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{DIY tutorials} huge modern canvas alternative {{cincinnati dayton photographer}}

if there is one thing i love as much as creating images with my camera, it’s creating something by hand.  i love to DIY.  i love to see something gorgeous and think, “how can i do that on my own”?  i love how happy a completed project, a completed PIN, makes me.  it’s great to fill your home or wardrobe with things you love, or give a gift or decorate a party, but when it is with things you made yourself, you have extra affection for them.

i’ve been on a roll, getting stuff done in between sessions, and i always think i want to share them with you guys because, if i can do it, YOU CAN do it… it’s just finding the time to post about them.  no more excuses, i’ve got to catch you up on a few things that you should definitely move to the top of your DIY on a rainy day pinterest board.  that’s what mine is titled anyway:)  gone are the days of spending my rainy days just pinning more stuff!

so i think i’ll start with the one that you guys will be most excited about, since, if you are here, you probably have some pictures you are in love with and still need to get off of your cd:)

a sweet client of mine left me an excited voicemail telling me to check out a site i was sure to love. www.photobarn.co

i loved the look, but immediately thought, i can do that on my own.  then i looked at their prices and thought, i have to do that on my own.  immediately.

now, to be fair, a company has to maintain a website, advertising, employees, materials, all sorts of overhead and still turn a profit.  i’m not saying their prices are astronomical unfair, companies charge what they do because they have to, to stay in business.  trust me, i learned this the hard way as a small business owner!  i’m just saying if you neeeeed to have this fabulousness in your home, you TOTALLY can do it on your own if you don’t want to wait on ordering/shipping.  you can have this hanging on your wall tonight!  instant gratification and saving tons of money to put toward your next photo session?  i’m a fan of both.

ok now how?

you need:

a superfavorite image that makes you smile

a big bottle of modge podge

measurements of your space (BIGGER is always better with images. please stop hanging wimpy 8×10 s.  you now have no excuse.  this is a 20×30)

a piece of thin smooth board from lowe’s or the like

a wallpaper roller from there is also handy

and a nice paintbrush if you don’t have one

a “poster print” ordered thru’ snapfish.com, ready in 1hour (yay!) at meijer or your fav local pickup (no shipping $!)

SO. i’m writing this tutorial from here on out, based on a 20×30.  sounds big, but it’s just right if you like the look above.  modern, bold, gorgeous, frameless, edge to edge eye candy.  once you get the hang of it, you can easily do it with other sizes too.  i’m probably going to do some small ones in a collage, like the gorgeous ones designed by pros at canvasondemand.  check out their genius ideas for arranging your own.  a canvas is always in style, but photo to wood is the hot new direction that look is going.  just remember as you go big you need professional high resolution files, not something pulled from your facebook mobile uploads.

i had never gone that big because at $150+ a pop for canvas or wood-mount, it was just too much commitment.  i decided to take my chances with a “poster print” 20×30 because it was less than $20, and i could have it in my hands by the time i got dressed and had the baby loaded into the car etc.  i thought it was risky because we all know posters are wrinkled and creased to death by the time you get them home (i’m looking at you Bieber and “hang in there” kitty falling down a toilet). i decided it was worth a shot and i would handle it with extreme care.  i was THRILLED THRILLED THRILLED when i got to the store and it was a giant photo on real true thick photo paper.  i practically skipped over to lowe’s with it, found the thinnest, smoothest, cheapest board i could find (4footx8foot smooth plywood underlayment, 1/4 inch thick for $12!).  the super friendly guys there cut it for me, to my exact specs for free.  measure your print to make sure it’s a true 20×30. you don’t want over hang, if your scissor skills are like mine.  i had them cut two and have plenty leftover for future projects but if you know how many you need and what dimensions ahead of time, it would be smart to have it all cut at once.  i grabbed a handy smooth hard foam roller from the wallpaper section while i was there.  you could probably use a rolling pin or something if you don’t want to spring for it, but it was worth it to me.

back home, i gave the board a quick spray of white paint, just around the edges.  at 1/4 inch, not much is going to show but here is where you can customize to match your decor.  think spraypaint, acrylic paint or even stain. then i layed out the board, layed the photo on top exactly where i wanted it, had my daughter hold one end in place (had my other daughter grab the baby who was screaming and tugging my pants off me), lifted my end of the photo and poured modge podge onto the wood.  i spread it into a thin but not stingy layer and carefully lowered my end of the photo back down onto it.  still having her hold it in place just in case, i rolled and smoothed out any teeny air bubbles that may have been trapped.  at this point the pic should be secure and in place.  i continued rolling and smoothing probably more than i need to because at this point i could tell i was in love with the look and i wanted this puppy to last, not peel and bubble in a few weeks.  we switched sides and repeated this same process to secure the other half of the photo.  me oh my i am excited!

