February 18, 2012

Make a "Painting" From a Print

Want a change of scenery over your mantle or other area of your home but don't have the budget to invest in a new painting?  
Here's how you can make a faux painting by using an art poster/print.

Select a print that  fits your size requirements.
This poster/print came from Hobby Lobby.  It is about the size I needed to go in an existing
frame that I had.  I had to cut it down some to fit in the frame. Any text will also need to be cut
off to make it look like a painting so keep that in mind when selecting a size of print.

It also helps to "fool the eye" if the print has
a painterly look to it with visible brush strokes.

Cut a piece of foam core board to fit snugly inside the frame.
Cut the print to be the same size as the foam core.
Attach the print to the foam core with spray adhesive.
When that is dry, spray the print with a clear acrylic sealer.
Using spray adhesive keeps the print from getting wrinkles and bumps that regular
glue would produce. Spray adhesive can be a mess...I always do it outside. 
Wait for a low humidity day to do this step.
The sealer also helps to keep the print from wrinkling when the gel medium  is applied.

When the sealer is dry, apply the gel matt medium
(found in the artist section of craft stores or in art stores).

Put the medium on in the same direction that the brush strokes on your print are going.  If your print does not have a brush-stroke look, apply the medium as if you were painting the objects on the print, following the shape of the object with the brush to create stroke looks.

You can apply the matt medium with a brush or a pallette knife.
A pallette knife is also in the artist section of craft stores.  This one is just plastic.  It came in
a pack of about 4 different sizes for $3.  I felt very "artsy" using it.  It gives a different look than
brush strokes. I think the artist of the print used a pallette knife to paint some portions of the original.

You can build up layers of the medium, letting it dry between coats.

It's a personal preference how much/how thick you want the medium to be. 
 Even though I was using the heavy gel medium, it took several coats to get as much 
dimension as I wanted on the print. I have seen some prints in stores with the medium applied
 too thick (for my taste) and in a haphazard  brush stroke manner that did not look real at all.

You could apply the medium heavier than this if you like.  The piece does not scream "look at
my brush strokes!" when you come in the room but up close it does look and even feel like
a real painting. 

The "painting's" birch trunks go with the Winter White Decorating look that I have in my living room now. The green
of the background goes well with my wall color.

The birch trees in my area are mostly "River Birch" and
not as large as the ones in the "painting" but I
gathered some fallen branches and bark from our nearby
birches to add to the white urns on the mantle.

After the visual overload of Christmas,
I like to see the spare-ness of branches during
the rest of Winter.  Here are a few photos I have
taken recently of the beauty of branches.


...and moonrise.

The frame that they birches are in was once brown and smaller in width. It was on a (real) painting but it looked drab. 
To brighten and widen it, I painted it a couple of shades of white and added some moulding to it.
The brown portion is the original frame.  I cut the white moulding with a hand saw and
used construction glue to join the miter cuts together to make a larger frame.
Then the larger frame was glued onto the back of the brown frame.

The arrows point to the joint between
the old and new parts of the frame.

Wood putty and paint can cover a multitude of sins.


  1. Good job, I like the print you chose. I agree after Christmas I almost want a bare look too.

  2. That is beautiful! I love the colors and the texture.

  3. That looks really great! Thanks for sharing the how-to~ xo Diana

  4. Absolutely beautiful!! LOVE the look you created on your mantel!

  5. Very cool idea~ I love it! Have a great weekend.
    XO Cindy

  6. This was so interesting ... I've transferred prints on to canvas before, but this seems so much easier. Great job, and great tutorial!

  7. You chose a wonderful print for this project! It is very "painterly" indeed! Thanks you for sharing your project and your beautiful photography at Potpourri Friday!

  8. I was skeptical at first until I read your whole post. Now I think this is fantastic and it looks great! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Very clever,

    It looks really good.

    I will have to look at some more of your creations.


  10. Your "painting" looks so real. I love this idea!

  11. It turned out BEAUTIFUL!!! XO, Aimee

  12. wow! love it!

    thanks for linking up to Make it monday! Just shared it on the Brassy Apple FB page!

