Monday, February 11, 2013

Super Cheap DIY Pop Art

Our office is a wreck, and it's time to give it some attention! So this weekend, I whipped up a cheap art project (totaling about $25.00) to fill one huge wall. The possibilities are endless with this project! Enjoy!


  • 1 Large sheet of insulation foam (Can be found at Lowe's or Home Depot)
  • Mod Podge
  • Spray adhesive (optional)
  • Acrylic paint and paint brushes
  • Engineering prints from Staples (or other printing center)
You're going to want a background of some sort for your art. Thanks to Pinterest for the idea of making large (cheap) B&W prints at Staples! I uploaded 3 images to their print center website and placed my order. They emailed me when they were ready and I picked them up/paid in-store.

The images I used were 2 scanned pages from a Spanish-English dictionary and a scanned page from a 1993 Wall Street Journal. (Why do we have a Wall Street Journal from 1993, you ask? BECAUSE I WAS ON THE COVER, that's why. But I used the business section because it was more office-y.)

I saved them as PDF and sized them in photoshop to be 24 inches x 36 inches (the size of print I was ordering.) 

1. Cut your insulation foam to size.

I got an 8ft x 4ft sheet of insulating foam from Lowe's. It was about 1 inch thick. My options at this particular Lowe's were limited, but I know I've seen insulating foam at Home Depot that wasn't as thick (and therefore cheaper.) My sheet was $13.00, but I only used half of it.

The other cool thing is they cut it for me at Lowe's on their giant saw. It made the cuts really smooth, and I could fit it in the car. But I did have to cut it more when I got home, so I just used a T-ruler (is that the technical name?) and a non-serrated steak knife.

This is the hardest step, because you want to get the cut as straight as possible. The foam could break in a weird way, and then your edges aren't as smooth. So I scored the foam several times and got about half-way through the thickness of the foam, then applied pressure along the score line using the edge of our kitchen table.

2. Use spray adhesive or Mod Podge to attach the print to the insulating foam. I made sure the printed side of the foam was face down, just in case the print wasn't thick enough to hide a big blue "LOWE'S" logo.
Velociraptor hand

Cons of using spray adhesive: Aerosol sprays tend to make the foam disintegrate. There were a couple of little divots in my foam, but I side-stepped this by making sure I kept my spray adhesive about a foot away from the foam. It was also very fume-y, but didn't work as well outside because it was cold. So, Mod Podge might be the way to go.

Cons of using Mod Podge to attach the print: Your print will wrinkle up a little when you use the Mod Podge, but if you're careful, you can just smooth it out.

A couple of the prints after mounting. My prints were slightly larger than the foam, so I had to trim it off. You could also wrap it around the edges of the foam, which would make a nice canvas look. I just didn't have enough width to do that.

3. Sketch your art out with a pencil, then fill in with acrylic paint.

4. Finish the art off by applying a layer of Mod Podge all over the top and sides.

To hang, I used 3M command strips. This art is like less than 1 lb each, so they're pretty secure up there!

So I basically got 3 2ft x 3ft pieces of art for under $25.00. Total time spent making it was maybe 2 hours. MAYBE.

I love this idea because it's cheap, and easily customizable. You can scan and upload ANYTHING for your prints, and then paint right over it. I'm thinking a giant B&W pic of a dog's face with a wig or sunglasses painted on it could be kind of cute...

Creating with the Stars
I entered this craft in a contest! 

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