Aunt Shirley’s wall art project







While Aunt Shirley and I were shopping for her new living furniture, she hoped she could find a painting to hang over the sofa.  The wall art in the furniture store sold for $500 – a bit much.  But while we were looking, she noticed a beautiful picture of an autumn scene as the desktop on a nearby PC.   “That would look great over the sofa,” she said.  And that got my juices going.


We made our own wall art project (pictured above) and you can too following these steps.


Use Google or Yahoo to find an image.  Enter a search term, e.g. autumn, click the image link, and then click the Search button.  On the results page, select Wallpaper or Large to make sure your results point to suitably sized images.  Here’s the image we selected.



It's dimensions were 1600 x 1200 pixels.  We wanted an image that was wide and not so tall, so I removed the top quarter. Using the program IrfanView, I literally cropped off the top 400 pixels.  (IrfanView is a fantastic utility.  Get your own copy here.)



I then divided the image into 12 segments (400 x 300), making 3 rows and 4 columns as shown below.



I wanted to print each segment as an 8 x 10 inch picture.  So, I had to expand the segments from 400 x 300 pixels to 8 x 10 inches.  In order to do that proportionately, there were two options.

OPTION A: expanding the width to 10 inches makes the height to 7.5 inches. 
OPTION B: expanding the height to 8 inches makes the width 10.67 inches. 

If I used OPTION B, I’d have to trim off 0.67 inches from the width.  If I used OPTION A, I simply had to add a 0.25 inch (18 pixels) black border to the top and bottom edge.  For example, the segment in the top left corner was modified as follows.



Nearly, done.  Now go to the Dollar Store and buy 12 black frames.  Then, print the twelve segments on photo quality paper – REMEMBER to first set your printer to high photo quality.  Then, trim the printed photos to fit their 8 x 10 frames and stuff ‘em in.


Finally, here’s how I opted to hang them on the wall.  The wall surface was paint over drywall.  Hanging them using standard frame wire and nails in the wall just wouldn’t do.  This project requires that the segments fit flush to the wall.  The good news is that the frames are very lightweight.  So my solution was foam-mounting tape, by Scotch.  Be advised, this tape comes in two strengths – permanent and nearly permanent.  I selected the “nearly permanent” to ensure that the tape could be removed even though removing it is hard work and takes a while, at least it can be done without damaging the wall.





=== Improvements I’ll use the next time I try this


When cutting the whole photo into segments, omit a space between the segments equal to the width of the two adjoining picture frames.


After accounting for the width of the frame, crop the original photo to be a multiple of an 8 x 10 photo.  That way the smaller segments will automatically be expandable to an 8 x 10 size with the aspect ratio being maintained.


After printing the photos, let them dry for at least four hours before putting them in the frames.  If the photo print is the least bit wet when it touches the glass, it will stick and make a mess.


Consider mounting the frames on a sturdy sheet of plywood so the artwork becomes a single unit that can be hung with conventional picture hanging wire and nails.  This allows it to be relocated without the hassle of getting the tape off the wall.


I neglected to explain how I dropped Aunt Shirley’s “Peasant Girl” photo into the scene.  Well, that’ll have to wait for another day when I document all my tricks using nothing but Microsoft ® Paint – that’s the free imaging program that comes with MS-Windows.


Copyright © Yale Schwartz, 2009




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