Monday, June 16, 2014

DIY Photo Canvas Art

I have had a difficult time figuring out how to describe this post. It is sort of a follow-up to Laurel's last post about using mod podge as well as to my last entry about decorating with things that are meaningful to our family.

Several years ago, I saw an idea in a magazine that I loved. A decorator had taken black and white pictures of a family and sent them to a photo lab to be mounted on canvas. She then hung them in a grid on a wall to create an eye-catching focal point in the room. I liked the idea, but when I did a little research, I was shocked at how much it cost to have even one photo put onto canvas let alone a whole wall full. I went to an online photo lab site to check out prices. It advertised canvas prints starting at $39.99.

I knew there had to be a less expensive way. . . . and, yes, there is.

First, I decided how many pictures I wanted in my grid--nine. Then, I chose the pictures I wanted to use--harder than it sounds (too many choices.) I wasn't able to find a lab in town that processes black and white photos, so I used an online photo lab (Walgreens) and ordered nine, 8" x 10" black and white prints. I think they cost about $4.00 a piece without coupons, which are often available. I purchased nine 8" x 8" canvases at JoAnns. (The list price is $5.99, but I bought them when they were 50% off.) These canvases are available in all different shapes and sizes, so you can be more creative in your arrangement than I was if you want to be.

When the photos arrived, I used each individual canvas as a guide and traced around it onto one of the pictures, carefully centering the photo. I then cut the picture to fit. Be sure that you match each photo to a specific canvas because, although they are all supposed to be 8 x 8, they actually vary quite a bit in size. With each picture cut to size, I mod podged the photos onto the canvas using the technique Laurel described so well in her DIY nursery wall letters post.

Hanging them was a bit of a challenge, largely due to the slight variations in size. I actually got a large piece of butcher paper, laid out the grid on the paper using a ruler and a level, traced around each canvas, marked where the nail hole should go, and then taped the butcher paper to the wall. I then tapped each nail in place, took the paper off the wall, and hung the canvases. I did have to do some minor adjusting, but I still think it saved me a lot of time and potential extraneous nail holes.

So, instead of $40.00 a piece (total $360.00), I was able to create a similar look for less than $8.00 a piece (total $72.00).

And here is the finished grouping:

As our family grows and changes, I can either switch out some of the canvases or expand the grid.

Have fun!

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