Thursday, February 25, 2010

Inexpensive Wall Art Ideas

Okay, your college days are over (or perhaps not) and all you still have on those massive walls are a bunch of 8 x 10's.  It's just not cutting it, but money sure doesn't grow on trees around YOUR house. What to do?  Well, there are so many ideas out there of how to decorate on the cheap. Start by keeping your eyes open for large frames at garage sales, goodwill, or even the trash!  ANYTHING can be given a new life with just a bit of paint.  Look beyond the gaudy painting and see the gorgeous frame that just needs new paint.

This lovely, $5 frame was perfect as is for my daughter's princess poster.  Using my handy, dandy mat cutter, it came together so quickly.

How about framing some iron work?  I found these round pieces on clearance in the garden section of our Hobby Lobby for $2 each. I then found 3 square frames on clearance for $4 each, took out the old art, glued scrapbook paper to the carboard backing, and used wire to "tie" the iron to the backing (you know-Barbie-in-the-box style that takes you forever to open!)

For my Twins's room, I found a cheap airplane calendar and just picked our three favorite.  I didn't even bother with the mat cutter and just mounted them right on top of red and white scrapbook paper. Once again the frames were used ones found at a garage sale. (The airplanes hanging from the ceiling came from garage sales too!)

For our hall bath, I had a framed piece of silk, needlework from one of my husband's trip to China that I wanted to take up a bit more of the wall space.  I thought a wall saying would look good but didn't want to spend anything.  I went real cheap and just printed it out on cardstock, put on a good movie, and used an exacto knife and cut out each letter.  Using a piece of tape as a guideline, I literally just glued it to the wall with a school glue stick!  Three years later, it's still there, with no problems.

Here's a way to use up a bunch of those smaller and odd sized frames.  I collected a bunch, painted them all black and then played with the arrangement on the floor first.  You can even lay out some large sheets of paper and trace where each item goes, tape it to the wall and nail each in place.  When all hung, just rip down the paper. HINT: when hanging groupings, especially in high-traffic areas, I like to use a 3M adheshive square at the bottom of each item to keep them from going crooked on me. It'll save you OCD people like me from going nuts! 
 I used items from trips we've taken: postcards and stamps mounted on scrapbook paper, 3-dimensional items for interest, reproduction travel posters, and even a couple of bookmarks:

How about framing a collection of money, stamps, shells, buttons, or whatever!  My husband's coins and bills from his travels sat for years in our closet in a couple of Mason Jars.  For his birthday one year, I surprised him by framing them. I lined the cardboard backing with black velvet and hot glued the coins in place:

Are you like me when you look at scrapbook paper?  I find myself wanting to buy the gorgeous, artistic sheets of paper, yet have no project in mind?  They truley are works of art by themselves.  Why not frame them? I found this huge frame for a friends large, vaulted wall.  We started with this:

...and turned it into this by painting out the background art and using modge podge to apply scrapbook paper:

Look at our inspiration photo from Ballard Design:

How easy is this to custom-match your home's colors!

Similar in design, I saw this in a model home.  Each square was mounted on foam board first to help them pop in the frame:

Next, I discovered these fabulous papers from Italy called "Florentine Paper".  They're very retro, vintage looking and look gorgeous framed! You can find them at nicer art supply shops or online.  I like  I DARE you to look at these and not want to buy some!  I took three food papers, mounted them (with modge podge) on thin plywood (cut bigger than the print), then cut moulding to fit around the print and just used liquind nails to attach the moulding to the backing!  Easy Peasy!  If I remember right, when all said and done, we did them for about $10 each!  Grouped together they looked like this:

Aren't those fun? You could do the same thing with wrapping paper, wallpaper, or fabric.

So retire those 8x10's and go BIG!  Be on the lookout for my next post where I'll show you my favorite ideas from the Web for Inexpensive, creative, and uniqe wall ideas.


  1. I just came across your blog and see that you have awesome ideas for decor. I would like to know a little bit more about the words on the wall .. what material you used ? how did you glue it ? i want to do the same at my house but don't want to but the vinyl cutter things etc so your help will be appreciated

  2. Meenakshi- I just printed my letters out on cardstock. Get a nice grip exacto knife at Michaels and just cut out each letter. On your wall, place a piece of painters tape level so you have a guide for your lettering. I started at the middle point and worked my way to the left, then from middle to the right (this centers your saying on the wall.) I tried spray adhesive and it was way too messy. I ended up using a kid's glue stick and it's worked perfect and should come off the wall easily enough when the time comes. Good luck and thanks for stopping by.

  3. I love the idea about the Foreign Money. I have a lot of it and rather than wait to re-visit these places, what a great idea to frame it.

  4. you've got some great ideas! how about adding some features to make it easy to navigate your blog for your older ideas like labels, link within or a search button!

  5. Just found your blog last week. What great ideas...I know I'll be back again! Thanks!

  6. Erin, this was an awesome post! I love all your ideas. Your blog is fantastic!

  7. Why do you let the hanging hardware show above the picture frame? I think it would look neater if the frame covered the hardware. Otherwise great ideas

  8. These ideas are really great, every person want to decorate their home with attractive thing in affordable price, i hope this post will helpful for them who want to decorate home with inexpensive wall art...

  9. I really like the dear information you offer in your articles. I’m able to bookmark your site and show the kids check out up here generally. I'm fairly positive they're likely to be informed a great deal of new stuff here than anyone else! buy cannabis online canada


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