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How To Make A Photo Into Framed Block Art

Today I want to share with you a fun project that would be great
 for a kid’s room, playroom, or even for a family room with a huge black and white photo or landscape picture from your travels!
Last fall when I worked on my 17 year old son Peter’s room for the One Room Challenge, one of my primary goals was to make this space more reflective of him and his loves.
There were a lot of DIYs that went into this room but Peter’s absolute favorite part of all was this picture of him and his football co-captains that I blew up and framed grid-style. Football is his favorite thing ever and the brotherhood the boys on this team have together is pretty special.
From a design perspective, the big bright pop of color from the sky, field and uniforms is perfectly suited to the black chalk-washed wall, and the glass reflects the natural light and brings life to this space.
Here are some tips for creating this block-style large scale art.
This post contains affiliate links.  
BLOWING UP A PHOTO
 I love the free site Block Posters that allows you to upload a photo and dictate how many pages you want to print it to. I use this site for blowing up graphics for signs and furniture like the Art’s Market coffee table and Mark The Shark deck cart.
Choose a high resolution image for the best reproduction.
The photo I used was not high res and was quite pixelated when I blew it up, but I thought it was actually kind of cool for this application.
After uploading the photo you can play around with portrait and landscape, as well as sizing.
Block Posters only allows you to choose from paper sizes A4 (8.27″x11.69″) or standard letter sized (8.5″x11″) so keep these dimensions in mind when planning the overall size of your art.
  I taped printer paper to the wall to visualize how big I wanted the poster, then cropped my photo in Picasa before uploading so that it would fit the scale of 4 pages across by 4 down (a ratio of 34×44).

 

Once you have selected how large you want your poster to be, a pdf is generated that you can download.
 
PRINTING
You can easily print the file at home but I opted to have this block poster printed at Staples on a heavy paper because their color printer quality far exceeds mine. The printing was less than $5 and I ordered it online then picked up when I was out doing errands – it was definitely worth the trip.
FRAMING
This was the tricky part – finding the right size frames!
Remember how I said Block Posters only allows you to choose A4 or standard size paper?
8″x10″ frames are easy to find, but a bunch of 8.5″x11s? Not so much.
I was going for something with a very minimal moulding, and keeping in mind budget and where this was going (a teen’s room), cheap snap frames were perfect. The glass still gives the poster a little more presence in the room, and bounces the light around, but the very thin frames recede and let the portions of the photo come together.
 I used these exact frames that have plastic moulding that the glass snaps in and out of. They can vary in price greatly, from $2 to $20 for each one, so I shopped all over the place for a good deal on them because I needed 16!!
For a living room or more sophisticated space than a teen’s room, I think glass clip frames without moulding, like these, would be perfect for this project too. Imagine those clips in a brushed brass (think Rub’n’Buff or a gold Sharpie paint pen!)
For an even less expensive version of what I used, check out your Dollar Store for document frames with plastic instead of glass. For a buck they are definitely worth considering, especially for a kid’s room or playroom!!
If you are using snap frames like I did, make sure your paper fits perfectly flat inside the plastic frame, trimming to fit if not, or it will wave when the glass is snapped in.
HANGING
I spent eons measuring and installing nails exactly where the frames should hang but this didn’t go as smoothly as it should have for some inexplicable reason, so here is an easier hanging solution:
> The frames are pretty light, even with the glass, so I used 3M mounting tape* on the back edges of all the frames (all four sides).
>Use a pencil and level to mark the top and one side of where you want to place the frames on the wall.
> Start in the top corner and set your whole top row,
then the second row and so on, making sure you are lining up with your side markings.
> I didn’t leave any space between the frames.
> After putting a frame on the wall, hold it in place firmly for 30 seconds or so (an extra set of hands in helpful to keep things moving here!)
> As an added precaution I placed tiny nails on the perimeter of the frames at each intersection of frames, and then colored them in with a black Sharpie.
>>>QUICK TIP!!<<<
Not all mounting tape is created equal!!

I had a really bad experience with a no-name brand I bought at a local discount store and I will never use anything but trusty, reliable, super adhesive 3M again (and I’m not getting paid to say that!)……….. Over Thanksgiving my brother-in-law was staying in Peter’s room and in the middle of the night a couple of frames came crashing down off the wall, scaring the living daylights out of all of us and especially my poor brother-in-law!!!!

I replaced all the tape with 3M that I have used before and never had any problem with, and the adhesion is much stronger. Moral of the story – quality matters in this case.

And that’s it!
Huge custom statement art on the (relatively) cheap!

 

Happy factor for my kiddo – PRICELESS!

Here are all the projects from Peter’s MOODY-MASCULINE-MIGHT room makeover if you’re interested in seeing more from this space!

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”44″ gal_title=”Rustic Industrial Room”]

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Happy day friends!

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cindy hattersley

Sunday 10th of July 2016

This is fabulous Lisa!!

Lisa

Monday 11th of July 2016

Thank you Cindy! Peter loves it!

Becky heye

Monday 30th of May 2016

Thank you for sharing the framing idea. My son ordered a print of a tiger for his new apt. And when I saw the multiple sheets of photos in these squares I had no idea what to do w it. Off to Dollar Tree to look for frames. Hope it urns it as lovely as your job.

Lisa

Tuesday 31st of May 2016

Thank you Becky! I struggled to find frames that were the right size so if you can't find what you need at the Dollar Tree check out Amazon or Walmart online.....their prices were good and they had the size I needed!

Vel

Wednesday 27th of January 2016

What an awesome bang for your buck Lisa! LOVE THIS! I definitely must try this for sure! THANK YOU!

Carol @ CAD INTERIORS

Tuesday 26th of January 2016

I'm bookmarking this tutorial. This was my favorite aspect of your ORC. :) Such a savvy design statement! On another note, congrats on the successful migration over to WP. I'm planning to do so as well, but don't know how to best approach this. Hire or DIY?!

Brandi

Monday 25th of January 2016

Lisa, this is such a creative idea. I've never seen something like this, you trendsetter you!!! Thanks for the 3M mounting tape trick. I was using putty until it started ruining my walls.

[email protected]

Monday 25th of January 2016

I won't lie, the 3M mounting tape does a number on the walls when you try to remove it too, but some things you really want to stick well without of fear of crashing down in the middle of the night!!