing drawing, or even laying it on another transparency! As you can see, there are an infinite number of ways that you can use these little guys for all kinds of projects. I would love to see what you come up with so be sure to tag me @savinamonetwhen you post your finished product online!

Savina Monet Collage DIY Transparency - Final Artwork