Thursday, May 22, 2014

Large Initial Canvases

I like to have large pieces of art above my bed.  The problem with large pieces of art is that they are typically very expensive.  I wanted to create over the bed art work that would be cute, individual, and work on my budget.

Materials:  computer, architecture print, art canvas (in same size as print), pencil, spray adhesive, Mod Podge, food coloring, paint brush, black acrylic paint (high viscosity preferred)

1.  Find song lyrics, a poem, speech, etc.  Pick some text that is personal and speaks to you and/or your significant other.  Type up the text you've chosen and pick a font you like.  I chose "Brand New Day" by Joshua Radin in Informal Roman font.  The other one is "The Summer Day" by Mary Oliver in Freestyle font.  I centered the text on the page (because I like how it looks better) and just kept increasing the font size until it filled up the whole page.  Save the document as a PDF.

Note:  I did this in Publisher and made my document the size I wanted it printed out.  However, I checked with the people at Office Depot, and they said if I had been saved in 8.5" x 11" format they could have enlarged it.  

Note 2:  If you are not particularly good at or fond of painting, you can add the initial on top of your text in Word or Publisher.  Just place an additional text box in the center of your text; make sure you have no fill and no outline.  Type the initial you would like into the text box and enlarge the font and text box until you like the size and location of the initial.  This allows you to skip Steps 3 and 6.

2.  Go to your local copy and print store and get your text printed out on Engineering/Architecture paper.  This paper comes in 18" x 24", 24" x 36", and 36" x 48" at most locations.  I went to Office Depot.  I did both of my prints in 24" x 36", and they cost just over $6 with tax.  It was an awesome deal!  I got two art canvases in the same size as my prints (24" x 36") at my local Micheal's for $18 each after using a coupon.  Micheal's always has coupons; I never buy anything there without using a sale and/or coupon.

3.  Using a pencil, sketch the initial you'd like on your canvas.  I drew the initials in the same font that was used on that print, but you can use any font you'd like.

4.  Using your spray adhesive, attach the print to the canvas.  Make sure to read the directions on your specific brand of spray adhesive.  You may want to put down some newspaper or other covering on your surface to avoid making a mess.  Since the prints are so large, this needs to be done in steps or else you'll end up with lots of bumps and bubbles.  Spray the spray adhesive at the top of the canvas and attach the top of your print to it.  Using your hands, make sure to quickly smooth out any bumps or bubbles.

Spray more adhesive below your now affixed part and keep following the same procedure until the print is completely attached to the canvas.

5.  Mod Podge the entire print on the canvas.  This gives it a more artistic look than just using the spray adhesive.  I watered how my mod podge slightly to make it most spreadable and added food coloring to give it some color.  I chose colors that matched the bedspread in the bedroom.  Adding food coloring is completely optional, but if you choose to do it make sure you mix enough mod podge to cover the entire canvas.  It is very difficult to get the same color if you have to mix more.  Let the mod podge dry completely before moving forward.  You can use a blow dryer to speed up the process.  My paper got a little bit bumpy during this step (as you can see), but once the mod podge had completely dried the bumps went away.

6.   Using black acrylic paint, paint the initial you sketched in Step 3.  Keep lots of paint on your brush; this will enable you to make smoother lines.  This size of paint brush you should use depends on how large you made the letter.  I outlined the letter first and then painted the inside.  I like painting the letter on because it gives this piece of artwork more of a 3D look.  Let the paint dry completely.

7.  Attach picture hanging hardware to the back of your canvas.  I used saw tooth hangers.  However, since this project is so light weight, pretty much any hardware will work.  Hang your piece and enjoy!

Other ideas for this project:
  • Create "monogram" canvases.  Make 3 canvases, 2 smaller and 1 larger.  Place last initial on larger canvas.  For a single person or child, put your first and middle initial on the smaller canvases.  For couples, place one of your initials on each of the smaller canvases.
  • Create wedding vow canvases.  Using two of the same size canvases, use your wedding vows as the texts.  Then, instead of initials, paint "his and hers", "his and his, or "hers and hers" depending on your coupling.

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