It’s the age old question…what do I hang on my walls and how can I add artwork in a budget friendly way? Ready made or custom frames and art is $$, which is not a bad thing, but to keep costs down we also don’t want to cheap out with ugly plastic frames and mass-produced art. That doesn’t really add beauty or value to our lives, and since that’s the whole point, let’s figure out a way to achieve a great, custom look on a shoestring.Here’s what I’ve done: I had a collection of kids paintings that I took to the copy shop to have re-sized and copied in black and white, pictured above. Two of the paintings were in color and I wanted them all black and white and the correct size for the frames. The oversized copies (called engineering prints) are cheap—less than a couple dollars each.At this point, I framed them in a collection of wood frames I already had. I painted them all black for a cohesive look, but you can also easily make your own custom frames. And voila, a great way to display unique art in a casual and accessible way.
Here's our latest project--I took a small piece of artwork and blew it up and framed it for the artists' room.
8’ piece of 1 by 2 wood
4 flat corner braces or mending plates
Paint or stain, optional
Step 1: Get an engineering print made of the artwork you wish to frame. I go to Staples, and they now offer color engineering prints! They go up to 24 by 36 I think, but I had the smallest size made (still big—18 by 24 maybe?)
Step 2: Have the hardware store cut your wood to size, or cut it yourself once you know the dimensions. Paint or stain the pieces, if desired.
Step 3: Create your frame using either mending plates or flat corner braces. They can either be on the front or back— I chose brass corner braces and decided to put them on the front for added interest.
Step 4: Flip the frame over and attach the print to the back of the frame with flat tacks or tape. Attach a picture hanger or wire.
Step 5: Hang and admire.
8’ piece of wood: $5.50
4 flat corner braces: $2.40
Color engineering print: $3.00
Paint and tacks—had these on hand