Art-Making Activity: Self-Portrait Collage

Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse were two of the first artists to adopt collage (papier collé) as a means of telling a visual story. They each used cut and found paper, sometimes in combination with drawings, to give a sense of place.

You are going to create a self-portrait on paper from collaged materials using your hand as a representation of your body.  When you are finished, write a poem to accompany the art piece and share it with your loved ones. 


  • Thick paper or cardstock
  • Magazines and other recycled paper
  • Scissors
  • Markers
  • Glue


This self-portrait will be based on the outline of your hand and then you will add collaged elements that you feel express your personality.

  1. Trace your hand with a pencil on a piece of thick art paper or card stock.  Fingers may be spread apart or together.

2. Use a marker to outline the drawing. Using magazines, greeting cards, newspapers or other recycled items, cut out words and images that you feel express your personality. 

3. Arrange collaged materials inside the outline of your hand.  

4. When you are happy with the arrangement, glue the materials to the paper and set aside to dry. When the glue is dry, cut out the hand.



Write an I Am poem using this template.

 “I Am” Poem

I am (first name)

Son/Daughter or Brother/Sister of…

Who needs _____, _____, _____

Who loves _____, _____, _____

Who sees _____, _____, _____

Who hates_____, _____, _____ 

Who fears _____, _____, _____

Who dreams of _____, _____, _____

Resident of ________



Put your collaged hand portraits together and create a group or family portrait. Have each individual read their poem and point out their favorite things about their self-portrait.