I love art work. I tend to find myself wanting to buy large pieces, but not having the guts to do so in the end. There is something so permanent to me about putting a picture on the wall, and at the prices the stores charge, you feel guilty if you are going to be changing it with the seasons. This is my compromise! A few weeks ago, I was looking for something to fit into my dining room for the Virtual Progressive Thanksgiving Dinner blog hop (you can find that here).My space required a piece of artwork at least 2 foot by 3 foot! Even at discount stores, large artwork was over $50. That is almost half what I spent on my dining set! So I decided to make my own. It was one of the easiest projects I have ever done! Here is the tutorial, I hope it inspires many of you to make your own canvas style artwork!
Step 1--Choose your artwork
This can be a bit tricky. Easy but tricky! Use a picture you like, a printable, or create your own. The only requirement---make sure it is a high resolution photo! Nothing worse than printing a picture and realizing the pixels are blown out and the photo looks horrible. I actually created my own because I just couldn't find exactly what I wanted. I made mine in Photoshop Elements one evening while sipping tea at the computer. I offered it here as a printable, but please note, that pdf is for an 8x10 print and is not high res. Once you have your artwork chosen, save it to a thumb drive (again, making sure to save it as a high res photo). I saved mine as a pdf, jpeg, and psd file because I am paranoid and wanted to make sure that the print shop would be able to print it.
Step 2--Print your artwork at the local print shop
Some people swear by Staples, but for some reason our college town doesn't have one (insert frown here!). I took mine to Office Depot, but Office Max does the prints as well. I chose to have mine printed in black and white for $3.99 but they also offer it in color (they quoted me $7.99). The trick is so ask for an architectural print. They asked me if I wanted fancy picture paper (which would have cost more!), but I declined and stuck to my budget. In the end, the regular paper works great!!!
This should be what it looks like when you get it home. My edges were off, but you can work around that by trimming them or leave them on for a little bit of a border for your tape to work with (in case you don't want to lose any of your photo).
Step 3- Cut your styrofoam to fit
I know what you are thinking--styrofoam, under $14, 2 ft by 3 ft ---are you crazy lady? Why no, no I'm not! Did you know you can buy styrofoam in a four foot by 8 foot section? Never saw that at Michaels, Hobby Lobby, or Joann's, eh? You can actually find this gem at Lowes or Home Depot. It runs between $10-$15. It is in the insulation aisle. I actually usually keep a sheet in my garage because I am constantly finding ways to use it. Here is mine before I cut it to fit (as you can tell, I've used a good portion of it on another project!) It sometimes comes with a clear film cover that I peel off on both sides.
You can probably cut your styrofoam with a box cutter, but I could not find mine for the life of me. I used my styro cutter which worked really well. It literally melts through the styrofoam. It's hard to get a crisp clean edge, but I just used sandpaper to sand my edges down. Here's a pic of the styrocutter:
I cut my picture and styrofoam to the same size so that when I wrapped my tape later it gave the appearance of a canvas.
Step 4-- Secure photo/artwork to styrofoam.
So easy people. I used double stick tape pieces that I got years ago from Creative Memories. I made sure to get the corners and the outside edges. Some people swear by modge podge, but I didn't want that look that it leaves. The picture will stay intact, you don't need to worry about it coming loose.
Step 5- Cover edges with Gorilla Tape
I used white Gorilla Tape because I had it on hand. You could use duck tape, or another thick tape. I think the trick is to go with white as it give the illusion of the canvas edge. Draw pencil lines lightly on your artwork so you have a straight line to follow when laying the tape down. The only thing is---you only get one chance with this! If you try to change the tape position, it will tear the artwork. I cut the tape to the dimensions of each edge, over lapped it on the canvas about ½ inch, and then put the tape on one side at a time. The tape folds back to the back of the "canvas" totally covering those blue styrofoam edges. Be sure not to smash too much, as you can dent the styrofoam. When you are done, enjoy the "fake canvas" you just made! Go you!
Step 6--Hang your awesome artwork!
Want to know one of the BEST things ever about this artwork? It's super crazy light! No worries about if the wall can handle it. I actually used Command Strips to put it on my wall. I used 3 of the velcro type. I placed one in each top corner and one in the middle of the top edge. I used a level and lined the opposite command pieces on the wall. Then I snapped them together, held for a minute, let go and stepped back to admire my new artwork! How easy was that???!!!
Here is my cost breakdown:
Half a sheet of styrofoam (even at $15/sheet) $7.50
architectural print in black and white $3.99
Tiny amount of Gorilla Tape (less than $2 worth of tape).
Total around $13.50 each. The Styrofoam would actually make 2, and the tape is a handy thing to have around the house if you don't already have it.
So what do you think? Do you think you will use this method to make affordable artwork that you can switch out as often as your heart desires? Leave me a comment and let me know!
Are you curious to see what I will be putting in the spot for Christmas? Be sure to follow me on Instagram for sneak peeks. You can also follow me on Facebook! Have a great week!