  13. Love this idea and certainly going to use it. The birch tree painting/print came out gorgeous.

  14. What an incredibly unique idea!! I have never seen that done. I love the results. The birch trees are beautiful!!

  15. Such a smart idea! I can't wait to give this a try. What an inexpensive way to create art.

  16. Wow! That was fantastic! What a nifty idea, I'm so glad I dropped by! I also share your love of bare winter branches against the sky - lovely!

  17. You are a genius! I am so doing this, I loved the idea for making the frame nicer too.

  18. I love the way you "fixed" this print. It looks gorgeous above your fireplace. Thanks for your sweet comment on my blog. Following you back!

  19. hi Miss Kitty ... love this picture. Thanks for the tutorial, I would love to try that.
    Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a nice comment.
    Audrey z. Timeless Treasures

  20. That is the coolest thing ever! I love how it turned out. I've always wanted to try this, either from a picture or a print. Thanks for sharing!

  21. It looks great! Nice tutorial, Thanks!

  22. Wonderful idea! I just pinned this. Thanks for the inspiration.


  23. What a wonderful idea! The print you chose goes so nicely in your space.

  24. What a wonderful idea!! This is one project I'm definitely going to try! I'm thrilled to have found your blog & just became your newest follower!

  25. Genius!! Fab idea. Thanks for sharing.

  26. This is brilliant and exactly what I needed. I'm hoping to put up some faux Victorian oil paintings in Hubby's Steampunk Study and this may be a way of making them look less 'faux'. Thank you, thank you! (The idea for enlarging the picture frame is pretty amazing, too.)

  27. OMG ... Brilliant. an oil painting for less!

  28. I just saw a pic of yours on Facebook, so had to come over and take a look at your blog. Im enjoying it so that I've just become a follower. Please come visit me at PICKINandPAINTIN.blogspot and maybe you'll follow back. THANKS.

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  30. How have you dealt with any potential bubbling or peeling? I usually just get the picture printed straight to the foam core. There are a lot of service, I use this one. Basically, rather than having to mount it yourself you can just get the print directly and not have to worry about peeling or anything!

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  32. I know I'm late to this party ... but what a genius idea! I was admiring your painting in another post and noticed the sidebar link. Love it!

    :) Linda

  33. Well, now I feel dumb. I asked in an earlier comment today if you had painted the painting above your mantle. Now I've gone through some of your blog today off and on, and just seen this post. Now I have my answer. Very neat trick that you did painting on the poster to make it all "your own". I never would have thought of that.

  34. I found this a couple of years after you posted it! The hard part was the gluing. I ended up using those butterfly clips you use in an office to attach the bottom part of the poster to the foam board after I got it line up prior to gluing, folded over the poster (pulled it back), applied the adhesive and then rolled the top 3/4 of the poster over it, rubbing out any bubbles. Then I unfastened the clips at the bottom, lifted the bottom portion of the poster, applied adhesive to the bottom 1/4 of the foam board and pressed the bottom of the poster on to it. I am a horrible painter, so after I applied the matte gel, I just wadded up a light weight plastic bag and dabbed it all over. It didn't give me the brush strokes, but it did provide a nice texture. I hopeless as a painter.

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  36. Quick question for you, Do you know how to approach turning a print into a cracked/crazed effect old painting? I have a cool print of Marie Antoinette that I want to do this to. I'd like to make it look like something old hanging in an art gallery!

    Love what you did to the tree print by the way!


  37. Hello! I am in the middle of recreating this beautiful project, but there are a LOT of acrylic gel options...would you please share the brand of the one you used? it seems they are not all created equal :) thanks!!

  38. Nice Blog, thanks for sharing that’s awesome
    Canvas Prints

  39. What a fabulous idea to create beautiful large-scale art inexpensively! You are so smart to think of this technique.

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  54. Wow, that does not even look like the same vanity !! Very pretty !!! I had never heard of chalk paint before you posted on it, will have to check it out !!
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