Tutorial: Make a Photo Collage

They say a butterfly dies every five minutes*. But you only need about four minutes to learn how to make a collage with PicMonkey’s easy-peasy tutorial, and then you can create the most awe-inspiring collage images! Will they save a butterfly? Probably not, but they’ll all be happier knowing you know Collage. (*Don’t go fact-checking us on that!)

This project gets you a slick collage to use as your Facebook cover image.


Step 1. Import your photos into Collage

screen shot showing opening photos in Collage

Hover over the “Collage” button at the very top of the home page. A dark grey navigation menu appears below it. Click one of the photo storage options (your computer’s hard drive, or your Dropbox, Facebook, or Flickr account) to get your photos. Alternatively, you can explore Collage with our sample photos, to the right, by clicking one of them.

 

screen shot of Collage showing Open photos button

You can also import photos by clicking “Open photos” once you’ve launched the Collage application.

Tip: You can select several photos at once (using Command-click on Mac or Control-click on Windows) and the whole group will drop into Collage’s image tray instantly.


Step 2. Choose a layout

screen shot showing the Layouts tab in Collage

Click the Layouts tab on the far left. Layouts are completely flexible, so you can make changes to any design you choose.


Step 3. Check overall dimensions

screen shot showing bottom toolbar in Collage

The bottom toolbar shows the overall dimensions of the collage. If you’ve chosen the Facebook Cover layout, you shouldn’t change the dimensions because they’re exactly right, but you can easily do so by hovering and dragging your mouse over an outer border of your collage. When you see two thin blue lines appear, move the double arrow to stretch or shrink it. You can also do so by typing new numbers in the dimensions toolbar. If you need to unlock the proportions, click the padlock icon so it appears grey, not blue.


Step 4. Drag photos into your layout

screen shot showing the Photos tab

Click the Photos tab on the far left. Drag images from the image tray and drop them into your collage. Or you can click the “Autofill” button in the top toolbar, and see if you like the arrangement. Check marks appear on images in the tray that have been placed into the collage.

You can remove photos from the collage at any point but you can only remove them from the image tray if they’re not being used in the collage. Remove by hovering on the photo until you see an “x” in the corner, and click it.


Step 5. Tweak your photo

screen shot showing the in-cell Edit button

Hover your cursor over an image in a collage cell, and notice the “Edit” button in the corner. Click it, and an editing palette appears, with a white outline around the image you’ve selected. The Basic tab of that palette lets you resize, rotate, flip, and adjust the exposure of the image. Move the “Size” slider to zoom in, and then click on the image and drag it around in the cell until you like its new cropping.


Step 6. Modify layout

screen shot showing how to adjust cell size

To tweak the sizes of the images, hover your mouse over the inner border of a cell, and you’ll see two blue lines and the mouse pointer will become a double-headed arrow. Drag the arrow to adjust the size of the images, and watch them shrink or grow and re-arrange themselves beautifully.


Modify layout (continued)

screen shots showing adding a new cell and removing a cell

To add new cells to the collage, drag a photo onto an inner border or outer edge of a cell. When the thin blue bar appears, drop your photo into it. To delete a cell, hover your mouse over it until the “X” appears and click it. Hover over an image you’ve placed in a cell and the move cursor (four arrows) will appear. Use it to drag your image a bit to adjust its position in the cell.


Step 7. Create a background

screen shot showing Background choices in the panel

Click the Background tab on the far left. Adjust the “Spacing,” “Corner rounding,” and “Color” sliders until your background is just right. Use the Eyedropper to match the background color to a particular color in the photo.

Tip: If you’re creating a collage project that requires a transparent background, check the “Transparent background” box at the bottom and be sure to save the file as a .PNG. Facebook doesn’t support transparent backgrounds.


Step 8. Add a swatch for layering text onto

screen shot showing swatches and the Swatches tab

Click the Swatches tab (the tags icon). Bam! You now have a bunch of colorful swatches, solid and patterned, in your image tray. To see more swatch options, click the dropdown button and select a different theme.

screen shot showing the Edit button on the top toolbar over Collage

After you’ve dragged a swatch into an empty cell, click the Edit button in the top toolbar. This will bring your design into the Editor for overlays and text.

Note: Be absolutely sure you love your collage design before you click Edit, because there’s no going back to Collage to fix a few things after you’ve brought it into the Editor.


Step 9: Add text and more in the Editor

screen shot showing adding text in the Editor

In the Editor, use the text tool to write your message and apply it to the empty cell. You can also add overlays, and anything else in the Editor tabs. Just remember — especially with effects, textures, and frames — that they get applied to the entire collage at this point (unless you use the paintbrush/eraser to apply it to a smaller area).

