Saturday, August 14, 2010

Poster printed wall art

You may have seen in my last post that I had some new wall art on the wall behind the couch.

That space has been empty since we moved into the house a year and a half ago. I really wanted to put a mirror there but had a very specific design in mind (=DIY) and that just hasn't happened yet.
So in order to make this room feel more put together I came up with some wall art. I would still like to ultimately put a mirror there, for the sparkle and extra light, but now it's not as urgent and in the mean time it feels like a "real" room.

I made this Moroccan/Indian type triptych for about $10 using foam board and copyright free images off the internet, poster printed on our printer at home.

Here's the supply list.

7 foam core boards, 20"x30"(I found mine at the Dollar Tree store for $1 each)
images, high resolution is great but not necessary at this size
Elmer's glue
Mod Podge
hot glue
paint of your choice for "frame"
twine (for hanging the finished art)
block printing device (advanced printer/photo editing program/freeware)

I used PosteRazor (freeware to download to your computer) for the block printing. It was a first for me but I found it really easy to use and am very happy with the results. In the past I've used and that works well too, the only drawback being that they won't let you use images larger than 1MG so as you blow the image up it gets grainy. I am partial to the crisp and clear images so I'll definitely be using my PosteRazor in the future. Anyway, here's how I went about it.

1. I found my images on places like Flickr, doing searches like "Moroccan color" or "Indian market" and the like. I fell for these three because of the brilliant colors and their Indian/Moroccan flair. They don't necessarily have to be high-resolution pics, the blue door one of mine was only 72dpi which is not high at all but it still came out looking great in 20"x30". If you're an inch or two away from the pic you may see some graininess but you'd have to really look to see that.

2. Open your block printing device, in my case PosteRazor and decide how many pages you want your poster to be. I found that 9 pages per image came out to approximately 20"x30" (all my images had slightly different sizes but I'll show you later how I solved that). Print your images, which I did on my printer's normal setting to save on ink. I find that they come out looking just fine on the normal as opposed to fine setting.

3. To make my art three dimensional I cut one of my foam boards into little squares about 2"x2" and sandwiched little stacks of squares between two foam boards, gluing everything together with hot glue.

I just spaced the stacks out as I saw fit to make the sandwich as stable as possible.

And I had my sandwich on mug "stilts" because things were about to get messy.

Oh, and before I glued the backside of the sandwich on I poked two holes in the back and threaded some twine through so I would be able to hang them when done (no pic of this step, sorry). I reinforced the two holes with duct tape (which is what you see inside the sandwich in the pic above) because I knew this art was going to live within reach of our two monkey babes with sticky fingers.

4. I diluted a little bit of Elmer's glue with water and decoupaged wide strips of printer paper to the edges. Even if the glue is quite watery it'll work just fine. When I got to the corners I just folded it like I would when wrapping a present and glued it down.

5. Time to decoupage the image onto the "canvas". I first laid out my image and tried to estimate where I needed to place the first block in order for the image to be centered and then went to work. I used ModPodge for this part since I wanted the surface to be protected when done. I slathered podge on the canvas, placed the image on there and smoothed it out. When all blocks where on I went over the whole thing with another coat of podge. I ended up with quite a lot of wrinkles in my image but I decided to go with it and not worry about it. I could have diluted the ModPodge a little for easier placement but I was worried about the image smudging with the extra moisture. And I was also a lot more focused on lining up all my blocks correctly. So it didn't smudge and I more or less managed to piece the images together but I ended up with wrinkles. Figured it'll look handmade and more primitive, I still really liked how it came out.

In this pic above you can see that I had to let the bottom right corner run over the edge in order for the doorway to be centered and that I also have a white border showing. I had those borders with all my images because the sizes varied. You can also see the folded corner as mentioned in step 4.

6. Now to cover all those white borders and sides I grabbed some left over black outdoor paint in semi-gloss and painted a rough frame around all the images. I made the edges uneven on purpose and tried to get the brush strokes to be visible for more texture. And set them to dry overnight in the kitchen. Sorry about the trash :)

Some close-ups for you.

Wonderful blue Moroccan doorway with covered up woman.

Wrapped up marigolds at an Indian market.

Cascading peacock tail.

The before and afters.

So there you have it. Not too complicated, huh?

I kind of like the modern look of the crisp images with their brilliant colors and black frames coupled with the primitive handmade and wrinkled look. These images together pretty much cover all of the colors I'll be using in this room so it's a good way of tying everything together. And since I made them on the cheap I won't cry (too much) if the monkey babes happen to kill them. So far they've been good about leaving them alone and they've even cut back on the couch back climbing = complete success :)

But imagine the possibilities with this block printing idea. Pics of your kids? Life sized animated figure? Personalized wall paper? It's all possible using this technique. Will you try it?

Ps. Linking up with
Funky Junk
Someday Crafts
Beyond The Picket Fence
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  1. I've never heard of PosteRazor. Very cool. I love your posters! They're pretty!

  2. I just bought one of the foam core boards at the Dollar Tree on Friday. I knew that I was going to decoupage something on it and you have given me more ideas! Thanks

  3. Hi, Titti - ooh, what fantastic results! This looks like you paid $$$! I had never heard of poster block printing, what a cool thing - thank you so much for this great inspiration, I'm trying it for sure!

  4. Great tutorial!! They look really great! I have the same exact dilemma! Even worse since my husband and I have been in our house for 2 years now. Haha. I keep meaning to actually paint a picture for the space but there's never any time. I may give this a try. :-)

  5. This is fantastic! Thanks for the tutorial - I didn't even know that sight existed. Your posters look beautiful!!

  6. Beautiful prints! Love the peacock feathers the most!

  7. Awesome designs.I love these posts.These are very pretty.This post gives me more precious ideas.Thanks for sharing.

    Barbie sunglass for kids India

  8. Thank you for sharing all your ideas and free printables as well! I am still in school currently and looking for a job, now to start next fall! Your creative ideas and posters are such a great help to me to get organized now in advance! THANK YOU
    Poster Printing UK


I really appreciate you taking the time to comment because I know you didn't have to. Additional ideas or related techniques are always welcome, the more we brainstorm the better all of our end products will be.
While I try to answer all comments I sometimes don't make it or have your contact info. If you don't hear back from me it doesn't mean I hate you, I just ran out of time (or simply had no way of contacting you).
I wish you a great day!

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