October 14, 2013

Create Seasonal Artwork

You can create artwork for your home that is so easy and
inexpensive that you can make enough art to be able change
 it out with each new season.  You will be applying artists
medium over prints to give the print the look of a hand-
painted masterpiece.

Here are some other art prints that I have used this same
technique with:

It has been fun to be able to change out the artwork over
the mantle with the changing seasons just by popping
a new enhanced art print into the frame.

The print (that I found in a clearance bin at a craft store
that I thought would look nice for Autumn in the living
room) was larger than the frame I had been using.

The dining room has a larger frame so it got recruited to
come into the living room to hold the bigger Autumn print.

The shell print (which was treated to a similar enhancement)
has been used for the past two summers in the dining room. 
It is a vertical print and the Autumn print is
 horizontal but the frame will still work.

The Autumn print is of a painting by Marla Baggetta called
"Shadow Color II".  The colored part of the print is the
exact size of the opening of the larger frame.

When you are selecting a print to use in this type project,
make sure that you will be able to cut off any white part of
the print (like the writing, etc.) and it still fill the open area
of the frame.   Also, I like to look for a print that has obvious
brush strokes to further the illusion that it is hand-painted.

It is best to mount your print onto sturdy foam core.
I am very cheap, however, and have found that if I buy a
less expensive cardboard tri-fold presentation board
and tape the sides back, it makes an adequate base
for the print for the large frame.

You don't have to use this technique on large prints only.
If you use a smaller print, just cut the foam core to fit your print.

Do this next step of the project outside.  Preferably when it
is dry and not windy.  You will need a SPRAY adhesive to
mount the print onto the board.  You don't want to get the
print too wet with a normal glue which might cause the
print to buckle or wrinkle.

I am usually a lone-wolf crafter but this part of the project
is much easier with two folks.  Spray the board very well (but
not too "wet") with the spray adhesive.

Start lowering one edge or point of the print to be lined up
with the edge of the board (person #1) while the remainder
of the print is being held off the board (by person #2).

Smooth the print as it is lowered more onto the board
so that you will have as few wrinkles as possible.
It is quite difficult to pull the print off of the board
after it touches down and is smoothed.

Even with two folks, we did not get it perfect.
We have a white edge on two sides...luckily they will not
show after the print is in the frame. 

As quickly as possible smooth, smooth, smooth,
press, press, press the print down all over the
board so you will not have bubbles or wrinkles.

After that has dried a few minutes, spray the first coat of a
clear spray sealer from the craft store.  One that says it is
OK for paper projects is best.  Three light coats of the sealer
(drying between coats) is best.  With this product,
 you are protecting the print from
 getting too wet from the artist gel medium.

Hope you do a better job than WE did smoothing the print out
and making sure it was stuck well all over to the board.
I see lots of adhesion imperfections in the photo above
 showing the print after it is sealed (but actually they
 don't show  up much in the finished piece).

Then comes the fun part...painting the gel medium on!

You can use a brush or palette knife to apply the gel.
This gel is the "matte super heavy gel" from the art section
 of Hobby  Lobby.  It is usually not on sale but you can
 use a 40% coupon on it.  I think that Michael's carries
 this too. The gel, spray adhesive and spray sealer will
 do at least three large art prints (or if you only do one
 print,  you can  use the products for other projects).

Brush the gel on in the same direction that the original
brush strokes go.  Do the background first.

It looks like you are ruining the print with the gel but
the gel dries clear.

For the first go-round I used the brush to apply the gel to
the top part of the print and the palette knives to apply the
gel to the bottom part.

When the first coat had dried, the pallete knives part did
not show as much "strok-i-ness" so I added some more
gel with the brush.  Really, you could skip the palette knives
 if you don't have any and don't want to buy them.  

This looks more like a snowy winter
scene than a Autumn scene before the gel dries.

OK, well I got the gel a tad too thick in a couple of places.
After the gel had dried completely, I went back and added a
 teeny bit of color to the peaks of dried gel that were transparent.

