DIY Custom Wall Art

Do you have a hard time looking for wall art for your kid’s spaces? Or do you find your kids have a different taste than you? Have you had a hard time locating their requests? Or maybe you want to find something that they can grow into? Or maybe you’ve found something that is absolutely beautiful, only to discover it comes with a price tag of a couple hundred dollars and you cannot justify paying that much for something that may be replaced in a few years. Or maybe you want to save the “good” stuff for other areas in your house. Or maybe, I’m too picky! 😉

I’m not a big shopper. When I do set foot in a store, I want to find what I’m looking for and get out quickly — usually because I have kids with me. After searching local stores, online chain stores, and etsy shops, I found myself inspired and believing I could EASILY create something myself!

Even though my 3 year-old daughter can draw better stick figures than me. What I lack in drawing skills, I make up for in tracing and coloring (or painting). The process of creating your own custom DIY Wall Art is fairly simple. You can use paper, canvas, wood, etc. To find images you will need a computer, printer and Window’s Paint program. Stain, paint, paint markers, etc. is also needed to decorate your designs. If you do not have a computer or printer, consider using coloring book pages to create your wall art.

Begin with a google image search – I choose to add ‘coloring page’ after mountain (or whatever you are looking for) in order to find something that would be easy to trace.

Once you find an image you love, right click and choose ‘copy image’

Open up the Paint Program and paste your image

After pasting your image, you may find it looks huge or too small. The next step will help you get an idea of how large your image really is compared to an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper. Go to File – Print – Print Preview.

In the print preview view, you can see how see how much of the page will be taken up by the shape of the image and/or how many pages it will print on. While in the Print Preview view, go to Page Setup. In the picture below, I’ve split the screen. You can see how small our image actually is. If you were to print right now, that is the size you would get. To change the size, it is easiest to select the ‘Adjust to’ option. If you would like to play around with orientation of the page, you can change it here as well.

Here is a side by side view of what happens when you choose the ‘Adjust to’ vs the ‘Fit to’ option. Notice the image shape increased in size and now takes up more pages.

The image shape may have increased greatly, but the Mountain only  takes up half the page. Keep that in mind when choosing an image you want to create.

To make the image bigger, you can click on page setup and adjust size, I increased the size to 250%. With the size increase, it shows that it now is the size of 8×6 pages. It sounds massive, but it will only print on four of those pages – the computer will turn out a bunch of blank pages. If you want to further adjust the size, go back and increase or decrease the percentage. Once you are happy with the size, click print.

Once you have your pages printed, it’s time to assemble them (and I’m switching up the image example. I have not created a Mountain — yet). Your pages will print with a margin (unless you change that). In the picture below, I did cut off the margins on some of the pages. Be sure to tape in areas that will not affect your tracing as tape might be too thick for it to transfer.

Flip it over and begin scribbling on the back of the paper with a pencil. You only need to scribble where you want to trace. Since my world was so large, I loosely outlined what I needed to cover.

Flip it back over. Secure it to your wall art medium of choice and begin tracing. I had already stained the wood and discovered using a pencil to outline was not enough ‘hardness” to transfer my pencil line, so I used a ball point pen. I also discovered that since I used grey wood stain for the back ground, my transfer lines were very hard to see. So I ended up retracing them — again — in pen, but it went faster than I thought it would.

Once the outline is done, it’s time to decorate! I used the cheapest acrylic paint I could find at Michael’s. I think I did two to three coats of paint. The paint was dry within 15 minute — I think. You will see other examples of wall art I created below. I’ve used a paint marker to outline over my transfer lines or I left the pen line and moved on to painting.

Note: I have seen tutorials for printing an image backwards and transferring it on to the wood through wetting the paper.  I did try that for the map, but my ink was too light and the stain on the wood repelled the ink.

If you would like to add lettering, use Word and play around with the size of the font until you find your desired look. You can also download free fonts to your computer.

Here are a few others I created. I used glued cedar boards, canvas, and 1/4 plywood. I love how some turned out; others, I would have re-done. The kids love them and are happy, so that makes me happy (and I did not spend a fortune)!

Thanks for reading! Happy creating my friends!


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