Now save it, and admire your heartbreaking work of staggering genius.


Step 10. Post collage on Facebook

screen shot showing the Change Cover button in Facebook

If you’re making a collage for your Facebook cover image, post it by hovering your mouse over the photo area on your Facebook Timeline. When “Change Cover” appears, click it. Click “Upload Photo,” select the photo from your hard drive, and then “Save changes.” Wah-lah! Your Facebook cover is a super-boss collage and your friends all want to know how you made it. Tell them the Monkey did you a solid.

 

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  • http://gravatar.com/clarekinsey clarekinsey

    Thank you!! You make it so easy to make really great pictures!!

  • http://twitter.com/ShareRemember slransom (@ShareRemember)

    I don’t like closing & reopening a collage to add text. This could be better.

    • http://PicMonkey.com PicMonkey

      We’re always working on the next version of the product and have a list of improvements based on comments like yours. We hope to have that very feature in the next version of collage. Thanks for weighing in!

  • http://www.littlecreekphoto.com Heidi

    I cant thank you enough for making this tutorial…it really helped and cant wait to see your improvements in the future!

  • Cheryl

    I made an awesome collage. It was so easy but when it printed the pictures came out all pixally. Can you tell me what happened?

  • Carrie

    every time i load a picture it goes in sideways and i cant rotate it – how do i rotate a pic in a collage?

  • http://twitter.com/youthleadergina youthleadergina (@youthleadergina)

    I love using Picmonkey for Project Life (a hot trend in scrapbooking world right now). Is there a way to adjust the size in collage to make each picture in my collage 3×4 for my Project Life album? I am never sure what size my pictures will be once printed. Such as this collage: How do I know if the pictures will be the size I need? Ideas? http://static.studiocalico.com/system/gallery_pictures/images/000/136/301/original/PicMonkey_Collage2.jpg

    • http://PicMonkey.com PicMonkey

      Oh man, adorable kid! The key info you need is that most printers are set to print at 300 dots per inch, so you can multiply the inches of your image x 300 (on each axis) to determine the number of pixels to set for your collage. For this one, you have three 3 inch photos, so that’s 9 inches across (= 2700 pixels) and 4 inches down (= 1200 pixels). So you set your collage at 2700 x 1200 when you first start out. It’s important, for your purposes, so set the collage to have NO borders, because borders will eat into those calculations.

  • http://www.xuyfen.com 许一

    有创意

  • http://patinaparadise@blogspot.com Lucy

    I can’t thank you enough. I found you guys via pinterest and just started a blog and was able to do a blog header that I am much happier with. WIsh I had read your tutorial before I tried it on my own, cause it would have taken me less time to actually get it right the first time. I have tried doing other collages and can’t seem to choose anything other than the basic. Does one have to upgrade to be able to do multiple collages?

    Also I was wanting to use your program to watermark my photos and was wondering if there is a feature that would allow me to copy and paste the type so that I wouldn’t have to go through all the steps for each photo?

    • http://PicMonkey.com PicMonkey

      Hi Lucy. Check this blog for another article that tells you 3 ways to watermark. One of them should be just right for your needs.

  • http://patinaparadise@blogspot.com Lucy

    I think I just found the answer to my second question on one of your posts. You guys are awesome!

  • Mary

    Hello, for some reasons my pictures are uploaded sideways and I do not see a way to rotate them. How can I do that?

    • http://PicMonkey.com PicMonkey

      Hi Mary! When you open a photo in the Editor, just click the Basic Edits tab (top icon on the left) and click Rotate. If you opened a bunch of photos into Collage, you can’t rotate them here; you have to take each photo into the Editor to rotate them. Hope that helps!

  • Kity

    Hmm how can I change the colour of the font.. I am confused…

    • http://PicMonkey.com PicMonkey

      Hi Kity. Easy! Click on the font you like. When you click the “Add Text” button above the fonts menu, the text box shows up over your photo, for inputting text, and a Text palette shows up next to your photo, with a color picker in it. Click on a color and then type the word you want to apply it to. You can change colors as much as you like. You can also change the color of text you’ve already typed by highlighting it, in the text box, and then choosing a different color in the text box.

  • http://www.jerryremys.com Trisha

    I am having issues with the image sizes for the collage. I have resized the images and when placed in collage they still expand, are too big, and now blurry too. I have resized in PicMonkey and two other programs – same results. For example, I resized an image to 240 X 360 that used to be 1200 X 1800. I pulled both into the collage and the smaller jpg is trying to expand to the higher res image. Nothing I do seems to fix this, and we have paid for an upgraded membership as well.

