A step-by-step guide on how to make
multi-layered collages with only 2 pieces

1. Create a pattern
2. Print it and apply it to your pattern subject
3. Cut out your pattern subject
4. Test your pattern subject on a background image
5. Fix your pattern subject
6. Show it to me

1. Create a pattern

Create a pattern, using Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, or any image software of your liking. Thanks to this bloody virus, Adobe is giving everyone 2 months of free Creative Cloud. Click here for details.

If you don’t know how to make such shape/form, you can download one of the 3 available here below (2000px png format with transparency). You can train yourself or use simple shapes by trying with one of the 3 basic shapes below as well.




basic 1

basic 2

basic 3

2. Print it and apply it to your pattern subject

• Select the image you want to use with your pattern.
• Print your pattern on sticky labels if possible (like in the photos here) but regular paper will work as well.
• If you work at a bigger scale, split your pattern on several sheets/pages
• Apply them on the back of the image you will cut out, which we’ll call here the pattern subject.
• Use a marker to highlight the weak points of your pattern. These are the zones were the shapes are less connected to other shapes, and therefore more fragile when they are cut.

3. Cut out your pattern subject

Start cutting-out the colored parts of your pattern subject, using a cutter or x-acto knife / scalpel.

Save (a lot of) time and effort by cutting all lines in parallel first like explained here. It will also limit the movements of your image, reducing erosion damage.


Overexcited by this thrilling exercise, you accidentaly cut a colored part of your pattern subject.

It’s alright, we’ve all been there.

Just before going further, apply some tape over that zone and on the parts that still need to be cut.

Cut it all out again and you should be fine to pursue.

Your pattern subject

Good job, you made it.
This example is a big and complex one, don’t go for this at first if you don’t feel comfortable enough. Make a simpler pattern, on a small format. The concept is the same as a stencil, the more complex it gets, the better it looks, but simple shapes work very well.

4. Test your pattern subject

Before fixing your pattern subject to a final background (using spray glue if possible), test it first on several images.

You can also turn it upside down to see if the holes will match better.

Once you picked the right background image, move the pattern subject slightly to enhance specific or interesting parts.

5. Fix your pattern subject

• Place your background image on your workspace, add tape or masking tape around it. These will be used as guidelines later.

• On a separate surface, place your pattern subject upside down, spray some glue (using a medium stack type of glue) but a large glue stick work as well as long as you apply it slowly without pressing too hard. You only need a thin coat of glue on your pattern subject.

• Place your pattern subject sticky side up on your workspace.

• Using the guidelines, carefully put your background image over the pattern subject. Press heavenly all over the surface, and you’re done.

• Medium or low stack glue allows you to replace/move slightly your pattern subject if you screwed up.

6. Show it to me

I want to see what you made.
Tag me on your social medias so I can have a look at it.
Looking forward to seeing what you’ll come up with.

Enjoy, be safe


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