I’ve mentioned before that we moved back into this house in November. I’ve also mentioned my empty walls and how much it drives my husband batty. He keeps hounding me to hang some pictures, but I refuse to hang those cheap frames with cheesy school pictures that my kids hate anyway. I’ve had this idea for Mod Podge, photos and some rustic wood for quite some time. I finally spent the time to put this all together yesterday and have to say, I love the results!
First off I have to give two big shout outs. One to Kristen of Kristen Duke Photography. She was kind enough to take these photographs in their original color form and change them to black and white for me. I was able to do it myself in Photoshop, but I just wasn’t achieving the contrast that I wanted. So a big thank you to Kristen! The other goes to the fabulous Amy of Mod Podge Rocks. She answered several questions from me regarding Mod Podge and photos and provided some valuable Mod Podge tips as well. So thank you Amy, love ya!
Before I get to the tutorial, I do take custom orders. Pricing and samples of custom orders are available in my portfolio here.
NOTE: See that “family sign” above the photos? You can find the tutorial for the Wooden Letter Family Sign here.
The first thing I did was figure out which photos I wanted to use and what sizes I wanted them to be. Some are 5×7 and some are 8×10, but 4×6 would be great as well. I did turn mine to black and white, but you could do sepia tones, keep them color, or even add fun effects in Photoshop if you are comfortable with that. I also used real photographs, not print outs from my printer. I went onto the Walgreens website and ordered the prints and picked them up an hour later.
The wood that I used was just salvaged bits I’ve had saved. Some were shelves, some just wood scraps, and the really thin pieces were just from a scrap piece of plywood I saved. I cut them to the sized I wanted. I love that they aren’t evenly square or straight, you should have seen me fumbling with that saw! Ha! I sanded each piece, front, sides and corners.
I started out by painting a nice dark brown, I used Asphaltum from the Americana line.
After the brown coat dried, I added a coat of antique white.
After the white dried, I painted Asphaltum brown over the top again, but didn’t use a whole lot of precision. In fact, I left the middles alone knowing the pictures would cover them up anyway.
When the paint was dry, I used my sander to distress the brown layer, showing some of the antique white beneath it.
As you can see I sanded all the edges as well, being sure to remove the paint in the corners. Don’t forget the sides too! Make sure you dust off the boards well after sanding.
Now is a good time to add picture hangers to the back of the wood plaques.
I wanted to keep the rustic feel, so I tore the edges all the way around the photographs. Now you paint on an even layer of Mod Podge onto the back of the photo. Place the photo on to the plaque. While holding the photo in place with one hand, firmly but gently rub your other hand across the photo to be sure there are no air bubbles. Let this dry for about 20 minutes first – THEN add a coat of Mod Podge over the top of the entire surface. Use even strokes and it’s best to paint with the wood grain.
Let it dry completely before hanging!
When I was ready to put my photo wall together, I laid everything out on the dining room table in the same fashion that I did when I made my plate wall. I was sure to take a picture so that I could refer back to the photo for placement on the wall.
Here are some close ups off all the plaques :) You’ll notice there are more pictures of my youngest son, Dominic, than anyone else. He’s the ham of the family and loves having his picture taken :)
|My son Dominic standing on a huge limb in the tree of our old house.|
|Dominic at one of his baseball games last year, next up to bat.|
|Dominic sitting inside of the wheel well of a huge International Harvester at the Iowa State Fair.|
|My daughter Kristen and her boyfriend Nick|
|Kristen with our German Shepherd, Angel, out in a 6 foot snow drift in the back yard.|
|My oldest son Tony after returning from a muddy ride on his dirt bike.|
|Dirt bikes – Dominic at top, Dominic and my second oldest son, TJ, at bottom|