Found Portraits – Bay Area Discovery Museum

Found Portraits

Create a collaged portrait using unconventional shapes and images from magazines! Creating collages help children strengthen creative muscles, as they are opportunities for discovery and creativity.

Materials Required

  • Old magazines
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Construction paper


  1. Look through magazines for shapes and images that can be used to create a portrait of a face. The goal is not to cut out a face that’s already there—create a new one! What could you use for a mouth, a nose, or an eye?
  2. Think about what major shapes can be used and what those shapes might represent (circle for mouth, oval for face, triangle for nose, etc.). Look for those shapes in magazines and cut them out.
  3. After a variety of shapes and images are cut, arrange the shapes and experiment with placement on the construction paper before anything is glued down.
  4. Be creative! Don’t be afraid to use unconventional objects in the portrait. How would an airplane fit into the design of a face? Maybe the letter “S” could be glued repeatedly to represent curly hair. Experiment!
  5. Once the pieces are arranged, glue them down. Give the portrait the name of a character and share with friends.

Additional Tips

Try these activity variations:

  • Remix this activity by creating a portrait using only letters and numbers. Create a face without using any images—just words, numbers, and letters.
  • Add on to the face. Create an entire body.

Links to Creativity

As children search for materials to create the collage, the discovery of “just the right piece” can occur through blind variation and selective retention. In other words, creativity often requires that we look broadly and without judgment, and after some time generating ideas we can then evaluate what is our best idea for a solution.

Supporting research includes:
Amabile, T. M., Goldfarb, P., & Brackfleld, S. C. (1990). Social influences on creativity: Evaluation, coaction, and surveillance. Creativity Research Journal,3(1), 6-21.

Baer, J. (1998). The case for domain specificity of creativity. Creativity Research Journal11(2), 173-177.

Campbell, D. T. (1960). Blind variation and selective retentions in creative thought as in other knowledge processes. Psychological Review67(6), 380-400.

Hennessey, B. A. (1994). The consensual assessment technique: An examination of the relationship between ratings of product and process creativity. Creativity Research Journal7(2), 193-208.

Simonton, D. K. (2011). Creativity and discovery as blind variation: Campbell's (1960) BVSR model after the half-century mark. Review of General Psychology, 15(2), 158-174.


This activity was written by Austin Greene, Teaching Artist, and contributed by DreamYard. For more information and resources see

Found Portraits

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