While pulling together the pieces I will be using for an upcoming gallery wall project, I noticed a decided lack of framed family photos. I wanted to think of a way to incorporate some pics without spending a ton of money on framing and printing. Here is the project I came up with.
- Wooden plaques from Hobby Lobby (I chose square ones, which were $1.99 a piece)
- Two colors of craft paint, one light and one dark (feel free to use whatever paint you have on hand – wall paint is fine too)
- Sponge brush
- Sander or sand paper
- Mod Podge
- Printed photos
Step 1: Print your photos. I chose a few Instagram photos that I had on my camera. There are lots of companies now that will print your Instagram or Hipstamatic photos and send them to you, but I just put the ones I wanted to used on a jump drive and headed over to Walgreens. The borders didn’t turn out just right, but it took 30 minutes and cost me less than a dollar for three prints. You can just trim off the excess white space with scissors or an x-acto knife.
Step 2: The plaques I bought at Hobby Lobby were pretty rough, so I sanded them with my Mouse Sander. If you don’t have a sander, a piece of sand paper and a little elbow grease will do the trick. However, if you are crafty at all, I highly recommend getting one of these. I use it all the time, for all kinds of projects.
Step 3: Decide what color you want your completed plaque to be. Once you know that, paint a first coat in the OPPOSITE color. This will be your accent color after you distress it. If you want your finished product to be dark with the light color peeking through, start with the light color. For the record, I did it both ways, but I liked the dark color on top much better. Paint just one coat of the accent color. Let them dry completely (it won’t take long).
OPTIONAL Step 4: I had some letter stickers left over from a previous project, so I wrote “jack” on one of the plaques. I placed the picture on the plaque first to determine placement of the letters (do not adhere the picture yet).
Step 5: Paint the plaque again in the opposite color. This will be the final color of your plaque. If you’re doing dark over light, 2 coats should suffice. Light over dark took about 5 coats to get good coverage. Let them dry completely. I left them overnight, but a few hours should suffice.
Step 6: If you used stickers, remove them now.
Step 7: Using your sander or sandpaper, go over just the edges and corners. The accent color underneath will show through.
Step 8: Using a barely damp paper towel, clean off the dust.
Step 9: Determine exactly where you would like your photo. I just eyeballed it, but feel free to measure. Apply a thin coat of Mod Podge to the back of the photo, being sure to get all of the edges. Place your photo and use your fingers to smooth out any bubbles. Give it a few minutes to dry.
OPTIONAL Step 10: On the light colored plaque, I added the words “California 2012″ using a Sharpie. I let it dry a bit, then continued to the next step.
Step 11: Apply a thin coat of Mod Podge over the entire surface of the plaque, including the edges. Once it is dry, do a second coat going the opposite direction. In the case of the picture below, I did the first coat horizontally, and the second coat vertically.
Step 12: Let Dry!
And here is how they turned out! Like I said earlier, I like the dark color over the light color best. I really liked the way the distressing turned out on those.
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