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If you like making a big statement on your walls but you don’t have the big budget to match this post is for you.
I was recently invited by Photowall to have a play with some of their designer wallpaper murals.
They wanted to see what I could do with limited resources, by upcycling materials I already had to create some large wall art.
Essentially what I did was paste Photowall’s wallpaper mural’s onto offcuts of wood that would become the backing for my large pieces of wall art.
Full disclosure the wallpaper was gifted to me but I don’t get any commission if you purchase from them so my opinion in this article is completely my own.
Of course I also had to engineer a way to get these large pieces of wood up on the wall. In the end I came up with three different options for using this type of mural style wallpaper to create DIY large wall art pieces for a lot less money than you would normally spend for wall art of this size.
I personally am always on the hunt for large pieces of art myself as I live in a pretty old house with really high ceilings. Our walls would just look bare if we hung standard sizes of art everywhere.
Of course if you have the budget and you really like bold decor you can paper a whole wall with one of these bold murals.
But what I was really focusing on with this project is what do to do if you love the look but you can’t afford a whole wall…
Or if you are perhaps renting your property and there are limits to what you can feasibly change about the decor….
Or in my particular case…if you have a husband who is sick of constantly having a decorating project on the go who would agree to a new piece of wall art but not to wallpapering a whole room!
P.S. Photo Wall do also sell canvases of their designs in all sorts of sizes but of course they will cost a bit more than the methods I’m going to go over below…..to DIY or BUY ready made…that is almost always the question!
What size wall art are you looking for?
When Photowall invited me to try some of their wallpaper I started off by rummaging through my pile of wood and pallet offcuts (yes I hoard bits of old wood – are you really that surprised?).
I found several large pieces of thin plywood and particle board from various old pieces of furniture I no longer own and I also found some lovely thick pallet boards that I wanted to have a play with as well.
I measured everything up and used Photowall’s cropping tool to figure out which wallpaper designs I might be able to turn into a large piece of wall art using these old bits of wood as the backing.
For most people it probably makes sense to start the other way around of course….as in what space on your wall are you looking to fill? What size is it?
From there you can look around your home for a suitable piece of wood or perhaps put the call out to family and friends who might have a stash like mine.
I’ve got several ideas of how you can add hanging to these wood offcuts so don’t stress about that at this point. Focus on getting the base from which to work from and then picking your wallpaper design.
If you live in a rental property and you have a bit more budget but the issue is what you are allowed to change in your home, you could consider hanging several wallpaper mural panels on wood side by side to completely change the look of your room while not damaging the walls (plus you can take the panels with you when you move!).
How Much will this wall art cost?
Ok this is the best part. If you have the piece of backing wood in the size you want – in my case this was free because I already had my stash of offcuts – then the only cost is going to be for the panel or panels of wallpaper used (Photo Wall provide the wallpaper paste for free with every purchase).
For all the designs I tried this with the cost was roughly £29/sqm.
If you think about it one square metre is 100cm x 100cm, that’s a fairly big piece of art – even if you scale it up to 200cm x 200cm that’s only around £60.
You are going to be hard pressed to buy pieces of art that big for this kind of price.
Again, the wallpaper I used was gifted to me but I did sit down and do the math and I do think it’s good value for the amount of area you can cover with it!
Also until, the 12th of August 2020 you can use discount code upcyclemystuff25 to get 25% off any purchase at Photowall. So even cheaper if you are reading this in time to take advantage of that!
Granted this isn’t what the wallpaper was designed for so you will have to play with the cropping tool, create your picture hanging and cut your wood to size if needed, but if you have the materials and not the budget why not upcycle your way to some fabulously oversized wall art?
Finding the Right Design for your Wall Art
If you are going to try using designer wallpaper from Photowall or anywhere else you are going to be overwhelmed with choice.
Seriously. There. is. so. much. choice.
So I suggest starting with a theme or a colour in mind to stop yourself spending hours and hours pouring over all the options and getting paralyzed with indicision.
I personally love a botanical type print so I started searching for things like ‘botanical prints’, ‘woodland’, and ‘flowers’ and I landed on some really great options that I love.
The one I would love to have a whole wall of that my husband would absolutely never agree to is Tangled Jungle Monochrome Blue (photo above). I love a dense jungle scene!
My final piece of over mantle wall art for this design came out at 70cm x 140cm – so still pretty big! See below for how I hung it.
I also choose a design called Woodlands for a very long thin piece of wood I had to create a large vertical piece of wall art with.
This is on a very tall narrow section of wall going up my stairs and the piece of wood I used to make it measures 52cm x 140cm. See below for all the details.
And I just fell in love with the colourful Land of Coco print and thought it might work on a smaller scale on my thick pallet offcuts.
Each of these pallet off cuts measures roughly 15cm x 40cm. You can read how I prepared them and hung them below.
How to Hang Wall Art made from Upcycled Wood
So this is where I went down a rabbit hole of trying lots of different things. Some worked, some were less successful.
- Large piece of plywood or particle board or other thinnish off-cut of wood to the size needed to fill your wall space.
- Pallet off cuts or other small lengths of wood (optional)
- Sawtooth Picture hanging brackets (optional) – see different methods below for where these were used.
