Print, Trace, Paint, and Frame!

The art for our laundry room is complete! But not yet hung. Because… well, we’ll get to that part of the story later.

(click to see bigger)

I love them. Even though I did a bad, bad thing by knocking off “real art.” But I would never be able to afford these art prints and they say imitation is the highest form of flattery. If you’re richer than I am, you can purchase the beautiful prints here. (The shapes aren’t exact – I used the shapes from their previous collection.)

It has been a long journey to get here. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

Over a year ago, I wrote a post about art that were DIY-able. Then I didn’t even think about it until just last August, when we decided that we would include the symmetry art in our laundry room plan. Later that month, I fiddled around with Photoshop to make digital images of the symmetry art and finally finished in September.

Then, during a trip to IKEA in September, we grabbed four Ribba frames. You can see my pregnant self trying to decide which size to get for the laundry room – the bigger size or the smaller size.

We went with the bigger size.

I originally thought that we would just get the art printed at a local Kinko’s and pop them in the frames and we would be done. I called Kinko’s (in October) to ask about pricing. This is how our conversation went:

Elisa: Hi, I have a document in color that I’d like to be printed on a 16 x 20 piece of paper – how much will that cost?

Kinkos: That is 7.25 a square foot … and that is 16 by 20 … you re looking at about 21.75.

Elisa’s Brain: Whoa. That’s a lot more than I thought it would cost. Round that off to 22 bucks and then we’ll be paying 88 dollars for four prints?! Too much. Maybe a smaller size would be better? After all, we do have the mats in the Ribba frames.

Elisa: Alright. What about 12 x 16?

Kinkos: Anything above 11 by 17 has to be charged in square footage, so if it s 11 by 17, you could be paying 1.93 a page, but if it’s bigger, then it would have to be done in square footage drawn on an oversized color printing machine.

Elisa’s Brain: Ugh.

Elisa: Okay – for curiosity’s sake, how much would 12 x 16 be?

Kinko’s: 14 … or 15 dollars.

Elisa’s Brain: 15 times 4 is $60. Still too much.

Elisa: Okay, this is great information that you’ve given me, I’ll mull over it. Thanks so much and have a great day.

Elisa’s Brain: No way I’m printing these art prints at Kinko’s. This was supposed to be a cheap project…!

So the plan was changed and I decided to paint them with acrylic paint instead. But I needed a projector to do so and I didn’t have a projector. I could trace them using carbon paper, but I didn’t have any on hand and I wanted to do this as cheaply as possible. This is how I did it…

First, I printed them out in a bigger size. I just copied and pasted the art into a word processing document (I use Pages but you could easily use Word). Then I stretched out the image until it reached a 11 inch-width or a 15 inches length, depending on which came first.

Then I printed them out… in several pieces, and then taped them together. Some of the art only needed two pieces, some needed four, like below.


I put that on top of a large piece of paper that I had cut to fit in the frame. Then I used a pen and pressed hard along the lines of the art, like so:


When that part was over, I was left with indentations on the poster paper:

I penciled in these indentations using a colored pencil in the same color I was planning on painting them with.

Then it was time to paint! I used this set of acrylic paints that I got at Walmart.

All that was left to do was the actual painting. It was easy enough following the lines – I’ve had a lot of practice in my childhood with coloring books, so this was fun for me.

That’s it!

I especially love the visible brush strokes. But you could do a second coat to eliminate the brush strokes, if you wanted.

Oh – the reason why we didn’t hang them up yet? Our washer broke last week… sadface. But we bought it and the dryer off Craig’s List two years ago and they have served us well. And there was a Black Friday deal at Home Depot for front-load washers and dryers, so we jumped on the opportunity to buy a pair!

With that purchase, we are definitely taking our laundry room from blah to ta-da. The timing turned out to be perfect, since we’ll be washing a lot of loads soon when Janella grows a little bit more and fits in her cute cloth diapers.

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10 Responses

  1. They look so good! But what’s the deal with kinkos? Are they printing it on solid gold?! I like your version with the brushstrokes better anyway!

  2. Awesome. I so love your thinking process. I would never pay for color prints.

    I’ve also done the old “tape the paper to a window and trace” trick.

  3. Prints at Costco are incredibly cheap (if you have a membership). I think their 16×20 prints are 6 bucks, and the quality is great! Plus, it only takes an hour. Are there Costcos in Austin?

  4. The project turned out nice! Ouch on the Kinko’s prices!!

  5. Looks so good! I have a serious inability to color in the lines or I’d totally do something like this. I’d like mustard yellow artwork in my living room. You did a great job!

  6. AFAIC tht’as the best answer so far!

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