I’ve known from the beginning that I wanted to incorporate some kind of landscape oil painting into the Chamber of Secrets. Do you remember this inspiration image I shared?
Eep. I seriously love everything about that room. I am, however, enjoying the freshly white walls too much to cover them with a mural and I am also – at this late stage of the renovation game – working with an increasingly small budget. I figured I could do something on a smaller scale and it would still be dreamy and lovely, kind of like this:
Prints masquerading as fine art can look pretty cheap, but I thought that if I took the idea further – and combined brazen fakery with function – I could make it work.
For this project you will need:
A bulletin board
An image of your choice, ’tiled’ and printed in color (more on that later)
Minwax Polyacrylic (or some kind of sealant)
Step One: Find a bulletin board. I almost always see one or two when I’m at the thrift store, so when I got the idea for this project I kept my eyes peeled for a large one. This beaut rang in at just $1.99 (though I recommend you be a bit more discerning in your choice and try to get one that’s been slightly less abused – the cork on this one was pretty lumpy which had some effect on my final product). I spray painted the frame matte black.
Step Two: Choose an image you like. I used the search term ‘landscape painting,’ and found lots of great ones on the National Gallery of Art website (the same place I downloaded the portraits for my coaster project). You can download large file sizes for free and there are no restrictions on how you use the images. I chose this one by the French painter Henri-Joseph Harpignies:
Step Three: Measure the dimensions inside the frame of your bulletin board and resize your image. My bulletin board is about 36″ x 23″. I used the ‘image resize’ function in Photoshop Elements. I had to crop it a little to make it work. If you don’t have photo editing software on your computer they can do this for you at the print shop.
Step Four: Have your image printed. My initial thought when considering this project was to have the image printed full size. But a full-size color image of this baby would have run about $60 – more than I wanted to spend on something that would be stuck full of pins. I decided to have the image tiled – where the larger image is split up across standard 8.5″ x 11″ paper. Some home printers have this capacity (mine doesn’t), but it was easily done at the print shop where they charged 53 cents per colored page – for a grand total of $8.48.
Step Six: Do a dry run by assembling your puzzle on the floor or a table. Write numbers on the back starting in the upper left so – when the glue is drying way too fast – you’ll remember where they go. I might be a little proud of this step. It’s like I’m learning from my mistakes or something.
Step Eight: Using your foam brush, apply a thin coat of Mod Podge to the upper left of the bulletin board in roughly the size of your first page. Also apply a thin coat to the back of your first page. Gently smooth out all the bumps and creases.
It was at this point that I discovered how chunky my board was. The bumps and creases made me a little panicked, and I had to ONCE AGAIN learn the lesson that in regards to drying glue or paint it’s better not to mess with things too much. I tore the paper in a few spots frantically trying to smooth things out, but most of the bubbles deflated when it dried anyway so I should have just let it be.
Continue affixing your pages until your whole image is in place. Leave it to dry for at least an hour (I left mine over night).
Step Nine: Apply a thick coat of Mod Podge over the top of your entire image, concentrating your effort on the seams or any little tears that may have occurred when you were frantically trying to smooth out the bumps [see step eight: crying in the Mod Podge]. Allow to dry for a couple of hours.
Step Ten: Apply a thin coat of Minwax Polycrylic (or Mod Podge makes an acrylic coating too) and allow to dry. This will make a nice hard surface, and will combat any lingering tackiness from the Mod Podge.