Types of Balance Cut Paper Collage Art Project

Types of Balance CollageAfter the Types of Balance Art Lesson, my HS Art class created a Types of Balance Cut Paper Collage. This lesson focuses on composition, design, balance, and visual rhythm through repeated shape and color.

Balancing Act – Types of Balance and Visual Rhythm Cut Paper Collage

Project Objective: Create a cut-paper collage that clearly demonstrates the 3 main types of balance: Symmetrical, Asymmetrical, & Radial. Design 3 separate, but unified non-objective compositions using each type of balance, cut individual shapes out of colored paper, and glue them onto ONE sheet of 12×18” black paper. Include a ½” boarder around all sides of your designs-you will have to figure out the dimensions in your sketchbook!

Your collage should only include lines, shapes & colors- NON-OBJECTIVE design. The shapes can overlap or be trimmed to make new shapes. Shapes can change color when they overlap another shape-adds interest!

Types of Balance Cut Paper CollageUse up to 4 colors & repeat those same colors in each design.  (A color scheme would be great, but not required)

Some In-Progress Pictures:

Types of Balance Collage Types of Balance Collage Types of Balance Collage





SKETCH – Layout & Designs

1.Draw thumbnail sketches to work out your 3 designs. (Quiz Grade!) Repeat lines, shapes, colors & patterns in each type of balance design to create visual rhythm and so the entire piece has a feeling of unity.
2. Design the layout of your composition. You need to choose one type of balance to be your largest square. The other 2 rectangles or squares will be the other 2 types of balance. Figure out measurements.

Types of Balance Collage Layout IdeasBASE
3. Cut your base shapes of your bases that you will glue your collage onto-use the paper cutter (bases should be one of your 4 colors).

4. Cut & glue the pieces for all your collages onto the bases.
5. When finished with the individual balance collages, glue them onto the black paper. Make sure you are keeping consistent ½” margins/boarders.


  • Start with a few L A R G E shapes that break up the background. Keep them different proportions for more interest. Add smaller and smaller shapes as you go, being careful to keep the overall image both balanced and interesting. Shape size is one of the few ways you have to create variety in an image where the shapes and colors are so limited.
  • Create a flow or rhythm in the composition through repetition of design. The shapes should look like they are placed in relationship with each other and not just randomly distributed.
  • Test the balance by turning the composition around, looking at it from several different directions

MATERIALS:  12×18 Black Paper, 12×18 & 9×12 Colored Paper (Best to use Acid Free papers if possible),  stick glue, scissors, Exacto knives, shape templates optional, we also used hole punches and small circle punches

Project Handout: Types of Balance Cut-Paper Collage Handout

Types of Balance Cut-Paper Collage Handout

Lesson plan written by Michelle C. East, copyright 2015. If you choose to use any of this lesson either written or photos, please link back to this post at Create Art with ME.





More Student Examples: (click on picture for full view)

MORE Collage Art Lessons: Notan, Positive & Negative Space Reversal Collage, Mixed Media Still Life and Collage, Cubism Instrument Oil Pastel & Collage


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  1. I love the idea of this project, and I am thinking about implementing at least part of it into my lessons this year! My only issue is that my Art 1 high school kids are…well they are not very imaginative this year. They STRUGGLED through the Elements unit. So now I am trying to choose my projects carefully, making them as SIMPLE as possible. It is so strange how some years I can have a group that really gets it and we roll along and other years are just painful because we have to go over things again and again.

    My digital art class is different, I blogged at digitalartteacher.com about a digital version of teaching the Elements. It might be good to do something like this in digital form, too…

    Anyway, great lesson, thanks for sharing!

    • Chelsea, my students often struggle through the elements & principles units too. Creativity can be learned-developing the imagination. It’s a privilege to have part of our job to help student grow this creative ability (which means we have to be working on nurturing our own creative skills). We have to help them see unusual visual connections & possibilities. This is where the sketchbook is so vital, it provides a place for them to experiment and develop concepts without risk.

      I think this would be a GREAT project to create in digital form!! Are you working with Illustrator? If you do it & post it please let me know, I will add a link to your blog as another “medium” to create this project in!
      Have fun Creating! Michelle

      • Thanks! I will keep that in mind. I do work in Illustrator. I find this to be the best program to use for beginners. Next semester we will dive into PhotoShop for some variety, but for now Illustrator has everything we need to get started.

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