Family how-to: collage colourful magnets

Published 20 October 2017

Forage for some autumnal inspiration, then get cutting and sticking to create moveable magnetic cut-outs that you can put on the front of your fridge.

  • Put the skills from our colourful summer family how-tos into practice with a new autumnal activity. Forage for autumn leaves, lay them out, then snip and stick cut-outs using colourful paper. You’ll end up with a bright, magnetic composition for the front of your fridge.

    Extra inspiration!

    Our exhibition Matisse in the Studio was all about Henri Matisse’s collection of vases, chairs and other objects, and the artworks that they inspired. When he painted and created “cut-outs”, Matisse used vivid, bright colours. Take a look at his paintings and “cut-outs” here. He first made cut-outs so he could try out different arrangements for compositions. He called the cut-outs “the simplest and most direct way” to express himself.

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      What you need

      • Scissors

      • Coloured paper and card – a mixture of colours

      • Magnetic tape or small magnets

      • A glue stick or double sided tape

      • Leaves, twigs, pinecones or anything else autumnal to inspire you!

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      1. Forage for leaves

      Go out into a park, the countryside or the streets near where you live with your family. Look at the autumnal colours of the trees around you and forage for bright and interesting leaves.

      If you see anything else autumnal that you like, pick that up too (apples, twigs, pinecones…).

      When you get home, lay out your autumnal objects on a table or flat surface. You might want to press the leaves between the pages of a heavy book to flatten them.

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      2. Choose one leaf to start with

      Look really closely at the leaf.

      What texture is it? What shape is it? What are the main colours in the leaf?

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      3. Choose paper that matches your leaf, trace around the leaf and cut out the shape

      Maybe the leaf you chose has hints of another colour in the centre. You may want to choose two or more colours to reflect the colours you can see in your leaf.

      Trace around the edge of the leaf with a pencil or crayon and then cut it out with scissors.

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      4. Add another colour

      Use your secondary colour to make another shape to stick on top of your first one, using a glue stick or tape, to show the different colours of the leaf.

      You can make it look as realistic as you want, and add as many colours as you like!

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      5. Add magnetic tape to the back of the paper

      Turn the leaf over and cut a piece of magnetic tape.

      Stick the adhesive side of the magnetic tape to the paper or card.

      You may need to use more tape, depending on the weight of your paper and the size of your cut-out.

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      6. Make some more!

      Choose some other leaves you liked and make some more collage cut-outs!

      You might want to choose lifelike colours, or use your imagination to think of different colour combinations. Think about how Matisse used bright colours and bold shapes for his cut-outs.

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      7. Stick them on the fridge

      Play around with your composition on the fridge. When you arrange the leaves, what looks best?

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      8. Add some new shapes or objects to your composition

      Try adding some geometric shapes to your composition (using paper behind magnets will still work, but card may be too thick) and experimenting with different colours. What colours complement your leaves?

      You can leave the magnets up on the fridge, or stick them down onto some white A3 card to keep.

  • Share a photo of your Matisse magnets @royalacademy on Twitter or @royalacademyarts on Instagram using #familyhowto.

    Photography by Simon Pask photography.