Manila Folder Abstract Collage

This clothes line abstract collage started out as trashed manilla folders that were being thrown away. I really liked the thickness of these expandable folders and their chipboard-like quality gave me the idea to cut them into sections and store them in my scrap folder for future craft projects. The wood frame was one of several frames bought on sale a while back, which were also saved for future craft projects.

I was inspired with the idea for this art collage when I saw a movie which featured a little house in the countryside. In one yard scene, there was a line full of very colorful clothes billowing in the breeze and it was interesting that you could surmise there was a baby and children of different ages living in the house just by the variety of clothes hanging on the line. I thought, what a beautiful picture this would make, and then thought of this idea to have different types of clothes hanging from a line. The frame (on the outside edges) measures 6-1/2 inches in length by 11-1/2 inches in width.

I measured the back inset of the frame, drew these measurements onto a large piece of the reclaimed cardboard and then cut out the rectangular cardboard which served as a background to support the art pieces. One side of this reclaimed cardboard was a cream color, which was perfect for me to paint the country scene. I used regular acrylic craft paints for the sky and the clouds. Much later, I decided to paint some daisies throughout the scene.

To make the scale of the clothing seem as realistic as possible, I looked through my old fabric remnants for the smallest prints I could find. I then placed the little cardboard shapes onto their respective fabrics and by eye traced each shape onto the fabric (leaving about a 1/4 inch margin all the way around the shape), and then cut out the traced shapes. Next, I used a toothpick to dot a little bit of hot glue (from my hot glue gun) onto each tiny cardboard edge, glued the fabric edge onto the dot of hot glue. Once the cut out fabrics were hot glued to the cardboard cutouts, I let them dry thoroughly. In the meantime, the tiny white striped shirt, white socks, and polka-dot towel were made from plain white cotton, but I used different colored fabric markers to paint on the little stripes and polka-dots. I also used the reclaimed cardboard to make the laundry basket and a brown fabric marker to draw a weave-like pattern on the basket. I used round toothpicks and wire cutters to make the tiny wooden clothes pins, which were carefully hot glued on the string and clothing item by using a toothpick and tiny dot of hot glue.

I used more scrap pieces of cardboard and cut two long strips to make the wood posts. I hot glued some white string near the top of each post to use as the clothes line. I cut out many more small pieces of the thick reclaimed cardboard scraps and hot glued many tiny sets of three little squares together to glue behind each item and make them stand out from the background and give each piece more depth.

I had so much fun making these pieces from reclaimed cardboard and since I cut up many more expandable folders that were thrown away, I will definitely be making another similar project in the near future — stay tuned.

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