A simple quick way to get some art on the wall.
Left: Enlarged print made from a journal sketch of a bantam which I turned into a poster. (Oh, yeah, and my Learning Clock! Don't you just love analog?) Click on the image and view an enlargement.
As readers know, I've been tidying things up and that means filing things away. Well I found a stack of prints I'd made of journal sketches. I scan journal pages to post on my website or blog, to make digital prints for sale, and also to enlarge (or reduce and crop) for use as reference material for paintings.
Sometimes my favorite drawings and paintings are in my journals and I don't get to see them because I am always working in the current journal. I'd love to have some of these images up on the wall to cheer me, or remind me to work harder—paint more.
Recently I've been using a lot of Command Strips from 3M. If you haven't tried this family of products I encourage you to do so. You can put hooks up all over your living space, simply, with no nails. And these strips really do hold things. I've got my rulers hanging on the wall over my cutting table now. I've got my bread peel hanging in the kitchen. I don't have to get out any power tools or look for studs to hammer nails into.
Seeing this batch of prints (which are on quality paper with archival inks), at the same time I was using the Command Strips made me think about how I could use the prints without frames—put some up on a temporary basis (or longer if I desired).
Here's my suggestion, and it's mighty fun.
Run the print through a Xyron, or apply Studio Tac, or PMA (Positionable Mounting Adhesive—also from 3M) to the back. Apply the print to a piece of archival foam core board. (I got mine at Wet Paint and I use it to back my matboards when I'm framing my watercolors.)
Right: Small chicken print which I
turned into a poster. With the Command Strip product I can position art anywhere, whether or not there is a stud present. You can fill up those pesky gaps on your "gallery" wall. (My brother gave me that Penguin sign—which I finally was able to hang up with a Command Strip HOOK!) Click on the image and view an enlargement.
Trim the print once it has been burnished down into place on the foam core board. (Don't trim before hand because you will have sticky Xyron edges and also it's just simpler this way to get a crisper result.)
Use the Command Strips that are simply strips—no hooks. You'll find them wherever the Command products are sold. They look like strips of Velcro. (They actually work like Velcro too, with one piece of each strip on your poster back and one on the wall.)
Attach the strip to the center back of your image, about 1 inch down from the top. For wider images you'll need to use multiple strips perhaps. Follow attachment instructions and attach to the wall.
Bingo, instant mounted poster dressing up your wall. They look crisp and happy, and are at home with painted canvases, canvas board, and framed works as well.
Let's say you don't have any 3M Command Strips, can't find them, or have a "poster" you've just made with the foam core board that you want to hang on a non-flat place. Something like a CD tower perhaps, which is all shelves of bent wire.
To create a "wire" at the back of your poster take a bit of gummed linen tape and sew the end of a short piece of Irish Waxed Linen Thread through the middle of the tape. Knot the end of the thread. (As shown at A. in the photo.) Allow sufficient length for slight curving of the thread (B.) and sew the other end of your thread through another piece of gummed tape.
Now you can hang your poster on a nail, a hook, or you can use two small lengths of wire to wrap around the wire shelving and catch the thread, to hold the piece even against the shelving.
Tip: you can also use strong paper (long-fiber Japanese papers would be a good choice), or small rectangles of fabric that you run through the Xyron or use PMA or Studio Tac on).
The great thing about mounting your digital images this way is that they weigh NOTHING. And of course you don't have to spend money and time framing them. And this is so simple and quick, and non-messy (no glue to get over everything or weight and dry) that you'll be enjoying your art in a heartbeat.
There is something very cheery about coming into the studio and seeing some of my journal images up on the wall.
I have a space above the door where the picture hanging rail has not been installed (don't hold your breath—it's a long story) and I thought that I could make a series of these prints to bridge that area.
Left: Remember this happy toucan? I'd printed him out to use on a birthday card for a friend. I printed it too large. Also since I don't sign my journal pages I added a signature digitally and the merging of the layers wasn't set up correctly (you can see a discolored rectangle around my signature). Instead of tossing this print away I now get to enjoy him every day, hanging on my CD rack right near my computer, below my favorite "30-birds" painting, which I kept. (I used the gummed tape and Irish Waxed Linen Thread technique explained above, on the back of this poster so I could attach it to the wire rack.) Click on the image
and view an enlargement.
to Reuse Your Foam Core Board and Your 3M Command Strips
Select images from your journal that look good cropped at the same
size (squares, or rectangles of the same size). Scan your images and
create digital prints. Prepare your prints as described above and hang
as a group. (Remember the grouping can go anywhere with the Command
Strips because you aren't dependent on finding studs to support any
Enjoy your journal work for a month, or two, or a year—then replace all the images in the following way. Take new digital prints sized slightly larger than your backing board and run them through your Xyron (or apply PMA or Studio Tac). (You will need to make sure that after trimming, the main part of the image you wanted is still showing on your foam core board.) Position the image sticky side down on top of the OLD IMAGE. (Make sure both are in the same top-edge orientation so that the Command Strip on the back will still be usable. Your new image will extend past the foam core board on all 4 sides.)
Burnish your image into place (with a protective sheet of paper of course). FLIP the poster so that it is face down on your cutting mat. Use the edges of the foam core board as a guide to trim the image to fit the foam core board—remember your new image's edges are jutting out past the foam core board right now. (I like to position my metal ruler along the edge of the foam core board so that I'm pushing my blade even with that metal edge and not running into the foam core board.)
Apply the completed poster to the wall where the other half of the Command Strip is still in place. Create a whole new grouping. If you replace all of the images at the same time the posters in the group will stay a consistent thickness (all will have the same number of layers) and you'll be able to do this many times with the same Command Strips and foam core board.
Something to keep in mind: Everything we've done so far is archival. We've used an archival print (you don't have to, but I happened to have those on hand), archival foam core board, and archival dry adhesive (either the appropriate Xyron cartridge or the archival PMA or Studio Tac). If you decide you want to frame your piece at a later date you still can do that!
So the next time you have extra or leftover digital prints on hand, or you just want to see some of your journal art up on your wall, give this a shot. I guarantee you'll be smiling. Journal images connect us with the moments of our lives.