Monday, October 26, 2009

DIY: Wall O' Prints

Did you have a great weekend?  Our party was wonderful.

In advance of the party, there was one little project that I wanted to get done (OK, there were a million, but I actually got this one done). Recall this post where I discussed Phoebe Howard's panache with prints?

I always love the look of ordered groupings of prints but when I thought about creating a similar display, I saw dollar signs. Lots of them. Finding a group of 6-8 framed prints in a suitable subject matter is hard. Finding one that costs less than $100 is very hard. Even if each print is only $20, that still adds up when you purchase a large grouping.

Since we have a set decorating budget for the house, I had to put my thinking cap on if I wanted to create this look. Here's how I did it:

I hit up eBay for the vintage prints. I knew I wanted botanical prints, and ferns seemed a good choice since my dominant color is green and they are not overly feminine. I just typed in "vintage fern prints" and "antique set vintage fern prints" - and I had many choices available. Yours could be flowers, or birds, or black/white photos or vintage postcards...anything! You'll probably find it on eBay.

Price: $30

The prints were an odd size, so that presented a bit of problem when it came to framing them. My first approach was to look for mats to lay over them, but due to their odd size, I could not find standard mats to fit (and the custom route would have exceeded my budget). I thought about wielding an exacto knife and cutting my own mat (which you could do), but that seemed a bit too much effort, so I instead decided to just lay the prints over a white background.

So, I headed over to my local craft store (in my case A.C. Moore) to pick up the frames. When you do an ordered set of frames like this, I find that the thinner/simpler the frame, the better. So I didn't need anything fancy or decorative. And craft stores are a great place to find these simple frames for a steal. And boy, did I get a steal. I happened to purchase my frames on a buy one/get one free day (which is not uncommon in the craft store world) so I was able to get four frames for $10. I bought eight, though I only needed six. Just in case.

Price: $20

For my white background, my thoughts turned to watercolor paper. It's thick and textured and would provide a great background to the prints. And, I could pick up a small stack by buying an artist's notebook for about the same price it would cost to buy one or two mats. I was particularly proud of myself for this one.

Price: $8

I spread out my supplies on the dining room table and proceeded to assemble the prints. To avoid having each print slightly askew when I framed them, I cut a hole for my print out of the piece of paper that came with the frame and used the opening as my template. I lay it over the watercolor paper and attached the print to the paper by lining it up in the opening. I used a little glue stick in the four corners to attach my print - if you are working with something especially delicate or sentimental, you might want to check what an appropriate adhesive would be. The glue stick was in my drawer, and thus appropriate, but if your prints carry value over just being pretty, you might want to double check that.

Cutting a hole out of the frame's paper - there was a nice rectangle in the middle of the paper, so I used that to guide me. Very easy.

Gluing the print to the watercolor paper using the template.

Finished print on paper, ready for the frame.

The watercolor paper was an inch longer than my frames, so I just folded the bottom piece of each paper over about an inch. Framing each one was a cinch...creating these frames took about an hour, max.


Finished Product

Your frames may or may not come with a hanging mechanism. Mine didn't, so to hang them, I attached a little picture hanging bracket to the back of each one. The kind with the little teeth....

You may think that hanging a group in symmetry would take forever with all the measuring/spacing, but it doesn't! Carter helped me on this one as some spots on the wall were a little high for me. We lined up where we wanted the first print to go (bottom right hand corner) and then we just measured based on that frame. Since all the frames are the same size, we could put dots for nails in an ordered pattern on the wall every set number of inches. Hanging took about 20 minutes.

Et voila!

Total price: $58
Total time: 1.5 hours
Total headache/hassle: 0

What do you think?

If you happen to try this on your own, please share some photos :)


  1. Anonymous10/28/2009

    Hi there. I'm a friend of Holly's and she sent me the link to your website. I really enjoy your posts and while our styles aren't exactly the same, your projects still inspire me. I've been talking about doing something like the vintage prints for months (probably years) and never got around to it. You made it sounds so easy, I'm going to work on it this weekend! Thanks!

  2. Hi Morgan! The project WAS easy...I promise. Best of luck and hope to hear from you again. Would love to see pictures of your final product :)


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