We needed some large artwork to go over a cabinet in our living room, but anything that was the appropriate size was easily $200+. I didn't want to spend very much money, so I decided to make some prints myself! I cut up cardboard boxes for the canvases and I used old wrapping paper and paint to finish them off. The MDF for the frames was the only thing I had to buy. That brought the grand total for BOTH of these large prints AND their frames to only $8.50! Each print is about 4ft by 2ft. Can't beat that!
Large Prints With Frames for Less Than $9
If I were to re-do this project, I would make my frame first, then cut the cardboard to fit inside of it. Instead I made the canvases first, not knowing I'd want to make frames later. This made it a little more difficult to ensure the canvases would fit nicely inside of the frames, but I made it work.
What you'll need:
Large pieces of cardboard
Brad nail gun/liquid nails
Step 1: Cut cardboard to size
We had just gotten chairs for our living room so we had these large boxes. I cut them up to make two equal sized canvases. Because there were folds in my pieces, I used some duct tape along the folds to reinforce them (seen below).
You can also use plywood for this - but I didn't want to spend any more money than I had to.
Step 2: Wrap canvases
I took some old christmas wrapping paper and wrapped each piece of cardboard. I kept the print on the inside because the back of the paper was the plainer side. There was a grid on the back (to help with cutting straight lines), but I wasn't worried about it because my plan was to paint over it.
If you're using plywood, this step likely isn't necessary.
Step 3: Base coat
I painted the entire canvas white. Again, this was partially to cover up the grids on the back of my wrapping paper, but also because I wanted the background to be stark white.
Step 4: Paint your design
I went with these black semi circles, but you can do anything here! I first drew them out in pencil, then went over them with two coats of paint.
Edit: You can see above that there are some wrinkles in the paper. To get rid of these, after the paint dried, I flattened out the wrapping paper and repositioned the tape on the back of the canvases.
Step 5: Cut and paint your frame
Measure each side of your canvas and cut your wood to size. I used primed MDF but anything would work. Of course, the price will vary based on the material you choose. I chose to paint mine before assembling the frame, so I painted each piece black.
Again, if I were to re-do this project, I would have made the frames first, this way I could cut the cardboard to fit nicely inside. I thought it was a little more challenging to have to build the frames based on the size of the canvases.
Step 6: Assemble frame
I was going to miter the edges, but decided to keep this simple and just build a box. I connected the pieces with a some liquid nails and a brad nailer, but a hammer and nails would work just as well. I also secured a small piece in each corner, towards the back of the frame. This served as a reinforcement for the frame, and as an anchor for the canvases. I attached these pieces in the same way - liquid nails and a brad nailer. I also then painted them black, which I realized later was totally unnecessary :p
Step 7: Attach canvases to frames
I used some duct tape on each of the corner supports to attach the canvas to the frame. I didn't want to nail through my photo, and I didn't want anything too permanent incase I ever want to change it up.
(Optional) Step 8: Hang
To hang these frames, I took some sawtooth hangers off of an old frame I wasn't using at the moment, and screwed them into the back.
I was skeptical about pulling off this DIY, but I'm so happy with how they came out. These prints are over 4ft x 2ft each, and for less than $9 I really impressed myself with this one!