DIY: Inexpensive custom wall art

Happy Friday everyone!

When we first moved into our new apartment, I couldn’t wait to decorate and get things up on the walls. But I had three requirements. 1. The wall art had to feel like us. 2. It couldn’t make too much of a mess with the walls (big nail holes etc.) and 3. It had to be cheap.

I am a huge fan of the popular DIY blog Young House Love and I’ve caught myself drooling over their hallway of frames. But since there’s no way I can afford that many frames or that many holes in my rental-walls, I dreamed up alternatives.

And this is what I came up with.

This is a work-in-progress view of our art wall. Eventually we’d like it to cover the whole area where our couch is. (Oh and are you eyeing our cool coffee table? That guy is my biggest DIY ever, as soon as I’m done touching it up, you can bet I’ll be sharing the project with you.)

When I decided to do this art wall, I planned by cutting out newspaper pages that were the sizes of the pictures and arranged them on the floor in a way that seemed to make sense (varying sizes, styles etc.). Then I put those on the wall.

The art is hung with bulldog art clips. I got mine from the UW bookstore for 30 cents each. (Bonus: I used my Husky rewards and didn’t actually pay anything for them!) I just put them up with a small flat, white thumbtack.

Some things are easier to hang than others, the lightweight paper hung just fine. But a painting on thick canvas curled like this when I clipped it up.

To remedy that I just added some scotch tape to the edges and then it was flat against the wall and no one was the wiser.

My favorite part about the wall is how personal all the art is. Like this painting my mom got me for my birthday while we were in Paris.

Or this picture we had drawn at the U-District Street Fair.

I think my favorite one is this one from our artist friend Tiffany. (Buy her amazing stuff here.)

And some of it is homemade, like this IKEA fabric that I glued to card-stock.

Or this one, inspired by this Young House Love post.

Most of the rest are free printables that I found around the internet. This is a great place to find free art, and searching on Pinterest is almost always successful.

I love our art wall and I can’t wait to see what it looks like as we find more and more things to add to it.

Budget breakdown:

Bulldog clips: 11 x .30 = $3.30 (but free for me with my Husky card)

Printed art: $6.50 from FedEx Office (You could do yours for cheaper using these services.)

All other materials were things that I already had.

Total = $9.80, not bad for a wall full of art

What is your favorite way to inexpensively decorate your walls? Let me know in the comments.

Inexpensive art printing on the UW campus

For DIYers, finding inexpensive resources is essential.

There are so many places around campus to print. But if you’re looking to print art and not a term paper, the School of Art (SoA) lab on the UW campus has high quality equipment available to students.

Mark Rector oversees the SoA lab, located in the Art building, room 229.

“We have color laser which is standard to most labs on campus,” he said. “We also have eight large high-end workroom class inkjet printers for different paper types and sizes. And then we have five large format plotters, also for different paper types.”

There is custom sizing available. Their largest plotter prints 44 inches wide and can print eight to 10 feet long. Rector said the standard plot side is four by five feet.

Any printing done on the small printers is paid via Husky card, just like all other printing locations on campus. There are two payment systems to print on the large scale plotter prints. You can deposit money at Schmitz hall to the Art Lab fees account and bring the receipt back to the lab. Or you can pay using paypal on their website, but that way has additional costs to cover paypal fees, Rector said.

The SoA lab is some of the inexpensive printing on campus and cheaper than any print shop on the Ave by a long shot, he said.

“It’s all cost,” he said. “It’s not profit centered or anything like that, so it’s cheaper for students to print.”

Rector doesn’t advertise the print shop because he doesn’t want his team to be overwhelmed by the demand. Art students do have priority in the lab, especially when they have projects due. Students work in the labs, so there is always someone on-site to  answer questions.

The lab is open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday – Thursday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday – Sunday.

Do you have a favorite place to print art?

Tune in tomorrow to find out what I’ve done with inexpensive art prints to make super cheap wall art.