One of my “problems” in home decor has been wall art. Sometimes size matters, and I think art is one of the places where it definitely does. Having a couple tiny framed photos, or a small painting above a couch looks a bit silly. And while you can group a bunch of them into a photo-wall type arrangement, sometimes you want IMPACT that those just don’t ever seem to carry.
So I had been looking into getting a large print made and custom framed. At Frames By Mail the process is simple and the prices are reasonable compared to other similar services. The problem is that for an “impact-sized” piece of art, even with a simple frame, I was looking at spending about $200. And since I really wanted a rug and some new throw pillows for the living room too, um…. $200 wasn’t in the budget just for one piece of art.
Enter: The alternative. Which hopefully you’ll find useful too.
Start on Flickr.com and search around for an image you like. Make sure that the Creative Commons license is there allowing you to use it for your personal enjoyment by doing an advanced search. You can use search terms like colors (I wanted something orange), “landscape,” “flowers,” “birds,” “sunset,” whatever you’re looking for.
Once you find a picture you like, click on “All sizes” right above it in flickr and download the original file. Don’t order a print yet though, because you don’t know what size you’ll need until you find an appropriate frame!
Next, go to discount type stores like Big Lots!, Homegoods, Ross, etc. These places usually have home decor sections with relatively inexpensive items. Among those items are often Large Ugly “Artwork” pieces. Examine these… if you find one from which you can remove the “art” (some of them, you really can’t. And some of them don’t even have glass) and whose frame you like the shape and size of, buy it!
We found ours at Big Lots! and took it home for $30.
Now that you know what size you’re dealing with, you may need to crop your saved photo to the required dimensions. THEN you can order it. You can use whcc.com if you have an account there, but it was simpler for me to order from Frames By Mail and only cost a couple dollars more, so that’s what I did. I think it cost about $50 for the print, including shipping.
While you’re waiting for it to come in the mail (it will take about a week or so), get your frame ready. We decided to just paint ours black. The ugly wood looked nicer in the store compared to the other junky frames, but when we got it home it looked Tacky with a capital T. So we bought a can of spray primer ($4) and a can of black semi-gloss paint ($4).
Remove the “art” and the glass, and put the glass somewhere safe. Also, clean both sides and make sure there are no streaks or fingerprints. You might wait to clean it right before you put everything together though.
As far as this incredible piece of art goes? Recycling bin!
My husband did the painting so that I wouldn’t be out there sucking up fumes into our fetus. Very sweet of him! First he propped the frame up on a box like this, so that he could get around all the edges really easily.
Then a coat of primer, which didn’t take very long to dry…
And a coat of paint. Which needed a little touching up after it dried, but not much.
… and we had a decent-looking large black frame! $38 total. Now, sometimes Michael’s or other stores have good sales on their framing departments, and it’s always worth a look. In our case though, this frame was bigger than most of the ones they have pre-made there, and also a lot cheaper.
When our pretty orange picture arrived in the mail, we slapped it in that sucker and hung it up.
And we are very happy with the impact it makes in the room.
Keep an eye out for more “impact” in this room though… we’re not finished!