    • http://PicMonkey.com PicMonkey

      Sorry you’re having pain, Trisha! Sounds like the collage cell you’re dropping it into is larger than the size you cropped it to, no? Have you noted or changed the size of the overall collage? The default is 2000 x 2000 pixels. If you need more help, please tell us more at http://help.picmonkey.com/customer/portal/emails/new

  • http://www.alwaysorderdessert.com Alejandra

    Is there a way to adjust the image size without changing the size of the cell? I just want to shrink the image a bit so that it is a little smaller, but within the same size square cell. Every time I drag the corners it just changes the cell size. Is there a way to do this?

    • http://PicMonkey.com PicMonkey

      You’ll have to edit the photo in the Editor first, before you bring it into Collage. We are working on some new stuff in this area; hang on!

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  • Chrys

    Can you use a picture as your background?

    • http://PicMonkey.com PicMonkey

      Sorry; you can’t. Thx for checking in, Chrys.

  • Julie

    I would LOVE the ability to use a texture or image as the background of a collage. Sometimes a flat color just isn’t going to cut it. ;)

    • http://PicMonkey.com PicMonkey

      Hear ya on that one, Julie. Will put that on the list!

  • courtney

    when I put my pics in the collage boxes they are always blurry??? help!!!!

  • Helen

    How do you allow for the profile pic when making a Facebook Header?

    • Kathy

      I just put a swatch in the lower left corner.

  • http://lilyspaperparty.etsy.com Lily

    Please help me! How do I make a banner for etsy? I see the layout called Pinter-etsy but I fail to see how a 700 x 1000px collage can help when an etsy banner needs to be 700 x 100. and what are all the other cells for? argh!

  • Linda

    I saved a collage and now want to edit the text, but can’t find a way to do that. Do I have to recreate the entire collage instead of just being able to tweak the existing one?

  • Donna Deming

    I have used used the eye dropper for color matching from my photo (and I love it) but lately it has not been working for me and I have to mix my own color, which is not nearly as good. What do you think is the problem?

  • Boneta

    Why can I not upload pics from my computer to make a collage? It tells me to “refresh the browser and try again” if I try to upload one pic. If I try to upload several it tells me to “check security privileges over the network drive.” I had no trouble until about a month ago.

  • crimsonyale

    Love PicMonkey Collage. Once I have created a collage, I save it to my computer (as a .jpg file), but now I want to print it. What is the best way to do this and be sure the quality is excellent. I have created a collage to use as a “save the date” for my wedding, so I want it to come out perfectly!

  • Cathy

    Can someone tell me what dimensions I use to create a collage that will be 8.5 x 5.5 when finished?

  • Kimberly

    I want to make a collage that is 8×10. what are the pixel dimensions on that??

  • http://www.wholynatural.blogspot.com Denise

    Once you create the collage and then move over into the editor but forgot to add the background, is there a way to go back to the collage section to do the background or change corners/size etc? Or do you pretty much have to scratch it all and start over?

    • http://www.picmonkey.com PicMonkey

      Sorry: once you leave Collage and go to the Editor, you can’t go back and change the stuff you did in Collage.

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  • Yasuko

    I only can upload single photo from my computer. I did Control-click but didn’t work. I couldn’t drag photos to the blue “Create a Collage” launch button either. Is it just my computer or browser? I can make a collage by uploading one by one but it is time consuming……Please help!

  • http://www.picmonkey.com Charlie

    Hi – How can I upload more than one photo at a time from my computer???? Its taking ages to upload all the photos I need for my collage one at a time. Please help!

  • Diana Broussard

    Where is the link to log in, or work on a picture/or collage? The link keeps taking me back to the front page which does not have the toolbar to edit. What happened? A Premier customer that REALLY wants to be able to edit my pics

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  • http://rjbailey.wordpress.com/ rjbailey

    Reblogged this on Locating Frankenstein's Brain.

  • Angelica Yolanda Acosta Marque

    que bien esta fabuloso

  • Janelle

    I can only upload 12 pictures on a collage when the grid shows 30… What am I doing wrong??

  • https://www.etsy.com/shop/SeleguaCustomArt Mari Montejo

    Ooooo this is frustrating. I am trying to make a post card. When I drag a picture into the cell it is HUGE and only part of the image appears. I cant resize because the only option is to go bigger. when I try to adjust by moving the edges of the cell, it also affects to image inside the cell, in that it crops . Is there a tutorial or help on how to make a simple 5×7 card?? :(
    I hate feeling helpless when something is supposed to be fun

  • skyniekimhoang

    :”>

  • Debbie Hayde

    I’d love to be able to re-open a collage or pref edited photo in pic monkey and re adjust/ add to it etc?

  • Kelley

    I keep getting an error that says I have too many pictures to add anymore for my collage, but I don’t have any in there. What am I doing wrong?

