January 22, 2015

DIY Art 2: Apartment Living

It's hard to remember which art project we started first, but this Hogwarts letter was certainly the easiest. After clarifying the correct wording from the book, I got on the computer to search for different clip art. I had originally placed the crest on both pages, but we decided it was too crowded. I created the whole letter in MS Word with regular margins and used their Chaucer font, and then printed it on parchment paper. If you'd like a copy to personalize yourself, just email me at beautifulliving@msn.com and I'll send you the Word document.

The most frustrating, but beautiful, artwork we created were these photos on canvas. Kate's roommate had made these before and assured us it was super easy. It wasn't. At least for us. To get these 4 canvases, we went through 10 total. You'll need:

1.  One 8x10 (or smaller) painter's canvas for each piece, which we bought at Job Lot for 1.99 each.
2.  One jar of Mod Podge.
3.  One foam paint brush. We had several on hand.
4.  Printed pictures of your choice. Kate found this art online and we printed it on a laser printer using all-purpose paper, not photo paper.
5.  A brayer especially designed for Mod Podge. This is optional, we didn't start out this way, but I grabbed one at our local art store for 9.00 when we got desperate. (I've enclosed the link to a kit. The brayer is actually the large rolling pin.)

I think the pigment of the art she chose was so intense that it made the paper hard to work with. Her roommate had never used any art saturated with so much color, we think that was our problem. Here's how its done.

1.  Prepare your canvas with a medium layer of Mod Podge. Make sure it's covering the entire surface evenly.
2.  Optional: Lightly spray the back of your paper with water. If you choose to use cover stock or other weights, you will not have to do this. The benefits of working with regular paper is that you'll be able to see the texture of the canvas, which is the look Kate was going for.
3.  Lay your paper art side up (dry side up too if you've misted it with water) and carefully position it into place. You do have a bit of time before it sets up, but work quickly if you can.
4.  Working from the center out, smooth the paper to get rid of any air bubbles and allow it to adhere to the canvas.
5.  If you use a brayer, start working with your hands first and then roll the brayer over the entire surface with even, steady pressure. Kate actually rolled on piece then entire 20 minutes and it's the best one out of the four.
6.  Let the canvas dry for 15-20 minutes.
7.  Once it's dry, add another layer of Mod Podge directly over the art. Let dry completely. You may choose to add more Mod Podge depending on the look you're going for. We only used one top coat.
8.  Paint the sides or edges of your canvas after it's completely dry. Kate painted the canvases ahead of time and we found out the Mod Podge wouldn't adhere as well.


If you see a few bubbles while your canvas dries the first time, hold tight until you've added your second layer. We noticed that some of the bubbles deflated after step 7.

If, however, you see a lot of bubbles or wrinkles while it's drying the first time around, you have time to remove the paper and scrape off any remaining paper and Mod Podge and still re-use the canvas. We did this several times.

When we showed Kate's roommate what we did and she showed us what she did, I noticed her paper was smaller, meaning it didn't take up the entire 8x10 canvas, and there wasn't much pigment. She used smaller photos and quotes instead. This is why I caution you when using pictures that have a lot of pigment in them.

I hung each of the pieces you see above with Command Velcro strips. I love using these for lightweight pieces of art.

1.  I simply laid out my design (if hanging more than one) on the floor to make sure I liked the design. The quartet of HP art could have been arranged a number of ways, but we both agreed this was the most attractive.
2.  I started with the HP art on the lower left and placed it above her desk where I thought I wanted it. Then I drew a chalk line around the entire piece.
3.  I continued until I had all four pieces in place. I used a small picture level as well.
4.  Once you're done, stand back to make sure you like the overall look.
5.  Then simply place the Velcro tabs (I used one on the top left and bottom right of each picture) and transfer the same measurement over to the wall. When you place them, try to give yourself at least a quarter inch margin so you won't see the strips from the side.
6.  Once they're up, simply place the art on the wall lining up the strips. It's okay if they're not perfect because the strips are large enough to work. Use your level again for accuracy and then press firmly into place.

Good luck!

You may also like this DIY art project.