- Wood Glue
- Mural Style Wallpaper
- Craft Knife
- Seam Roller
- Brush or Roller (for the wallpaper paste)
- Mouse Sander
- Jigsaw (optional depending on the size of your existing wood)
Creating a frame from thin plywood and pallet wood
The first method I tried was to use my jigsaw to cut down some pallets into small lengths and use wood glue to attach them around the edge of a large piece of plywood leftover from an old piece of furniture.
The piece of wood measured 70cm x 140cm and it was only about a centimetre thin, which made it pretty bendy on its own, so just adding a hanging to it wasn’t going to work.
Photowall supplies wallpaper paste with each purchase that you just mix up in a bucket.
Depending on the size of your image your mural might come in more than one panel – in which case you need to lay the pieces out first to line up the seams.
I had this grand idea of wrapping the wallpaper around the whole piece to the back to give it a bit of canvas framed kind of look.
Spoiler alert – that didn’t work.
However the pieces of pallet did provide stability to the larger piece of wood and made it hangable so it wasn’t a total lost cause!
In the end I trimmed the excess around the edges with a craft knife rather than wrapping it around to the back as I just couldn’t get it to stick down evenly curving over the edge. I mean wallpaper is designed for walls that are flat – so I’m not sure what I was thinking in the first place!
This piece of wall art is resting on one large nail with no other hanging kit on the back. The pallet frame around the edge is resting on the nail.
I will be the first to admit I didn’t get the edges of the pallet frame 100% straight which is what is causing the top right corner to look a bit wonky but you can learn from my mistake and measure twice to get yours a bit straighter!
Simple Method for Hanging a large piece of wood as Art
For the second piece of wall art I made I went for a bit more of a simplistic approach.
I took a long thin piece of plywood (I think it was from the back of a wardrobe or something like that) and used two pieces of broken cot bed slats to create a hanging at the top and a stabiliser sort of a piece at the bottom. The photo above was me laying them out before I cut the ragged ends off of the broken slats.
I used wood glue again to attach them.
The hardest part about this project was figuring out which bit of the design to chop off. You are advised on the website to order a bit bigger than your estimated measurements just in case but the end result can be that you have to loose a bit at the bottom or edge of your design. I ended up chopping off a bit at the bottom as I didn’t want to loose the bird at the top.
If you feel confident cutting your wood down to size if you accidentally order it too small I think I would probably advise you to order the exact size you want and trim your wood rather than having to trim the paper.
The end result is that this very big piece of wall art is incredibly light which made it easy to hang – it’s only resting on one nail and it’s holding fine.
It is ever so slightly bowed at the bottom because the panel of wood was so thin so I’m still trying to work out how to correct that without adding to the weight of it all. I love how light this is to hang so I want to come up with something that won’t add a layer of complication or extra weight.
My husband has suggested a piece of wood down the middle but I’m not so sure. Any thoughts?
I think this would be a great option for a rental property as it is a huge piece of art with a very dramatic look but it isn’t effecting the wall anymore than a small picture would so your landlord can’t object!
The Woodlands design wallpaper is actually much larger than this, this is just one panel so you can imagine how large this would be if you had it on a whole wall.
The thing with the Photo Wall cropping tool is you can decide to go for one section of the design like this or you can press the option to shrink the whole design down to fit the size you want. Depending on the scale of the design it may not be exact to your measurements but it’s a pretty flexible tool that you could have a good play with to get just the part of the design you want in your space.
Pallet Offcuts as Wall Art
This idea isn’t inherently large but you can build up and use lots of these offcuts to make it as large and abstract as you like.
I personally love how these turned out and I think something similar would work well on a piece of furniture too.
Here is what I did.
Step 1: Cut pallet wood to desired size
I cut off 40cm lengths (roughly) of pallet board using my jigsaw.
Step 2: Sand
Using my Black & Decker Mouse Sander I sanded these all down to a smooth finish.
Step 3: Plan your wallpaper design & paste
I started off thinking I would just wallpaper a section of the Land of Coco Wallpaper to all the pallet pieces and arrange it in a fun way on the wall.
I started with one piece like that and then it suddenly struck me that I would prefer to see some of the pallet wood as well.
So I cut around the edges of the top of the wallpaper panel – essentially removing the white space at the top (see photos above). I then pasted my wallpaper on 3/4 of the way down the pallet wood.
Step 4: Add Hanging
I used these sawtooth picture hanging hooks on the back of each pallet and they worked great for hanging them flush against the wall with no gaps.
It’s the angle of my camera on the stairs that is making this photo look a bit wonky – hopefully you still get the general idea!
Wallpaper as DIY Large Wall Art: The Verdict
I have to be honest, before Photowall approached my and offered to gift me some of their wallpaper to see what I could upcycle with it I hadn’t ever thought of using wallpaper in quite this way but now I think it’s a great idea for getting a statement piece of wall art that:
a) doesn’t cost a lot
b) you can take with you if you move
c) you can make exactly the size you want
If you liked any of these ideas and you want to come back to it later don’t forget to Pin it!
Looking for more DIY Wall Art Ideas?