The Therapy of Magazine Cutting

Are you aware of the therapeutic value of cutting out magazine images? I know some of you already do this regularly. Saving images to a personal imagery archive of clippings (to be used in future diary pages, collages or art journaling) is very calming and always cheers me up.

Sorting through magazines

Recently I have “swiped through” and cleaned out a whole bag of donated interior design magazines, making more breathing room on the shelf (and in my life). I do this by going through them one by one and cutting out everything that looks interesting. I am obsessed with pretty images and photos. I love collecting them, and the piles of paper pile up… fast.

Cut it out baby (Photo by iHanna - Hanna Andersson)

Before I start I always think that I’m going to try to sort it all into piles but that never happens. When one magazine is weeded out the mess around me is taking over everything. There will be paper scraps on the floor and a desk filled with papers in front of me. I guess I go into the flow of it and forget that I am supposed to be organized and thoughtful.

I think of going through a pile of magazines and then putting them in the recycle bin as de-cluttering, thought it really is the opposite!

The process is now in several stages, I just have to accept that. First 1) Cutting everything I like out and then 2) Sorting through the piles several times and 3) cutting out smaller images more accurate. Finally 4) putting it into flat chocolate boxes or transparent plastic folders for storage. No sorting by category like I once tried. The only sorting is by size and that background images and patterned papers are by themselves.

Allt i hemmet-röra (Photo by iHanna - Hanna Andersson)

The Benefits of Magazine Cutting Therapy

* The prettiness of magazine images cheer me up
* The text and headlines occupies my brain and distract negative thoughts
* The cutting calms me down
* The mags themselves were donated by friends, so it is a very cheap therapy
* The fun of it turns me in to the creative flow
* Creative flow makes life easier
* When in flow you forget about time and just enjoy yourself more
* The idea of throwing away old magazines makes me feel free of clutter…
* Clutter clearing is known to be good for the soul, makes us breath deeper!

You see why I love it so much? The flow if like a antidote to depression or tiredness like I’ve mentioned before. To me it is my therapy when I want to Do Something but don’t have any ideas in my head… If you have tried it you know what I’m taking about. This is how you get started:

Sit down with a few magazines that you have read and are not saving. Poor something to drink, I prefer cold coffee. Use small but sharp scissors and start browsing. Cut out everything that speaks to you: pretty patterns, words, quotes, images, illustrations. Tear out whole pages. Make a big pile of yummy images and leave the cleaned magazine in the recycling bin. Enjoy yourself.

What to do with your images? Make a pretty collage in your diary or on a printer paper that you can stick to your wall above your desk. Make postcards, book covers, collage art, file folders, dream boards, experiments… Or just keep them because you like them, sort your images into a small box and enjoy your pretty collection.

And, my dear friends, if there are any yummy images left in your magazines when you decide to part with them, give them to me.

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25 Responses to The Therapy of Magazine Cutting

  1. linda says:

    I definitely agree, do you follow along the moodboard collaging on jamie ridler’s site? That’s a lot of magazine cutting and collaging fun as well! I think most of all I like collecting just the bits of the magazines that I really like and then incorporating it into my life through art journaling… it’s like really getting use of it all :)

  2. iHanna says:

    Thanks for your comments Linda! I’ve made one collage vision board ? l? Jamie Ridler, and it was fun, and I have it up so I can see it right now, but I don’t need to make new ones all the time. I like making collages in my diary too, they are like mini inspiration boards of what I’m drawn to on one specific day. :-)

  3. Liberty says:

    yes yes yes!
    this is exactly how I feel about magazine cutting.
    I use it to pull me out of dark places and, for me, it has all of the benefits you listed!
    I like your relaxed sorting process. I need something like that. Right now they are mostly in random piles in my art room. Organising by size seems like a good idea.
    I have an envelope in which I put words/letters or very tiny images that I’ve cut out (because they are small and get lost in the piles).
    Thanks for this great post!