  • Lucy

    How can I make the pictures fit into each square? I´ve tried to resize, but if I make the square bigger the picture gots bigger too, I need it to fit into the squares, because it looks like the picture is cut, and I need it to fit completely into the squares. If you could help me please.

    • Lucy

      Chandra, did you get any answer? I have the same question, I don´t know how to modify the size of the photos

    • http://www.picmonkey.com PicMonkey

      Hey Lucy,

      Not sure we understand your problem, but if you email info@picmonkey.com we can try to help you out!

  • http://www.5oundtrackjunkie.tumblr.com Julia

    Hi! I tried to make a collage via PicMonkey for this cover & poster set I’m doing and for some reason when I uploaded my photos into PicMonkey all the colors were off. Like, really flat.

    Like see here’s one of the original photos I want to use in my collage: http://33.media.tumblr.com/015387ec5e06bbe5d51b0d78f27a18cd/tumblr_n7okxpNmJ81txydcmo1_500.jpg

    And here’s the collage I made using PM: https://33.media.tumblr.com/535f12e8f10d151763c03af44cbe9a0e/tumblr_nb7uykftUz1s5z112o1_1280.png

    Any idea what went wrong? I’m on Mac osX 10.6.8 using Chrome 24.

    • http://www.picmonkey.com PicMonkey

      Heyo Julia,

      Send our help team an email and we’ll sort this out. Thanks!

  • EvA

    I am trying to edit a photo of a shirt I posted. Can I change the color of the shirt from white to pink and how do I do that?

    • http://www.picmonkey.com PicMonkey

      Try using the Eye Tint effect in Touch Up. It lets you pick your color and customize the opacity.

  • Camille

    LOVE this site and came back to create a collage – I just joined Royale. When I go to select a photo, it acts like it wants to load, but then the screen goes black. Any thoughts on that? Thanks so much!

  • http://www.delyladesign.com Tonya

    WOW thanks pic monkey for offering this service and tutorial. I had a pretty blah FB cover before. I even paid someone to create it for me. Thanks to your tutorial my FB cover now rocks! it solidifies my business brand for my client in one glance! Thank You

  • Jennifer

    Can I print my collages? I used photo grid on my phone&when I went to print the pictures were to large&some of them were cut off. I just want to print standard 4×6.

  • Carling

    Hey There!

    I’m trying to make a collage, but it’s telling me I need to delete some photo’s first. How do I go about doing that… I can’t seem to find any space where photos are stored. Many thanks for a fantastic photo editing site by the way. LOVE it!

  • Bubbles

    I was making a collage and I had a limit of 40 pictures in the picture upload box. I was wondering how to delete pictures without having to remove the picture from the collage?

  • keva

    how can i email this to my class i want oto make a collage of the school year in review.

  • Karen Coleman

    Is there some how you can add a background to a collage that would show between the edges of the photos, so it’s not just plain white?

  • Chandra

    How do you modify the size of individual photos without changing the size of the whole collage? Pictures don’t auto adjust to the size of the current box – is there a trick to this?

  • http://Facebook Afiq

    Like

  • http://Facebook Afiq

    Super

  • http://www.facebook.com/pessimisaurus Margaret Duclos

    I wish we could zoom in/out of the individual images in a collage; it is annoying having to go crop photos to make them fit in a collage better, and oftentimes I don’t even know exactly how I want to crop them until I see them in the collage, so end up cropping multiple times. It becomes tedious. Otherwise, I REALLY love your collage making system, especially the pre-set sizes, super fun!

  • Chrystal

    And the answer is????

  • http://PicMonkey.com PicMonkey

    Hi Chandra and Crystal. Sorry we missed this one. So, you need to get the photo the size you want in the Editor before you bring it into Collage. And you want to make sure it’s roughly the same aspect ratio (ratio of width to length) of the collage cell you’ll be dropping it into. We’re working on some improvements to Collage which will give you a lot more control in this area. Stay tuned! Again, sorry about the delay in getting back to you!

  • http://PicMonkey.com PicMonkey

    Chandra, see the response below to your (and Crytal’s) question. Thx!

  • http://google+ céline

    Top…!!! Au moins,ça permet aux personnes qui ne maîtrisent pas suffisamment les logiciels style “Photoshop”… de réaliser malgré tout,des choses assez sympathique…!! ;-)

  • http://PicMonkey.com PicMonkey

    Nous sommes très heureux que vous l’aimez!

  • http://PicMonkey.com PicMonkey

    Thanks for tellling us about your PicMonkey usage, Margaret. That feature is on our to-do list.

  • Chrystal

    And the answer is????

  • http://PicMonkey.com PicMonkey

    Crystal, see the answer above/below this one.