So, there’s this little shop I like to frequent: RitsumeiArts. She has some really great fine art prints available there. She does excellent work! That is why I purchase an enlarged print of Essence of Fire from her shop, for my very own. She was even kind enough to let me talk her into cropping it into a 16×16 square print.
So then I had this great picture, and even a place in mind for it in my home. Next, it was time to decide how to hang it. Originally, I was thinking I’d just go with a frame; that’s simple and easy and, since the picture’s not too odd a size, it should be a snap, right? Sure! Except that I couldn’t find a frame that I liked. Anywhere.
In looking around my house for ideas of what might match the current scheme of things, there was a noticeably small number of framed pictures. In fact, my favorites are these three beautiful prints that are gallery wrapped. This got me thinking. Could I do that myself with this picture??
This called for some investigative work.
I did some research, chatted with the good people at my local craft store and, of course, did some experimenting and, in the end, concluded that it was indeed, quite possible to do a (mock) gallery wrap myself. So I did.
And since I didn’t find much by way of tutorials for this particular project, I thought I’d put my two cents out there for anyone else who might be curious.
Here’s how it went:
Step 1: Collect the necessary materials – most are available at any art and craft store (I’m partial to Blick and JoAnn’s)
Fine Art Print (to be mounted)
Prepared Canvas (stretched and gessoed)
Acrylic paints and brush (if additional color is desired)
Mod Podge Adhesive – available in multiple finishes (I went with a matte finish)
Step 2: Paint the Canvas
Since this picture is vibrant orange with splashes of yellow, I decided to continue with that color family, but in an abstract way rather than attempt to make the edges look like an extension of the picture.
For the face of the canvas, I used a bigger brush to cover more space and to make more uniform brush strokes. Acrylics are a translucent paint, so you might need multiple coats to be sure the white doesn’t show through anywhere that will be visible in the end.
Be sure to keep the surface of the canvas, that which will ultimately be under the photo, as smooth as possible; keeping the brush strokes going in one direction with broad, uniform strokes; this will make for a more stable area to adhere the photo.
I found it easier to paint three of the edges, wait for them to dry a bit, and then paint the final side. Acrylics dry quite fast (which makes them very handy for this type of project), so I only had to wait a couple of hours before painting the final edge.
Around the edges of the canvas, I used a smaller brush and used more paint to add a little bit of physical texture. Also, to help match the photo, and for some visual contrast, I added flecks of yellow to the orange.
Let the paint dry completely before mounting the photo to the canvas.
Step 3: Trim the Photo to Size
While, an approximate fit will work just fine if you’re sticking the picture in a frame, I discovered that a little bit of fine tuning was needed to get the photo to fit on my prepared canvas just right.
Step 4: Mount the Picture on Canvas
Now for the fun part! The culminating moment: Sticking the picture to the canvas!
For the gluing, I use a separate brush than I use for painting; Mod Podge leaves the brush just slightly sticky and the texture of the bristles is never the same, so consider using an old one you don’t love.
Turn the photo over, spread the adhesive on the back of the picture with smooth, uniform strokes. Don’t use too much, just a light layer is needed. Also, be careful not to get any spots of glue on the front of the photo; it’ll affect the smooth finish later.
With a very lightly dampened paper towel or cloth, gently wipe up any excess adhesive that might be poking out around the edges of the photo. Be careful not to wipe the photo too much or with too much liquid, else you risk lifting color from the photo.
Step 5: Add Layers of Protective Cover
Once you’ve finished Step 4, and the adhesive behind the photo is fully dried, flip the canvas back over. Using long motions, cover the whole piece – on top of the photo and all exposed canvas, with a layer of adhesive. This stuff goes on a milky white, but will dry clear.
As you apply the first layer of adhesive, use gentle strokes going in one direction. Do not rub or you run the risk of damaging the photo. Once that is completely dried, I recommend a second layer to be sure it is completely sealed.
Step 6: Enjoy!