And after the paint was dry, I added a little more gel to make
the paint have the same sheen as the rest of the gelled print.

If you are concerned about getting the gel too thick,
 you can add thinner layers until you get
the "brush strok-i-ness" that you like.

I had wanted to get the "painting" hung before out-of-town
company came but that did not happen.  It just kind of got
leaned up against the brick for the visit.

While the "painting" was leaning, I realized that the
 frame looked a little too white to hold the Autumn scene.
It got a mix of dark wax (Annie Sloan) and clear wax
 (Johnson's from the grocery store) added to age it a little.
(Ummm...I don't advise painting/waxing the frame while the print is IN it...I made some boo-boos).

I also realized that I had "missed" a few spots with the gel.
After several trips to the home improvement store, I had
finally got the "painting" up (and did NOT want to take it
down) so I fine-tuned the "painting" on a ladder.

The brush strokes are even more obvious when
you see the artwork from the side with a light on it.

It's hard to see the brush strokes in these photos but
in person the effect is pretty remarkable. 

In the past, I have had larger arrangements on the side of
the artwork but with this frame being bigger, the simple
metal lanterns seemed like enough.  I might try some
deer antlers under the "painting"...what do you think? 

The colors in the print seem to even pull out the oranges
and greens in the oriental rug under the coffee table.

Croton plants seem like the perfect thing to
decorate this time of year with their orange, yellow
and green leaves.  Some faux Autumn leaves were
coiled around the plant to fill in the blank spaces.

So one less thing to do next Autumn to decorate since I
have this "masterpiece" ready to go again...unless of
course, I decide to make another print into a masterpiece.
More art prints " waiting in the wings" to become faux paintings

I am sharing this post at
Inspire Me Tuesday @ A Stroll Thru Life
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday @ Coastal Charm
Tutorials, Tips and Tidbits @ StoneGable
Be Inspired @ Common Ground


  1. just really incredible...I remember my mother doing and this and think I will let my art kids have a free day of it!

  2. That is a great tutorial. Wonderful job and it is so "rich" looking now. I love it! xo Diana

  3. Great tutorial! All your prints turned out AMAZING!!

  4. What an awesome tutorial! Thank you so much for following me on my blog! I am now your newest follower =) Have a wonderful week!

  5. This is a wonderful tutorial! It truly looks like an expensive painting and is beautiful over your fireplace mantel. Your entire room is lovely.

  6. This is such a great idea! Thank you for the tutorial! Your home is so lovely! Thank you so much for stopping by my Idea House post!

  7. This looks great-good job. I like the darkened frame too.

  8. Beautiful room and that painting is amazing. Thanks tons for linking to Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

  9. Thank you SO MUCH for posting this tutorial. I saw an oil painting in a picture of a house in our Sunday paper and I loved it so much, I emailed the reporter who wrote the feature to see if I could find where to purchase a similar one. The owner said that it was a copy of a famous artwork (The Fruit Seller by Vincenzo Campi). If you click through, you can see it leaning against her stove http://www.mysanantonio.com/food/article/Empty-nesters-find-fulfillment-in-food-4885842.php Anyway, I am going to make mine using your technique. Yay!!!The only difference is that her painting is actually a pretty rustic interpretation and that is probably more appealing than the museum perfect one- but whatever! I'm so thrilled to get to try your technique! Thanks!

  10. What a great tutorial! I love the way this turned out...it's stunning! I will definitely keep this for future use...I want to try this very soon! Thanks again!

  11. Miss Kitty, it's the middle of December and I went on a holiday home tour today. One of the things I noticed was that nobody was using art w/glass like I have. Actually I've noticed this before but canvases are just so much more expensive. Anyway, while I was touring your projects came to mind and I had to come back and check this out again. Will definitely be trying this at some point. You know, Hobby Lobby always puts prints for 1/2 price so even if I totally mess it up it won't be a huge loss. :) Thanks for your detailed instructions.


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