next- i did a step that turns out to be optional.  i thought i needed to seal the photo with modge podge on top.  this is a VERY scary step because pouring a puddle of white glue on the front of a photo you adore feels so wrong, even when you KNOW it will dry clear.  but trust me. it does dry clear.  promise.  i poured it on and brushed it into a thin coat again.  i used diagonal strokes all in one direction {/}, but you could do cross-hatched for a more canvas effect{#}.  just know that this step will leave your print with a subtle texture.  turned out my guy wasn’t a fan of the texture and so the second time i did this project i tried it without sealing it on the front.  i’m happy to tell you either way works, so you have options people!  just make sure you carefully seal the edges and corners either way with your finger and some modge podge.  also smooth out any drips here while it is still wet.

the images below show the subtle difference.  the first one, modge podge sealed, has a texture that is noticeable from certain angles.  the second one, unsealed, feels and looks like a normal photo. {always choose matte over glossy when you have the choice in photo development!!}  for the record, i love both.  just remember, the beauty of DIY is, it doesn’t need to be perfect.  it’s custom and made with love, so give yourself and break and embrace any imperfections.  with this project, if you aim for the unsealed but get a little messy with the modge podge by mistake, go ahead and seal it after all. no worries, roll with the punches.

now you are to the hardest part- patience.  i noticed my board was a little bowed so i finally made use of the U.S. weekly subscription that magically showed up to my house this year.  {thank you whoever sent that! i love it, just can’t find the time to sit and read them}.  a stack of mags on the center weighed it down flat while it dried. DO NOT DO THIS IF YOU HAVE MODGE PODGE ON THE FRONT! the glue will stick to anything it touches, which is why i lined my work space with junk mail instead of accidentally gluing my project to the table.

if you can let it dry overnight, great.  if not, just wait as long as you can stand it.  finally, hang it in the perfect spot and smile every time you walk by.  i wanted a flush mount so i tried the 3m command poster strips for the first time and they were great!  they are basically non-permanent velcro, come with easy instruction and left no holes in my freshly painted wall.  i can even pop the pics on and off easily if i want to move them around or rotate other images with them:) photobarn has other ideas on how to hang them if you want more options.

the final step is to share the love!  repin or share it on FB.  get your pics off the cd!  help your bestie get her pics off her cd!  no one is more guilty than me.  i hadn’t put up pics of my family for years, since i starting shooting professionally.  brooklynne said to me in march, “mom, spring pictures are tomorrow, can we buy them this time?”  slightly offended i said, “but mommy does your pictures.”  and dead serious she asked, “yeah, but can you actually print those?”  she honestly thought they had to stay in the computer, and look, it only took me 6 months from that slap in the face to get some of my own family pictures done and on the wall.  like i said before, if i did it, you can do it!  happy modge podging!!

{special thanks to sarah babcock of mugshotstudios for doing our family session this year.  i am more in love with these images everyday, which is the whole point of investing in fine photography.  memories are more valuable as time goes on and nothing will ever be the same as it is today}

start crafting, refresh your space, make some gifts, get your hands dirty and contact me if you need need some new pics, or help with a step, or someone to hold your hand or pat you on the back.  i want to see what you do with this!

xo {BD}

{click here to share on FB}{pin it!}{send to a friend}123,101,109,97,105,108,32,109,101,32,116,111,32,115,101,116,32,117,112,32,121,111,117,114,32,111,119,110,32,115,101,115,115,105,111,110,33,125}!noisses nwo ruoy pu tes ot em liame{

Ashley Embleton - I like so many things about this tutorial. It’s doable, well-explained, AND budget friendly.  Wood IS in. I just may have to get my {BD} images off that disk *this* weekend and do some DIY’ing…maybe the hubs will help?! 

Also, BD, has anyone told you–beside being a phenomenally-creative photographer, you can write, lady! Love that you are able to share your creativity through blogs and tutorials. Not all photographers can do that; trust me, as a fellow Word Girl {and teacher}, some people cannot, should not blog. However, your creativity is enhanced through the art of word. Awesome sauce all around. Thx for sharing. 

Megan M - I love this! I did something like this with plaques. I painted them the colors I wanted then modge podged the photos right on top. They are hanging in Parker’s room. I love the idea of making a BIG canvas-like one. I’ll be trying this! Thanks for sharing!

Bridgette - modge podge is the best!!

Chuck Meadors - Love this. Can’t wait to see them. I want one for Christmas or my birthday:-).

BTW, this is my daughter. So proud.

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