Tate Kids



Cutting Edge Families

Tate Britain

The Idea

Can you create a really different picture of your family by making a colourful and imaginative collage? Cordelia Underhill is an artist who did that by using billboard advertisements to make large exciting collages of her family. She led a workshop at the Tate when families worked together to create a giant collage of all the families who visited the Tate.

British School 17th century, The Cholmondeley Ladies, circa 1600-10, © Tate 2005


The Plan

You are going to be really creative and use all sorts of materials to make a collage of your own family. You can choose how many people from your family you want to put in. It could be just your Mum and Dad and brother or sister. Or you could put in your grandparents and aunties and uncles as well.

Look at portraits of families painted hundreds of years ago. They will look very different to the sort of “imaginary” collage you have are going to create. Think about the differences in techniques that the old artists used. Do you think they were allowed to be very imaginative?


You Need

  • A selection of papers of different sorts, thicknesses and textures including wallpaper, old magazines, tissue paper, shiny paper etc
  • A large piece of paper or board for the background of your work.
  • Scissors and glue.

Do it!

  • Think carefully about the sorts of clothes your Mum and Dad or your brother and sister wear. What sorts of paper or patterns will look most like them?
  • How can you show who is in the collage when you make up the faces? Does anyone wear glasses or have large or small features?
  • What colour are their eyes and their hair? Can you use scissors to create the effect of someone’s hair? Could you cut into the paper to make a fringe?
  • Will you use magazine pictures of features like eyes, noses, mouths and ears or could you use pictures of something else to make these in your collage?
  • How will you place your family in the collage? Will they be waving or walking? Perhaps they will be dancing.

Top Tips

  • Use all sorts of papers with unusual patterns and mix them together so they clash.
  • Use reflective paper to create mysterious characters like ‘Green Tom’.
  • Don’t be afraid to do something crazy!
See It