Get inspired

Subscribe to our Newsletter for design inspiration, DIY tutorials, and travel tips! Plus gain instant access to our FREE guide, 5 Tips to Create an RV you Love!

Yes, subscribe me!

Search

  • No products in the cart.
diy massive wall decor watercolor mountains mountainmodernlife.com

DIY Large Scale Wall Art

See how easy and inexpensive it is to make this DIY Large Scale Wall Art using engineer prints!

Are you in need of some large scale wall art but not sure how to pull it off on a budget? No worries because today I’m going to show you how I created a DIY large scale wall art for less than $50!

I’ve been on the search for some large scale wall decor for our master bedroom, and this project was sort of a happy accident that occurred along the way. Yay for happy accidents!

It all started with this beautiful image of the mountains I had purchased in a design bundle pack several months ago. It’s also available available here and all of the photos were taken in Iceland and Europe. It doesn’t say exactly where this photo was taken. Do you know?

mountains-image-from-go-explore-pack-Madebyvadim

I used it for my desktop image for a while and then one day decided to play around with the colors of the image in Photoshop, because Spring was on the horizon, and I wanted more saturated colors. I then used this Photoshop app that gave the image a watercolor effect. Warning: playing with this mockup generator may result in several lost hours. You’ve been warned 🙂

Unfortunately, I don’t remember exactly what color changes I made, but this was the outcome:

watercolor-mountain-and-lake-wall-art-upcycledtreasures

Aren’t the colors dreamy? I immediately knew that this had to go into our bedroom and began brainstorming how to get this image up on our wall ASAP.

DIY Large Scale Wall Art on a Budget

Although I purchased the engineering print and plywood for this project, everything else I already had on hand.

Materials Used for DIY Large Scale Wall Art:

This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. View our full disclosure here.


I had previously purchased a 48 x 36 canvas that I planned on painting and hanging up in our room, so my first thought was to attempt to paint this. Ummm let’s just say it was a bit of a fail. It started out okay but about an hour in I decided to go in a different direction that would require less time, paint, and back pain. Not to mention my painting skills aren’t exactly the best. Ha.

Using a 36 x 48 Engineering Print

So instead I got back in Photoshop and cropped the image onto a 36 x 48 document, knowing I could send it over to Staples to be printed as a color engineering print.

I’ve purchased black and white engineering prints from Staples in the past with no issues, but never this large and never in color so I was a little nervous about how the color would turn out, but was willing to take the risk.

Well I worried for no reason because it printed up way better than I could have expected! It cost about $23 but there have several size options for less, and the b&w prints are even less expensive.

36x48-color-engineering-print-from-staples-upcycledtreasures

I had asked one of the employees if they could have the print extend to the edges, or if there would be a border and she told me it would go to the edges…. but it didn’t. Although I was hoping the image would bleed to the edges, I sorta expected it to have a white border. This wouldn’t be an issue except I wanted to add the print to my 48 x 36 canvas, along with a clean simple frame and didn’t want the white border to show.

Of course if you are using a smaller canvas you won’t have to worry about this problem but after some thought we decided that instead of using the canvas, we would purchase some plywood to add the print to instead.

So we headed out and purchased some underlayment that was about $12 and got it cut down to 47 x 35 at the hardware store. We only needed about half of it so we still have the other half for future projects, yay!

how-to-create-large-scale-art-from-plywood-upcycledtreasures

Looking back on it, thicker plywood would have made it easier to attach the frame the way I wanted, although it would have been heavier.

I contemplated using mod podge to attach the print to the wood, or if I should do the transfer method using some gel medium. However, due to the size of the print I figured the easiest way would be to use spray adhesive.

how-to-attach-large-scale-engineering-print-to-wood-using-spray-adhesive-upcycledtreasures

So I centered the paper onto the plywood and then taped one edge of the paper to the back of the wood. {The print is not centered onto the plywood below}.

diy-watercolor-wall-decor-upcycledtreasures

I sprayed the plywood with spray adhesive and Eric helped me slowly move the paper down into place. I then smoothed the paper out as much as possible to avoid wrinkles, starting from one corner and working my way out.

how-to-create-large-wall-decor-from-plywood-upcycledtreasures

 Here is what it looked like from the front:

diy-massive-wall-decor-watercolor-mountains-upcycledtreasures

And here is what it looked like from the back:

creating-diy-wall-art-on-a-budget-upcycledtreasures

I then went around and taped all of the edges to the back of the plywood.

