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Carey's Office


My daughter-in-law Carey saw this photo on Pinterest (from thought it would be the perfect look for her new office at church. It became our inspiration.

I already had the perfect table to serve as her desk, and I'll tell you more about that in another post. Today I'll focus on the wall of photos. An entire wall of actual photo canvases are quite pricey and out of the question for our budget on this project. So . . . we checked out some DIY options online and settled on a super-economical way to pull off the look. The whole wall needed to cost less than $100.

Step 1: Decide on size of the entire grouping, and choose the size of each photo. 

- Photos need to be high quality in order to make them this large. Most of the photos Carey chose were taken in a photo shoot with a nice camera. (Largest was 5616 x 3744 - 6.8 MB. The smallest was 604 x 403 - 26 KB, and still worked out ok. It had a bit more "blurry, painterly look" to it, though, which I liked)Chloe Heckmantook most of the photos. Aren't they GREAT?!?

- We decided the center photos would be about 24"x36" and the outer squares would be about 24"x24". We used a grid like this and made a mock-up, cropping the photos she chose:

Step 2: Have your photos printed

- At this size, even large photo posters would have been more than our budget would allow, so we decided to give it a try using engineer prints from Staples. You have to be ok with some a bit of a "shabby chic" look - with some lines or streaks - not a "perfect glossy photo." But run a test print to make sure the it's a look you like - and printers can vary, so if it comes out too streaky you could try a different Staples. Also be aware that the paper is quite thin - like regular copy paper.

- The three middle photos were 2'x3' and cost only $3.89 each. A 3'x4' print was $7.79, so I used Photoshop to put two of the 2'x'2' photos into one jpg. (I created an 18"x24" file that was 300dpi so it was in proportion for the 3'x4' print. They may be able to help you with that at Staples, or you might want to just stick to standard sizes) With a $10 off coupon, the prints came to only $22. But be sure to remember that there are other things to purchase to complete your project - and they add up!

*Note: Be sure to make your prints at least an inch larger than your foam board so you can fold it over the top edge.

Step 3: Purchase and prepare mounting materials

- I purchased and sprayed my photos with 2 cans of Design Master Clear Finish - Matte. (Micheals - on both the front and the back - just to protect them a bit and to help the the adhesive not seep through. You could try skipping this step - might turn out fine but I did not want to take any chances. The spray also deepened the color just a tiny bit.

- I purchased Scotch Photo Mount spray adhesive. I've used other spray adhesives in the past, but I whose this one for this project because I didn't want to take a chance on the adhesive discoloring if it seeped through at some point.

*Note: If you do not choose to prime the foam board before applying, be sure to purchase an adhesive that is made for styrofoam - or it will dissolve it!

- I also purchased black Gorilla (Duct) Tape to put around the edges for the "Canvas look"

- We found two 2" thick 4'x8' foam insulation boards at church that had been used for a set in the children's department. That saved us about $27 each. I rolled on a coat of white primer because the paper was so thin I did not want the magenta paint they had used color to bleed through.

- My friend, Kurt used his table saw to cut the foam board for me. We  decided to cut them as 22.5" squares and 22.5"x34.5" rectangles so I had enough wiggle room as I glued them.

Step 4: Mount the photos on foam board

- Make sure the foam board is smaller than the photo so you can fold it over the top

- Lay the photo face down on a clean table top

- Take the foam board outside and spray a 1" line of adhesive along the top on one side only

-Carefully line up the foam board 1/2" away from the edge of the photo

- Lightly fold back the photo to expose the rest of the foam board; spray the rest of the board. (Again, be sure to do that outside, away from anything you do not want to have spray adhesive on!)

- Carefully smooth down the rest of the photo, working from the center out to the edges. You may want to use a hard rubber roller (Micheals - Decoupage roller works well.)

- Then I used a few pieces of double-sided tape along the edges before I folded over the edges. (Like wrapping a present)

-Step 5: Apply tape around the edges

-  I wanted the tape to overlap the folded-over photo right along the top edge, and also wrap around the back edge

- The tape was not quite wide enough so I applied two on each side, starting the lower piece first. I put it about halfway down the side and around to the back. Then I applied the second strip on top carefully laying it right up to the top edge. I found that standing the foam board on one edge near a wall helped me to be able to carefully apply it.

Ready to hang!

Step 5: Hang them on the wall

- I used industrial velcro to hang the photos on the wall. We started with the lowest center photo and worked our way up and out, using the width of a 2" level as our guide between photos.

Note: we marked a center point on the wall between the corner and the bookcase - but we ended up with an optical illusion  - they looked WAY closer to the corner than the bookcase. Sooooo . . . we took them down and redid it just by "eye-balling it." Be sure to test it out before before just assuming that taking measurements will give you the look you want!




About her desk . . . When she showed me her inspiration photo I realized that I had just worked on a table much like the one in the picture. It was still in my studio,  and I was willing to swap it out for a different table. I had painted it a deep blueish teal, so I just dry-brushed the legs a bit to get the greener color she liked.


Someone had donated two wonderful tufted chairs and she loved them but wished the wood was darker. Dry brushed them and rubbed paint off the carvings to highlight them.


I dry-brushed the bookcases (they were blond)

and added some accents.

She found the great lampshade at Target, we added a couple pillows and she was good to go!

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