Wednesday, August 24, 2011

DIY Wednesday - Gallery Photos for under $40

I am so excited about this DIY and wish I was better at decor photography, so you could get a better/more accurate feel of the project. However, I have lots to keep up with these days {don't we all} so these photos will have to do.

This DIY will show you how to take a photo and turn it into artwork for your home {mine was 16" x 24"} with a small amount of elbow grease and for around $40. I keep a file of images I label decor photos {mostly nature-y pictures like the baby fern and the little flower cup used in my examples.} You could similar photos of your own or you could do this with family photos or even scanned artwork that either you or your child made. All of these are fun options. I think I want to do this project again with some over-sized black and white photos of the kids when they were little. What's great about this project is you get big impact for low dollars. Also, before I get into the detail, you can totally omit adding the frame if you wish. This is what we did in Mia's room in the photo below. The foam mount makes them sturdy enough to rest on a shelf without any frame at all. You could also punch holes and hang them with ribbon.

Step one: select your photo(s). If you want to use one of my photos, I downloaded four {rain drop, shoes, fern, and flower cup} into my flickr account which you are welcome to print if you wish. You can find them here. Or, choose your own images. If you use your own, make sure you check the resolution is high enough that your photos won't look grainy when blown up.

Step two: Have FedEx print them. You can save time and download them online then pick them up, or drop off the images on a flash drive. Ask FedEx Office to "print and mount" them. They will recommend you laminate them, but I think this gives the photos a cheap/plastic look. Just note that these photos shouldn't get wet or be in a place where they would get covered with little finger prints. FedEx Office charges $7.50 per square foot to print and $5 per square foot to mount. So, a 12" x 12" would be $12.50. My example is a 16" x 24" and was $35. You can do any custom measurement, which is fun! Make sure you size the file by inches to the size you want or Fed Ex will charge you $5 to do it for you. *Also, you can't order your mounted prints online, so you have to download the images then call your local FedEx and tell them what you want.

Step three: Cut and paint your frame. This is the elbow grease part--but not too much :) Here is what you need:

1 foam mounted artwork
4 pieces of 2" wide balsam wood {$1.25 ea from Hobby Lobby}
black spray paint
glue gun

See below....

Balsam wood is very thin flimsy wood. So, handle it with care. However, the great thing about balsam is that it is very, very light {which makes your artwork a breeze to hang} and it can be cut with scissors. We could trim out the photo with thicker wood, but that would require a chop saw and I'm not sure everyone is up to that speed :)

So, make sure all 4 pieces of balsam are as long or longer than your longest side {in my case 24"}. Cut your wood into 2 lengths and 2 widths, plus double the thickness of the wood. So, for my projects, that was 24" + 8mm and 16" + 8mm. Next, spray paint the wood black. Make sure you get even the thin sides of balsam because that will show. A few tips for this part: go slow! Test your pieces to make sure they wrap perfectly around the frame. If you cut 1/4" too short, it will show! Also, when you paint, I would recommend you cover every little bit of wood with black {all sides.} I missed a few spots the first time around and it was nerve-racking doing touch up because I was afraid I might get black on the photo. The second time I made more careful/precise cuts and painted thoroughly and had really professional results.

Step four: Glue on the frame. Using a glue gun, glue the frame to the white foam sides of the print. Go slow and use the glue sparingly--you don't want it to seep onto your photo. Start at the top, then do the sides, and do the bottom last.
After you have glued all sides, reinforce the frame by gluing the back of the seams. I added two corner pieces and a horizontal piece across the back for further reinforcement.

And you're done! This artwork is so super light that you don't need any drywall anchors or to drill holes--just a skinny little nail or even adhesive mounting squares will do!

What I love most is the scale and impact you can make on a very modest budget. {We're all about saving you $ on decor so you can splurge on Joyfolie boots--*wink*} Gallery wrapped canvases, which have a similar look, would run around $150 plus shipping for the same size. For $40, you get the same look at less than a quarter of the cost! I hope you have fun and give this project a try! Just remember, go slow and make careful cuts--and you'll be so pleased with the results!

corner detail



liz.haugen said...

great idea!

simone said...

Hi Jessica! Just had a chance to browse thru all your DIY Weds posts. Love them all! Do you know what color Mia's walls are? Avery wants a pink room and I am having the hardest time finding the perfect shade of pink. Hope all is well with you!

Jessica Haley said...

Hi, Simone. Hope you are well! Her room is actually not pink, it's peach. The color is by Valspar/Lowe's and it's called "Peach Gala." I think it makes a nice little girl color without being over-the-top baby girl pink :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Jess!
Wow what a wonderful and easy DIY! Cant wait to weed through my pictures and decide which one to try this with first. I have been missing in action for far too long, and have missed my sweet friends in the blogging world:) It is great that school has once again begun and I MIGHT find some time for myself!! I have been thinking of you often; as I put the kids hair in "surprise" hair clips nearly every morning. Prayers for you and your family and hopefully we will be chatting often!!


LaDawn D said...


This is just a test because my account isnt letting me post comments...



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