  4. GillM says:

    Hanna, yes I agree magazine cutting is SO therapeutic. I do find my brain works in a strange way though… I can’t seem to go through a magazine and find images and text at the same time! It seems that I have to switch into a visual mode to find the images that appeal to me, and the text just passes me by. So, I then have to do a second scan to look out for the phrases that speak to me.

  5. Lisbeth Bula says:

    That’s what I do sometimes, too. I sit and cut magazines for all the reason you mentioned. And it is Therapy! When the time comes I’d like to make an entry in my visula journals I have tons of stuff to choose from.

  6. Heather says:

    Ah, I so feel what you mean on this! ( love the vision board by the way!)
    I have a magazine addiction myself! I do several things with the info I rip out of magazines:
    1-Put images/info in my inspiration Journal, it’s a journal of just seemingly random images, text, patterns, sayings etc that have things that inspire me, no overt-thinking allowed! I started by wanting to sort them by category, but gave up that idea and just let it flow the way it does.
    2-Images for my collages
    3- Images for dream boards and things like that
    4-Keep articles that I want to read, or projects I want to try and I put those in binders with sheet protectors.

    To keep it all under control ( or at least attempt to!) I pull the images out and put them in file folders until they can be put into said spots!
    love this post!

  7. Leah says:

    I also love decluttering by cutting up old magazines – and recently I include my kid in the process, letting him rip up the ones I’m done with and make his own collages – he loves glue!

  8. iHanna says:

    Oh, I’m glad you have found it as therapetic as I have, thanks!

    Leah, I know it is fun to cut magazines with kids, I did that with my cousin and lots of glue, hehe. And when it comes to glue sticks, I’m like a kid myself, love that stuff! :-)

  9. U2kitteh says:

    Oh Hanna, I got in so much trouble with this, lol. I sneak into the recycling center’s big magazine dumpster and get magazines. (They are too expensive to have a subscription to and then cut up!)
    One time I filled up the whole back of my car, but now I have magazines all over the house! I am trying so hard to get rid of them but I think they multiply!

    I LOVE the idea of maybe doing a magazine clipping swap. Sort of like an art journal challenge or something. Everyone send out a small envelope of clippings to a partner and then everyone make a spread or spreads using the clippings they got and they like. — I am sure this is not an original idea ; I am not on swapbot or anything like that.

    (Also, I think you have more interesting magazines! =cD I see lots of stuff in your pictures I could have fun with!)

  10. cyndee says:

    thank you. i’m going to do it your way. i’ve always just saved the magazines till i was starting a project then scanned them for things that jumped out at me. it’s not particularly relaxing or theraputic then.

  11. iHanna says:

    U2kitteh, wow you! I would totally do that if I know how to and where, steal from the recycle bin! I too think magazines are expensive and most of the time there ain’t much I want to read in them. These interiour design mags are donated by a friend. :-)

    cyndee, I bet you are mor organized with your magazines saved, but I don’t have room for all of them here.

  12. Lay Hoon says:

    I love cutting magazine too :)
    I get the magazines free from coffee shop like Starbucks.

  13. Oh, the joy of slice and dicing a magazine! I also end up with a big slippery pile of glossy pages on the floor, the table, my lap, waiting to be bundled up into zip-lock baggies for future collage projects. I know of someone who saves her words and letters in a cheap notebook, each fastened down me with a light dab of glue stick for easy acce3ss later. Seems like something I would like to try.

  14. aimee says:

    i love this so much i could write a song about it! magazine is therapy, medicine, a retreat to an internal world that i could never do without!

  15. Chris says:

    Oh, I’ve been so bad at Twitter lately. But I DO love cutting out magazine pages. Most of the mass market magazine issues are not what I want to save, so I cut out pages that have good bits on them, and then save the cutting of the bits until the day I’m going to use them. That way, the smaller cutting gets me in the mood and starts my creative mind working on the page. I also love doing a Teesha-like journal page now and then, and I cut out patterns in random shapes, like fish or car shapes or whatever I need for the page at the time.

    Alternately, sometimes when I get an old magazine issue at a library and want the page, I scan it and it’s in my computer, ready to print and cut. There are images all around us! yay!

  16. Kimmy says:

    I should really start on cutting out magazines, j since I have a whole stack. I just can’t get myself to do so since it reminds me of how much money I used to spend on different magazines, haha! :)

  17. Natalie says:

    I think that a dream board is the best use for the magazine clippings. Also I put them in a *library pocket* I made.

  18. HERM says:

    Love to cut out stuff from magazines too! then I sorted them by: flowers, figures, insects, animals, etc. and put them in big envelopes, so they are easy to find when needed.

  19. Rhiannon says:

    Wow, i thought I was the only one that sits and cuts up magazines! my mom thinks I’m crazy! But I can’t stop, it’s addictive! I have several bristol boards full of images and i just started a binder with printer sized paper loaded with images! I like fashion and celebrity images, and just everything that I either want, or like! It’s all about visually appealing and personal interest images!

  20. Irene says:

    Hanna, I can’t believe I found this article of yours! I’m new to visual journaling and collaging and was just sitting here, looking at a ton of magazines I’ve amassed and wondering if it’s better to cut the images I like ahead of time and put them in folders, or leave them in the magazines and go hunting for them when I’m actually doing the collage.
    You’re ideas are brilliant and will also give me a lot more space in my house and save a ton of time! Thank you!!!

  21. SanDee says:

    Hanna, I love your article. Fifteen years ago, when I had to move across the USA, we had too many magazines to pay movers to move so I started cutting out interesting things from the magazines before throwing them in the recycle bin. My husband wanted to send a birthday card to his granddaughter with ransom note lettering which of course, I was able to furnish right away. And it just kept going! I went through three big file boxes full of magazines in about a month and then looked forward to mail delivery so I could cut stuff out of junkmail. I started making collages by color families and sorted my finds in clear plastic paper protectors. Today I still love collecting “collagerie” and have about ten big office sized file boxes full of my collections organized by color. I actually have flat shallow drawers with compartments for each letter of the alphabet so I can make cards easily. Words I have organized also by color in inexpensive photo albums with sticky backing and clear covers on each page. I am never bored and look forward to each day with all the possibilities I now have for being creative and eco conscious as well. It’s a win win situation. I am amazed by the beauty of my collections even just lying on the table in piles. Don’t know what my heirs will do with all this but I don’t worry….I’m happy and I think they are happy for me. I’m not a needy mom or grandmother.

  22. Hanna, After reading this post you are very inspiring. Thank you.

  23. Ella says:

    If you ever come across pages that are left full,you can cut them into strips and use them for fun weaving projects!

  24. Sheila says:

    I TOTALLY agree! I love this post! I thought it was only me! Looks like we have a lot of kindred company too! Thank you for your ideas for organizing our beautiful clippings! Some people (most) don’t want my mags after I’ve clipped them, but I’m with you! I wouldn’t care at all if I were the receiver! I wish postage were more reasonably priced. I’m getting ready to move across the country, & I have ZILLIONS of art mags to go through & clip & they’re not cheap, so I hate to throw them away when someone else would SO enjoy them. :( Thanks again for the great post!
    Sheila in Oregon

  25. pam knutson says:

    Love reading all the comments about magazine clippings! I have always done this and rip as I read through the magazine itself and then when I have finished the magazine I have my ripped out pile at the end waiting for me. Still haven’t managed to figure out storage solutions – some I have in a series of 3 boxes just dumped in and when I work I shuffle through for inspiration. Some I have in boxes labeled with things like flowers, body parts – eyes, legs, arms, sky, backgrounds. I haven’t found I system yet that totally works for me and so I have loved reading the above ideas. Curious about the sticky backing photo albums – do they really release these papers when you want to pull them off or do they rip? Would love to hear more from iHanna’s readers about how they sort and organize their magazines cuttings!

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