Collages incorporate many visual elements and make a useful tool for creating school projects. Traditional art collages utilize a variety of flat images, shapes and even text glued on paper or board. Other versions of collage utilize three-dimensional elements and can range in size from a few inches to those that cover entire walls. You might even consider an entirely different type of collage for a school project, the collage composition.

Traditional Collage

Traditional collage projects consist of a flat background, such as poster board, with images, colors and sometimes text adhered to it. The objects in the collage connect to the project theme. Always cut collage materials neatly and arrange them to cover most of the background surface. Overlapping the pieces is desired and adds interest. For variety, instead of covering the entire surface, outline a shape associated with the collage theme on the background and then fill it in with images, shapes and text. For example, make a book project collage for a Harry Potter novel in the shape of a wizard hat and fill it with images such as spell books, wands, an owl and Harry’s glasses.

Three-Dimensional Collage

A collage need not be a flat surface. You can cover almost any surface in collage materials and then paint over it with a protective coating to ensure everything adheres. Find three-dimensional forms for collages in everyday discarded containers or in craft shops. Use a form made of paper or cardboard material for the best outcome when adhering pieces to the collage. Choose simple three-dimensional forms that have wide, flat surfaces for collages. Use a book form for a novel collage project, for example, and cover the surface with images related to the story. You could also use a box to create a historical building, such as the Alamo, which you then cover with appropriate images for a history project collage.

Mixed-Medium Collage

On either flat or three-dimensional collages, all types of art media can be combined to create an interesting collage. Add found objects -- such as buttons, coins, small toys or natural objects -- to traditional flat collage pieces. Thick paint swatches could also be added to give the collage a cohesive color or texture. If creating a science project about the ocean, for example -- along with ocean-themed flat images and text -- add small shells and bits of dried coral. Try mixing sand with beige paint and use the textured paint to create swatches throughout the collage for a sandlike appearance.

Collage Composition

Create an unexpected collage of words for a school project. Rather than various art materials, the collage composition or essay utilizes various text features. Communicating with text can be accomplished through poetry, quotes, paragraphs, phrases, sentences and word lists. Once you have written these types of text to match your project theme, you place the text in a random organization on the paper. Beneath a title such as “Desert Biomes” for example, you could include a verse of poetry, quote by a famous naturalist, paragraph summarizing desert features, phrase about the importance of the desert and word list of living things found in the desert. The text can be written directly on paper or cut out and then glued on a background.