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How to Design Your Own Wall Art

Design artsy oversized hangings without paying gallery prices.

Photo: Antonis Achilleos

Stretch and frame fab fabric

Tool Box

FABRIC: Get enough to go over the frame with a 2-inch lip and 20 percent extra to shift the center.

4 FABRIC STRETCHERS: The wood that makes up the frame is available at most hardware stores.

STAPLE GUN: Use to easily fasten fabric to the wood frame.

IRON: Press on the reverse to keep from damaging the cloth.

How To

1. LAY OUT STRETCHERS: Do this on the floor and tap corners together with a rubber hammer.

2. ROLL YOUR FABRIC DESIGN DOWN: Then put the frame on top of it.

3. CUT TO SIZE: Leave enough fabric to staple down to the frame.

4. BEGIN STAPLING: Start in the center on any side and use about 3 staples (2 inches apart) in each direction.

5. PULL THE FABRIC: Make it as taut as you can (ask for help).

6. MOVE TO THE OPPOSITE EDGE: Repeat for all sides.

7. FOLD AT THE CORNERS: Fold the edges and staple one on top of the other. Cut off extra fabric.

Blow Up A Cool Image

How to

1. GROUP OBJECTS TOGETHER: Find them in the same color with interesting forms-for example, a collection of mercury glass candlesticks and containers, or a cluster of white vases. Or, pick items with matching forms but varied colors-a series of stiletto heels perhaps?

2. TAKE A CLOSE-UP PHOTO: Almost any everyday object can look like abstract art when it’s blown up big. Try shooting flowers (pick ones with a simple, sleek form, like African Daisies), to add some natural beauty to a room in a way that looks hip, not schmaltzy. For an extra artsy effect, have a photo printed onto canvas and wrapped around a frame. Shutterfly.com can do it in sizes up to 24” x 36” (for about $125).

3. YOU NEED A MINIMUM RESOLUTION: With 1600 x 1200 pixels (which necessitates a camera that’s at least 2 megapixels), you can have any image blown up to 16” x20” or 20” x 30” at a photo site like KodakGallery.com, or at your local photo printer shop.

4. POP INTO A FRAME: Leave at least a 2-inch border.

Pages Turned To Art

Tool box

- Look for books with pages in standard sized (like 5”x7”, 6”x9”, 8”x10”, and 11”x14”).

- READY-MADE MATS AND FRAMES: (If you find prints you love with nonstandard dimensions, you can have them custom-framed, but that could get expensive).

How to

1. CAREFULLY REMOVE PAGES: Use an old illustrated book and break the spine to ensure as much white space on the inside border of the page as the outside edge.

2. USE AN X-ACTO KNIFE: Slice the page out of the binding. Cut along a ruler to ensure a straight line. Once the page is out of the book, use the X-Acto knife to trim it to the precise size you want.

3. SURROUND EACH PRINT: Use at least 2 inches of matting to make them look special-and bigger if you have a lot of wall to fill. You can make 5”x7” prints become 8”x10” with a mat and frame.

4. DOUBLE MAT: Use a colored mat that peeks out a quarter of an inch from under the inner rim of the top white mat to really impress. The bottom mat should pick up a color from the print (that is, if you have prints of bird eggs with a touch of blue, use a pale blue mat). You can either find an exact color match of a complementary color for the mat. Depending on the size of the art, you can bring it to the frame shop to find the color that suits your taste.

-- The Nest Editors

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