We’re chugging away on my son’s ‘big boy’ room and finally finished his gallery wall. I’d been hearing whispers of an incredibly inexpensive way to fake a photo wrapped canvas (or large gallery style wall photo) and have been just waiting for the perfect time to experiment to see if it works. And guess what? IT DOES! Large canvas wrapped photos can cost hundreds of dollars, but you can fake it for about $10 or less. Plus, you don’t even have to make yours train themed. Really. You could use, I don’t know, a HUGE family photo instead of train tracks. Mind blown, right? 😉
Now before I begin, I should say that the end result may be all kinds of awesome but it’s temporary. If you have a treasured family photo I’d recommend splurging and going for the real thing (I love using Easy Canvas Prints but there’s lots of places to get gallery wrapped canvases) because they’re priceless. Here’s how we use the real thing in our home, and I’ll tell you what: not only do WE love them, but they always get compliments.
However, I know it’s not something we can always find the extra cash to buy, or perhaps you want several photos or to switch them out every few years. Or, mayyyyyyybe your son wants a train themed room and you don’t want to spend tons of money to do it because he’ll outgrow it (hopefully?) in a year or two. That’s when this easy solution comes into play.
Here’s the secret: Staples makes engineering prints for about $3. YES, $3 FOR A HUGE PHOTO! I got mine on sale but truly they don’t cost more than $5 or so even when not on sale. I ordered two engineering prints online, and they were ready in two days and for just $6 and change.
Engineering prints aren’t perfect, as you can see on the left hand side below. For $3, however, I’m willing to overlook it.
The most expensive part was the foam board; it cost $7 at Staples but you can probably find it cheaper elsewhere. The only other tools you’ll need are spray adhesive (such as this Elmer’s Spray Adhesive) and an X-acto or craft knife. Or boxcutter, if you’re hardcore like that.
Make Fake a Large Gallery Style Canvas Photo Print
Step One: Lay the engineering prints flat overnight to remove any indentations or marks from being rolled.
Step Two: Head outside for this part. Spray the foam board with spray adhesive. Read your particular product’s instructions for the best advice on how to use it, but some recommend spraying both pieces and/or waiting a few seconds for it to get “tacky” before adhering. Once ready, align your large engineering print with the bottom corner of the foam board and lay it on top. Gently smooth out any bubbles. Try to be as careful as possible during this step, as the ink may smudge when you smooth the paper. In other words, try to lay it down correctly the first time without any bubbles. 😉
Step Three: Once dry, cut along edges with an X-acto knife. Be sure to protect the space beneath so you aren’t damaging a rug or table. Or Berber carpet. Ahem.
Step Four: You’re done! Hang it up! I used Command poster strips to hang it since it’s so light.
You’ll notice the edges are not gallery wrapped like a canvas, but you could try to do that by cutting the foam board and then “wrapping” the print. I’ve also seen people color the edges black to give it a ‘framed’ look. I, however, love it just as it is.
We made two of them, but as I placed them on the wall I realized only one would look best. The other one is a train that says ‘Boston’, so that’s going in our hallway to represent my hometown. Wicked cool, right?
Here’s a teensy sneak peek of the gallery wall. We pulled it off inexpensively using several money saving tricks. And you can, too– I’ll show you how! Next week. When I learn how to take photos of frames so they don’t reflect the windows.
I have a feeling that’s a two person job and might involve no kids, a tripod, and a deflector. YIKES.
This is just a snippet, it’s been tweaked and stretches outside this photo too. So excited to share the finished look, hopefully in a few days!
So get on the gallery wall train (hee hee) and let me know if this tip worked for you, too. And did you guys know the engineering print thing at Staples? BOOM! Mind. Blown.