Vintage wallpaper collaging – the environmentally friendly art

My blog header is one of my recent creations. I have been experimenting with wallpaper, combining different patterns together on old canvases – otherwise known as Collaging. For those of you who had collaging on your list of new years resolutions – this should give you a kick-start!

According to the Tate Museum Collage is a term used to describe both the technique and the resulting work of art in which pieces of paper, photographs, fabric and other ephemera [that’s one for the dictionary!!] are arranged and stuck down to a supporting surface.  The term collage derives from the French words papiers collés or découpage, used to describe techniques of pasting paper cut-outs onto various surfaces. It was first used as an artists’ technique in the twentieth century.

In this instance I have chosen to use vintage wallpaper. I like to use items that exist already, or were produced for another purpose, and now sit idle waiting for Bernice to do something with them. 

So now you want to know… ‘Where did Bernice locate a selection of vintage wallpaper sitting idle?’

At Flashback- Vintage Fabrics and wallpapers in Northcote, Victoria (naturally!!).

Flashback stock Vintage wallpaper and Fabrics from 1920 – 1980

It was a friends recommendation that led me to Flashback, for a completely different purpose (which I will write about in a future post). When confronted with the array of amazing patterns, colours… and memories (they had the hiddeous unforgettable green and blue floral foil wallpaper from my parents 1970’s bathroom) I was inspired to combine such independently  ‘boisterous’ patterns and colours together within one canvas.

There was a risk it could look like vomit – lots of colours (and textures) mixed together to create a multi-coloured mess (minus the smell!) … however, (in my opinion) I really like the resulting effect.

The picture above was my largest canvas which I named “Delores‘ Tea party“. I also completed an assortment of smaller canvases:

I like to call this one ‘Penthouse Suite – Caesars Palace

I named this after my late great Aunt ‘Aunty Ivy’s Bathroom’, which was in a part of the house, as menaces children, we were not allowed to enter. She would come and go to that part of the house through what seemed like a secret door that was always closed. This was how I imagined her bathroom

This one reminds me of my late Nanny  ‘Nelly’s Kitchen’ where she made the world’s best shortbread (if you are lucky I might share that recipe one day), and her amazing white fruit cake (which Aunty Ivy, her sister, would claim every year was “Definately the best you’ve ever made Nell” . Ivy would apparently also make this claim about every bottle of port she opened!):

This one screams ‘Summer Beach House’ particularly the house where we spent our summers at in the late 70’s in Barwon Heads

This one reminds me of ‘Pimm’s and Lemonade’ and the decor where it might traditionally be consumed:

Some of the tricks if wanting to experiment yourself:

  1. The greater the contrast in colour and wallpaper era, the better (if you want to make an impact)
  2. Play around with the pattern, widths and combination of wallpapers you want to use before you cut it into pieces.
  3. To ensure that you cut the pieces ‘perpendicular’ best to use a ‘square‘ to get the edges angled correctly (it will save frustration later!)
  4. I used standard craft glue to stick the wallpaper to the canvas, painting the glue on the back of the wallpaper evenly before sticking.
  5. Make sure you slowly slide a ruler across the wallpaper (after sticking) to remove any air pockets, also ensuring it sticks evenly.
  6. I used old canvases, however you could stick on to wood or any other flat surface.
  7. If the pieces of wallpaper you cut overhang the edge of the canvas you can trim it with a Stanley knife (utility knife) once the glue has dried – the wallpaper can get soft and tear when the glue is wet.
  8. Sometimes the best combination is something you would never do – be daring when choosing the wallpaper, and combining it on the canvas!

My sister has just given me a new selection of patterns to experiment with in the new year – so stay tuned for some new combinations.

Happy collaging…. and Happy New Year!


One response to “Vintage wallpaper collaging – the environmentally friendly art”

  1. Your so clever xxx

Tell me what you think…

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: