Easy-Peasy Holiday Gifts: DIY Art

Today's post is about a little art project you can make for your home or maybe as a gift for someone special.  It may not be as easy-peasy as the last few presents I shared, (maybe this is a level 2 project) but it's still pretty simple and can make a fabulous gift! A few weeks ago, I shared this picture that we had taken on the roof of our apartment building.

With the expansive white walls of our apartment, we were shopping around for some cheap, but meaningful art. One night at IKEA, we saw this picture of New York, stretched onto a canvas.

IKEA Premiar Print

Although we liked the print a lot, neither of us have any ties to New York and we didn't really want to purchase something that 10 million other people could potentially have hanging on their walls. However, it got us thinking about what we liked....Thus, the idea to make our own "city print" was born. We scoped out some different picture vantage points from around our city and finally settled on taking shots from our rooftop. We liked the idea of having part of the old-worldish architecture in the frame, along with the hills and the Grand Lake Theater sign (which makes the picture that much more personal). 
After my photographer-husband took 50 + pictures of the view, we settled down to choose our favorite. Then I did some very amateur editing in iPhoto.

Basically, I faded the color to give it a monochromatic feel (without totally making it B&W) and then used the "antique" effect to give it a slightly sepia look. 
Then we uploaded it to the website Large Format Posters, which is a company that, among other things, prints pictures on canvas. Because we wanted a large picture (55in x 44in), we shopped around for the best price for printing. (Trust me, printing on canvas can get pretty pricey, pretty quickly!) 
We opted for a rolled canvas, rather than a stretched canvas, for two reasons. 

  1. The stretched canvas (meaning it's already on a wooden frame) is waaaay more expensive to purchase and to ship.
  2. Having been a painting student in college, I was well versed in the "art" of building stretcher frames.
A week later, we received our huge canvas in the mail. (We also opted for the white border because we didn't want to cut any of the picture off when stretching it around the frame.) 

We picked up some thin wood from Home Depot and my handy-manny measured and screwed the pieces together to make a basic wood frame in the desired size of our canvas.  (If you have access to a saw, I might suggest cutting your wood at 45 degree angles so the corners fit together more smoothly. However, this method works fine also!)

Next, we laid our canvas face down on the carpet and placed our frame over the top of it.  We then began the task of stapling and stretching our canvas. We made sure the picture has no wrinkles or loose edges by starting to staple in the middle of the frame. We added a few staples in the middle of the top and then move to the bottom. After that we stapled the middle of both sides. A little tip: make sure to pull it taut the entire time you're stapling (this is where it helps to have two peeps working on this project). Move from the inside out, saving the corners for last. 
I just did a simple fold in the corner to make it as unobtrusive as possible and to make sure it laid flat.

And that's all there is to it! It's a pretty easy project and then you have your very own one-of-a-kind piece of art for a small price tag. 

Another idea that I've seen done several times is stretching a unique piece of fabric onto a frame to create a patterned look, rather than using a photograph. You could do something like this:
[Source unknown]

Of course, if you are giving this as a gift, you can always do a smaller photo or piece of fabric or a small collection, such as a grid of three or four canvases. What do you think? Has anyone tried a similar project? 

1 comment:

  1. we did something similar. i also saw something at ikea i liked and decided to do it at home. we basically did the same thing you and nick did but with fabric. i'll have to do a post about it. i love your picture!


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