This type of project is a great way to use up bits of your stash or even bits around the house because, for these types of mixed media canvas, it doesn't matter about shape, size or colour!
The base for my project today is an A5 artists board: A hard-backed canvas. However, a piece of wood or a stretched canvas of your chosen size would also work just as well. The first step is to then arrange your bits and pieces so you have a rough idea of where you want to glue things down. It is then critical to use a good gel medium like Liquitex Heavy Gel Medium or Golden Matte Medium to collage your objects on to the canvas. Use plenty and let it dry thoroughly as you do not want things to fall off later! This type of heavy gel will hold metals, plastics and just about anything, all layered on top of each other as long as they have plenty of gel to hold them and it is left to dry thoroughly, preferably overnight. In this case, I used a few scraps of florist ribbon, lace and some buttons so all relatively light.
As soon as I had stuck down one button, I decided to move it and that is a benefit of the slower drying time of gel on non-porous surfaces. For more texture, I used Design-It paste (formerly Soft Form relief paste) spread through a stencil with a paint knife. At this stage I then left everything to dry.
Once everything is completely dry and well stuck down, cover it all in gesso. You lose all the colour but keep the texture. Be sure to check from different angles to see that all the original colour has been covered.
Now you choose the colours to put back. I wanted a fairly vintage feel to this piece so I chose Dark Brown and Black Acrylic Inks. I added the Dark Brown to the top edge with a large round brush and sprayed it with water to let it run down the canvas. It is also possible to use acrylic paints and colour sprays.
I also dry brushed some black acrylic ink round the edges of the canvas to frame it and over some of the texture to emphasise it. I smudged alot of this with my fingers for a softer look. I traced round the 'people' (Tim Holtz paper dolls) and filled in this shadow with a light layer of Black acrylic ink to give them more dimension and stuck them down with 3D foam.
Finally I added some text with 3D foam. It translates as 'Really lucky to have you'.
I hope you enjoyed that project. Please give it a go with whatever takes your interest and whatever colours you like. As another example, a few years ago I made a 30 x 30 cm canvas with old lego pieces which is electric blue and silver. You really can have great fun playing with different materials and colours.