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How To Make Oversized Art With Your Own Photo

Around the time of last year’s Spring One Room Challenge I fiddled around with creating an oversized piece of art for the room I was working on. It took a couple of attempts, but we love the end result and I wanted to share it with you. This is such a great way to fill up a big empty wall with something that is meaningful to you.

The piece of “art” I’m going to tell you about started as a very humble photo I took with my cell phone at a beach in Harwichport on Cape Cod, when Mark and I had a little weekend away for our anniversary. FYI – Affiliate links are included in this post.Initially I had the photo printed as a poster to mount onto wood like I did for our master bedroom art, but I used a mounting glue I hadn’t tried before and ended up with tons of incurable bubbles – it was seriously a complete and epic fail! (You can see my tutorial on how to mount a photo to wood withOUT epically failing. I should read my own tutorials before I do projects! 🙂 )  
Despite my disastrous first attempt, I was completely captivated by the idea of using this random photo as a big piece of art. Somewhere along the way my focus for the piece shifted from my One Room Challenge family room to this wall in our kitchen where we have a little seating area; my favorite spot in the whole house because it has great light from the backyard and just beckons everyone to sit and stay a while – the kids, our guests and me with my morning coffee.

After the debacle with the poster, I got a bee in my bonnet to figure out how to print my cell phone picture onto fabric instead, and stretch it onto a frame. Spoonflower and few other sites can print a photo onto fabric, but the scale was never quite big enough for the oversized art I had in mind. Then I thought of this fantastic tutorial by House of Jade to make a big piece of art using a printed shower curtain.

A shower curtain, perfect!

A custom printed shower curtain turned out to be the most bang for the buck, offered at a bunch of different sites where you can often find discounts –  Shutterfly, TargetZazzle, Sam’s Club, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and CafePress all offer photo shower curtains. When I did this project last year, I found a 50% off Groupon for CafePress and my shower curtain was around $30. If you’re thinking of doing this project, be sure to compare these sites and see if any of them have a deal going – I noticed Zazzle is currently offering 30% off.

The material is water resistant polyester and my cell phone photo not exactly high quality, so I was mildly apprehensive about how the fabric would look, but I was pleasantly surprised. The photo is a bit blurry and the fabric is very lightweight, but overall it came out better than I expected, and after stretching and framing it you’d never know it was a shower curtain or even a cheap polyester material, unless you touched it!

The CafePress product was for a photo printed in the center of the shower curtain – not the entire curtain – so my final dimensions for this piece are 42″x60″. This was more than enough to fill up our wall but I wanted you to be aware that depending on your source, the photo might not be the entire size of the shower curtain.

 

Check out the tutorial at House of Jade on building a frame to mount a shower curtain; I mostly followed this but the braces in the middle of the frame were visible through the shower curtain, so I ended up removing them and putting in corner braces instead. Beware if you are using a light-colored photo that the wood might be visible through the fabric; consider cutting small pieces of wood on a 45° angle to fit in the corners and keep them square.

If your corners aren’t square it’ll drive you crazy when you hang your piece!

It’s a pain to remove these braces after you have the piece assembled, so before you stretch your fabric onto the frame be sure you can’t see the skeleton underneath!

Once it was mounted, I added a DIY frame to finish it off (see my tutorial for framing canvas art in this post.) I’m thinking about painting that outer frame gold so it pops a little more, but that will probably take me another year and a half to get to!

All in this project cost me under $60 with the discount on the custom photo shower curtain and the wood for the skeleton frame to mount the picture too, and the moulding for the outer frame – not too bad for the size of the piece!

Here’s the lay of the land in our house – this little seating area is where most people with our standard colonial layout have a kitchen table. You can see our baloney colored countertops are still hanging on for dear life? and this oversized art has been a great way to take over as the color focal point in the room!!! That room behind our Cape picture is the coastal-inspired bathroom I just renovated in the spring. I’m absolutely dying to add some moulding to this space but since our kitchen makeover is still out there on the horizon it doesn’t make sense to do anything now.

I opted for a piece of art that was glassless since we already have so many framed pictures. The end product is lightweight and glass free, and would be excellent for a playroom, kid’s room, basement or loft where teens hangs out and where a football may occasionally fly through the air and knock things off the wall. Think of the possibilities of using your own photo for a huge and unexpected statement piece! Travel, architecture, animals, close ups of your kids would all make amazing oversized art.

 

Check out my Oversized Art Pinterest board for tons of large scale inspiration pieces!

 

If you don’t want to use your own photo, check out this post on tons of great shower curtains you could use! (I am obsessed with the one of the Golden Gate Bridge and need to use that somewhere!)

Create large wall art with shower curtains and tapestries.

 

You might also be interested in this post on how to make large scale block art from your own photo!How to make large scale block art from a photo.

Have a great weekend friends!

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Brenda

Thursday 5th of October 2017

Brilliant. My hobby is photography and I'm always looking for ways to use my photos. Any trouble aligning the photo on the frame? I can see myself doing this and ending up having it tilted/crooked. I think you and House of Jade are very clever.

Lisa

Sunday 8th of October 2017

Brenda yes! With a picture of the ocean that includes the horizon line it was tricky to get the fabric to be perfectly straight and not slightly wavy. I think if there were no lines in your picture you'd be fine, but stretching a thin fabric like this does take a lot of checking to make sure the design is perfectly straight. While you're stretching and stapling the fabric I would keep looking at the front to make sure it was straight, and maybe mark on the design where certain parts of the design should line up.

Kristi

Wednesday 4th of October 2017

What a great idea Lisa! I may just have to give this a try for one of our guest bedrooms we're redoing. Thanks so much for sharing!

Lisa

Wednesday 4th of October 2017

It's a great way to fill up a big wall Kristi! Thank you for stopping by!

Jessica

Friday 29th of September 2017

This is a fabulous idea!! I am pinning this and can't wait to try it!

Lisa

Tuesday 3rd of October 2017

Thanks Jessica! It's a fun project, I hope you do try it. Easy way to fill up a whole wall!

Vel

Friday 22nd of September 2017

OMG! This is GENIUS! I should try this! Thanks for sharing too your sources for printing it in fabric and love your tutorial! Now, to find a wall for a massive picture like this... ;-)

Lisa

Monday 25th of September 2017

Thanks so much Vel! The original idea of using the shower curtain is from House of Jade, I had been dying to put my own spin on it. I think it's great for a kid's room or a basement space!

The Furnshop

Friday 22nd of September 2017

Thanks for sharing this post. This is really amazing.

Lisa

Monday 25th of September 2017

Thank you so much!