What is Shape Collage and How Can It Be Used to Teach? Tips & Tricks

Shape Collage
(Image credit: Shape Collage)

Shape Collage is an application that takes pictures and organizes them into shapes of your choosing. It sounds simple but the applications are wide.

How does this work in education? This is ideal for younger students to use both to play with images and to learn about how collages can work. It's also something teachers can use to create eye-catching image collections to print and place about the class.

So that can mean Shape Collage is an option beyond art class for teachers and students across the school. But is this the right option for your class?

What is Shape Collage?

Shape Collage lets you upload photos to the app and then allows you to organize it all into shapes. The end result should be an attractive way to share photos with the class and beyond.

Shape Collage

(Image credit: Shape Collage)

Shape Collage comes in app form so you will need to download it first before running it. That also means this is super secure since all the photos being used are kept locally on the device that is operating the installed program.

On the downside, this does stand behind some of the other app options available, which are more cloud-based. That said, this does offer various formats for a number of platforms including Mac, Windows, and Linux, and also for smartphones and tablets with Android and iOS apps available. 

While the basic version is free to download and use, there is also a premium version that offers more features. But more on those variations -- and if you need to spend -- below.

How does Shape Collage work?

Shape Collage comes in app form so the first step to using it is downloading the right app for the device you're using. Usefully, when you navigate to the site it'll recognise your device and pop that version at the top of the Download tab section. You can install and get using right away without paying anything or even signing in with your details.

Shape Collage

(Image credit: Shape Collage)

Consequently, this is easy to get running for both teachers and even younger students. The user interface is a little on the -- ahem -- traditional side of things. As such, don't expect too much guidance as many online-based apps now offer. So this is for children of at least age 6 and up, and likely will need some guidance to get them started.

Despite that, it is easy to use in its main functionality. Drag and drop photos onto the whiteboard to the left and these will appear in thumbnail form. Then select a shape and hit the Create button. Other options are available to vary picture closeness, size, and more manually, should the automation not work to your liking. 

A bit of processing later and you have a preview of the finished version, which you can edit before hitting Save when you're happy. Then pick Jpg, Png, and other options to decide the file type you want.

What are the best Shape Collage features?

Shape Collage is easy to use, with a simple drag-and-drop interface. While most of the features are automated, it's also a welcome addition to have some manual choices that you can enable to fine tune the results.

Shape Collage

(Image credit: Shape Collage)

In most cases you will need to adjust the finished look so photos don't overlap too much or too little. The automation here isn't as smart as perhaps you'd expect. Thankfully, there is a handy "Photo spacing" button and slider that you can drag and move before hitting Create again to see the changes. This is great for fine tuning a perfect end result.

Shape selections are pretty basic with rectangle, grid, heart, and circle available right away. But you can also input text to have photos generate a letter or words. Plus, you have the option to select a More option in which you can make a custom shape, providing way more freedom to create as you need. Want a selection of reading choices laid out in a book shape? You're covered. Want the word "Biology" filled with images or cells, organs, and more? It'll do that too.

Go for the Pro option and there are even more options to play with, but more on that below.

How much does Shape Collage cost?

Shape Collage is free to download and use right away with a refined system that is now faster than ever across device types. 

The Free version can be downloaded and used right away, however, there are some restrictions that paying users can get around.

The Shape Collage Pro option, at $40, gets you no more watermarks on images, the ability to move individual photos around, save as PSD for further editing in Photoshop, project saving to carry on later, commercial licensing to cover promo use, and the ability to create templates for use later.

Shape Collage best tips and tricks

Love your class
Share the love by having your class individually photographed and collaged into a heart shape for display in your classroom.

Get creative
Use word shapes for subject names and fill these with photos of what you're going to be covering that year.

Submit smart
Have students submit photo-based projects using collages with extra points for creative uses of the way these work -- helping to foster creativity and challenging them think originally.

Luke Edwards is a freelance writer and editor with more than two decades of experience covering tech, science, and health. He writes for many publications covering health tech, software and apps, digital teaching tools, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and much more.