What is Magazine Harvesting?

Cut and paste from magazines - what is Magazine Harvesting blog post by iHanna

What is Magazine Harvesting?

What is “magazine harvesting” you ask, maybe because you are not that into YouTube videos of people working in their glue books and you haven’t heard the term before? So, let me explain.

It is not a YouTube thing, just a term I have found used there a lot. It is a creative thing, for those of us that can’t help ourselves but to save images to use “later”. A human instinct (to gather and save), after all.

It feels a bit like cleaning but of course, in reality, I’m making another messy pile of unsorted ephemera.


Harvesting is the process of gathering a ripe crop from the fields, and when you do that you do it all at once and cut down everything you can see in your field of vision. Magazine harvesting is the same. Just cut out anything and all that speaks to you.

Cut and paste from magazines - what is Magazine Harvesting blog post by iHanna

Definition: Magazine harvesting

Magazine harvesting is when you cut or pull out all the pages and images from a magazine you have in your possession, to use in some kind of collage. At the end of your harvest that magazine should be totally depleted of usable images, words, phrases and maybe even articles you want to save and any bits you want to keep for your collage fodder stash. So much so that it is time to put that magazine in the paper recycling!

I love doing this when I want to sit by my desk and “do something” but don’t feel like starting anything new or elaborate. When I want to be creative but can’t find my creative energy.

But still, it feels SO so good!

Country Life a UK magazine

Ideas on what to cut out

I cut out everything that speaks to me, that I am drawn to. Most of the time it’s colors but it can also be words or other interesting things. Here’s a list of things that I almost always cut out when I go through a magazine:

  • I cut out words and sentences I like, and even snippets of text that I sometimes glue into my diary for diary collage.
  • I cut out cute images, like any animal or item I find endearing.
  • I cut out colorful images in full or partly to use as background bits in my art journal.
  • I cut out patterns from blankets, wall papers, cushions and other textiles that are photographed for the magazine.
  • I cut out paintings and art that inspires me to be more creative.
  • I pull out full pages that has details that I can cut out later or that are full images that I want to use as pages when I bind my own TN notebooks for example.
  • I also love cutting out “fact boxes” from articles if the facts are interesting or helpful to my life.

Let’s cut up a magazine!

Here’s two videos of me going through an entire magazine to show you my process:

It feels a bit like cleaning but of course, in reality, I’m making another messy pile on my desk of unsorted ephemera. That pile I later go through and sort, sometimes things I have pulled out gets discarded because I don’t remember why I wanted to keep them, but most of the time I put my pile in plastic folder for “later.

Later I love browsing through and using those clippings for glue books, art collages, art journaling or any other project where I want to use magazine images or bits of the magazine.

I have special notebooks where I keep inspiration, and some where I have themes that I’m working on.

You never have to feel obligated to cut out anything you don’t like or think you’ll use. It’s your magazine, your collage image stash, your time. And if you do pull out too much, you are allowed to trash some of it later on if you don’t think you’ll use it!

Magazine clippings for collage and glue books

Enjoy your magazine to the fullest, and if you don’t feel like cutting them up please consider giving them to me so that I can harvest them. I almost always find some kind of image or snippet to keep in my stash, and I love that.

Don’t miss out on: The Benefits of Magazine Cutting Therapy

5 Responses

  1. Glad to see you’re still enjoying magazine harvesting (now we have a term for it)! Recently I have harvested some images from junk mail advertisements and old calendars to make some greeting cards. It’s fun finding new life for the images that speak to us! Thanks for sharing your insights with us, Hanna!

  2. I should do this, but I always worry I will leave something behind! But it would be helpful, I think, to make me start actually USING my pile of collage-bound magazines, rather than it all feeling too hard to flick through and find what I am after!

    • Yes, maybe you should… Or not. W’re all different on how we approach things in our art & craft projects. Maybe you need to keep your pile?

      Personally I love the feeling of taking all the things I want right now and getting rid of the rest, there will always be more magazines coming my way I’m sure of it. :-)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment