How to Make a Collage in Two Styles

Make a photo grid collage, or a freeform collage with PicMonkey templates.

When you really sit and think about it, making a collage is the answer to most questions in life. Or, at the very least, these questions:

  • How can I display a bunch of images to show my brand's aesthetic?

  • How can I show a plethora of my vacay pics in one post?

  • How can I visually present the various steps to using my product?

You better believe it’s collage time! In this tutorial we’ll walk you through two different approaches to make a collage masterpiece. The first involves creating a gridded collage, and the second shows how you can make something a little more freeform. We have collage templates for both styles.

Make a collage (gridded-style)

A gridded collage gives your pics a neat, orderly look and feel. This style of collage is especially good for recipes, instructions, steps — anything that’s ordered. Or to display a variety of related images that, together, convey a stylistic feel. 


1. Choose a collage template

Choose a pre-designed photo collage template and click and replace with your own images

  • To see your collage template options, open the Templates tab in the left toolbar and search “collage". All the collage templates, photo and blank, will appear.

  • Scroll until you find one that you like.

You can also start with a blank collage template.


2. Replace images with your own

  • Once you’ve got your collage template open, click the gray “Replace image” boxes and the Image palette will open.

  • Click Replace image and open your desired image from your computer or Hub or from our stock photo collection. You can also right click on the image to select a new one. 

Pro tip: Open the Layers palette to keep track of your photos and/or other elements you add to your collage such as graphics.


3. Add effects, textures, and your own text

When you’ve filled in all the images in your collage, you can add text on top, apply an effect to one or all of the images, and you can even apply a texture over the whole design. We’ll show you how.

  • Select the Text tab from the left toolbar and type inside the text box to add your words.

  • From the Layers palette, you can multi-select layers that you want to apply the same effect or texture to. Just hold down shift + click the layers you want.

Select all the layers and apply an effect, like Tucson, to the whole collage.

You can apply a texture to your whole collage when all of the layers are selected. 

As you design, your work is being saved, automatically, to your Hub cloud storage but you can also download it (Download option in top toolbar) to your computer, or share it directly (Share button in top toolbar) to social media, via email, or through a shared space.


Make a freeform collage from a template

If you feel boxed-in by gridded collages, step out into the sunshine and breathe: you can also overlap your photos and add graphics or non-rectangular photos (like ones with the background removed) in any non-linear placement you like. We have templates for this type of collage too — just click and replace with your photo choices, add text, change the font style, and even add some graphics to tell your design story.

1. Choose a freeform collage template

  • Open Templates from the left toolbar.

  • Search "collage" and you'll see Blank collage and Photo collage template categories.

  • Preview templates in the editor by clicking on them. Choose one to customize.


2. Replace with your own images

  • Click on the blank image blocks to replace with a photo. You can right click or use the Replace image button on the Image palette.

  • Choose a new photo and it will replace the template block. You can add more photos, too, or delete any element on the canvas that you don't want.


3. Add text to your freeform collage

  • Change or add text to your collage by selecting Text from the left toolbar.

  • Modify the text by changing the size, font, color, or by adding a drop shadow or an outline.


4. Add and customize graphics

  • You can add graphics to your collage if you want by selecting the Graphics tab in the left toolbar. Search or browse for the graphic you want to use.

  • Customize the graphic's colors, its size, or erase part of it using the Graphic palette.


Bonus idea! Add an image in a shape mask

Add any graphic to your canvas and size it how you want.

To make an image poke through a shape in your collage, add a graphic from the Graphics tab — check out the Basic group, for starters. Once it’s placed in your design, click the graphic, then head to the Textures tab.

When you apply a photo as a texture, it assumes the shape of the graphic.

Click Add your own texture and choose the place where your image is stored, and select your image. It will show up within the boundaries of the shape graphic: super magico!

Extra bonus idea! Apply a photo texture across multiple graphics

You can also add several graphics and apply one image across all of them. Just hold shift while you click each image to select them all, then head to textures and add your own image from there.

Let your creativity run free with PicMonkey.

Sarah Gonzales is the content marketing manager at PicMonkey. Over time she’s evolved from a cat to a dog person, a Diet Coke to a La Croix person, and a heels to a flats person. However, she will forever remain loyal to the LA Dodgers, coffee, and Mac products. She’s still deciding if she’s a city or a country person having sampled both after living in Alaska, Los Angeles, San Francisco, (Alaska again), and now Seattle.