Afterwards I used a large Mod Podge brush to add some gloss mod podge on top of the print, which helps seal it into place. I opted to use the large brush vs a foam brush because I wanted to get more coverage since this was such a large print.

using-mod-podge-to-attach-print-to-wood-for-diy-wall-decor-upcycledtreasures

I love how it made the image look all glossy and pretty! I was a little disappointed that the mod podge brush lost some bristles in the glue, but they were pretty easy to wipe off. It was my first time using the brush so I think if I had washed it first that may have helped prevent some of the bristles from coming out.

However, if I were to do this again I would probably use a foam roller instead because that would help the mod podge go on evenly, and prevent streaking or the bristles from getting stuck in the glue. I did use 2 coats of Mod Podge, letting it dry in between.

You may notice that when the Mod Podge is added, some bubbles start to show up, but you can use a credit card to carefully smooth those out. I used the scraper from my Silhouette machine which worked really well.

creating-wall-art-from-large-color-engineering-print-upcycledtreasures

If you added the print to canvas then you are all finished and can hang it up, otherwise you can add a frame at this point.

 The Frame:

Click Here to see how we built the large frame, and here to see how you can easily re-create this on an 8×10 canvas with a super duper easy wood frame made of paint sticks.

DIY Large Scale Wall Art

how-to-create-large-scale-wall-decor-on-a-budget-upcycledtreasures copy

I don’t know about you, but I’m honestly over the moon with how this DIY large scale wall art turned out! Sure it would be better if this was a photo I had actually taken, but I still love it!

diy-massive-wall-art-upcycledtreasures

What do you think of our DIY large scale wall art?

This is such an easy way to create large scale art using some of your favorite travel, family or wedding photos, and it would also make a great gift.

If you are going to use plywood, thicker plywood is easier to frame out, although it will also be heavier. Canvas would be the easiest/lightest option, or you could even use foam.

  • Make sure the print you have is slightly larger than the wood or canvas you plan to add it to.
  • Use spray adhesive when attaching a large scale image to wood or canvas, and have a buddy help when rolling it down to prevent it from shifting or getting wrinkles.
  • Use a foam roller when adding the Mod Podge on top to prevent streak marks or bristles sticking in the glue.

Here is an updated photo of our DIY large scale wall art up in our bedroom:

See how easy and inexpensive it is to make this DIY Large Scale Wall Art using engineer prints!

Don’t forget to check out my 8 x 10 canvas version along with the FREE printable HERE.

Comments

  • Love this on so many levels! WOW! This is just perfection Katie, you never fail to amaze me!

    April 18, 2015
    reply
  • This is definitely an idea that I’d like to try. Art is so expensive, especially a large piece. Yours looks great!

    April 19, 2015
    reply
  • Terri

    WOW, beautiful! I’ve been trying to find something in stores I like for my master bedroom, to no avail. Who knew getting a color copy of that size would be so inexpensive? I’m definitely going to give this a shot! Thanks for the informative post.

    April 19, 2015
    reply
  • This is gorgeous, Katie!! I love it!

    April 20, 2015
    reply
  • Deb M

    This is beyond awesome! Thank you. Also, would you consider doing another tutorial on the abstract art with more photos and details about just what to do with the gel medium and stencils? I realize that your creative genius struck at 2:00 am but I am so “art challenged” that I need more details. Pretty, pretty please:)

    July 3, 2015
    reply
  • Tami

    I just wanted to leave you a comment & let you know how much I enjoyed this tutorial! Thank you so much for showing the stairs for framing the print as well. Awesome work!

    January 16, 2016
    reply
  • Leslie Draffin

    I love this idea but Ive run into a problem. I used plywood or underlayment to create a MASSIVE piece (6 ft x 4 ft) and now i cant figure out how to hang it. I dont want to just screw it into the wall, picture hangers are too small and velcro/adhesive also doesnt work. Any ideas from anyone?????

    March 9, 2016
    reply
  • Sara Mattson

    Do you need to have photoshop first before you can utilize the app? Also just confirming it’s the “Watercolor Brushes” app. Thanks, Sara

    October 6, 2016
    reply
  • Is that Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada?

    March 20, 2018
    reply
  • MIles

    Hi- i am very new to DIY. I ordered a very large Painting that is printed on rolled canvas (50 Inches x 35 inches). I was planning to stretch the canvas Using wood bars and then framing with wood. But after seeing this tutuorial i am wondering if i can Attach the rolled canvas onto plywood using spray aDheSive ? So basically the same as you did but execept my print is on canvas. Just wondering if your process would still work since i am using rolled canvas? Do you think it is easier (less room for error/bubbling etc) if i go the stretcher route or the spray adhesive route? Thank you

    February 9, 2019
    reply

Leave
a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You don't have permission to register
X