Wednesday, March 21, 2012

new collage wall art project: the photo version

As evidenced by my Scavenger Hunt photos this past week, I've been working on a handful of brand new projects the past couple weeks.  The first one is a photo collage.  I thought that with the plethora of Mod Podge tutorials out there, I would find a great tutorial for what I wanted to do, but I didn't.  I found a couple similar tutorials and put together my own plan of action.  I'm pretty pleased with the result so I'm sharing it with you today.

Before I get into the tutorial, I'm going to give you a little back story about why I developed this collage.

This is what the frame looked like originally, except that it had photos from Jake's med school graduation and my little sister-in-law's high school graduation.  I know that I'll get questions about this so I'll say it: The photos in this frame are from one of my cousin's bachelorette party and wedding a couple years ago.  We haven't hung this up yet and now I'm afraid to because of what happened.

A month ago or so, the graduation frame fell off the wall in the middle of the night.  It was scary and then was upsetting when I saw what had happened to the frame.

The good news is that the rest of the frame was fine.  All of the glass, matte backings, and photos were fine.  Any ideas for what I can do with these mattes and glass?

I had spent $20 on the collage frame not 6 months ago and wasn't really interested in shelling that out again.  I was determined to find a cheaper way to make a collage that was just as aesthetically pleasing.  This is what I did.

Supply List
  • One 16x20 canvas (I used Artist's Loft)
  • One can of black (or the color of your choosing) acrylic paint (I bought a 16 oz. can of Apple Barrel paint.  You won't need nearly that much.  Spray paint will probably work just fine, too.)
  • One small foam paintbrush
  • Matte finish Mod Podge
  • Matte acrylic spray (I used Krylon)
  • Nine 4x6 photos
  • Hanging materials of your choosing (I used two sawtooths)
I bet that many of you who work with Mod Podge frequently have a lot of these materials on hand already.  If you do need to buy supplies, you can find everything at Michael's except for the hanging materials.  You may find them there, but I got mine at Target so I can't vouch for that.  Glossy finishes for Mod Podge and acrylic spray will work, too.  That's completely your preference.

The first thing that I did was arrange my photos to make sure that they would fit okay on this sized canvas.  I took a picture in case my memory escaped me later.

Paint your canvas black.  Make sure that you paint the sides.  I did two coats over everything and then had to touch up a few areas.  It was not uniform, and I obsessed about this for a while, but once you get the photos on there, you won't notice.

Use your foam brush to paint the back of each photo with a thin, even coat of Mod Podge.  Glue the photos on your canvas.  Make sure to smooth them down evenly so there are no bubbles.  Touch up any corners that need extra glue.  Leave the Mod Podge to dry for at least an hour.

Cover the entire top and sides of the canvas with Mod Podge.  I layered this pretty thin.  It's up to you how thick you want it.  Either way, make sure that you're applying it evenly with long strokes.  I decided to use two layers.  Allow at least one hour of drying time between layers and an hour afterward.

I do not have a picture of this, but I finished the collage with a couple layers of spray acrylic.  Follow the instructions on the acrylic.

When everything had dried, I attached the sawtooths on the back and hung it up.  Here it is finished.

I know that I'll get questions about this if I don't show it.  I had trouble finding a good angle for this shot, but this is where we're hanging the collage in our dining room.  I know that it looks tiny.  I promise that it isn't.

If you make this project yourself, please leave me a link to a blog post or send me pictures (  If you do write a blog post, please link back to my post in it somewhere.  Thanks!

What new projects have you been working on lately?

I included this post in Michelle's Delicately Constructed Friday 3/23/12.


  1. What a fantastic project. It's so much more interesting then having the pictures frames. Awesome job.

    And isn't it just crazy what they charge you for frames. That's why I only buy them at the thrift stores now.

  2. It's true, even relatively small frames are expensive.
    You did a fantastic job with your collage. I love how you angled a few photos giving them a jaunty look :)

  3. Cute! I was not sure where you were going with it at first- thinking you were going to do something with the frame. This turned out great though!

  4. very cute! I had a picture fall off the wall in the middle of the night once; it's quite scary!

  5. This looks great! And they'd be perfect for gift-giving!

  6. Looks great! Very creative solution :)

  7. Nice way to keep the photos. I have also done what Victoria said above and bought frames at a thrift store and then fixed it up. Better than paying the outrageous amounts stores sometimes charge.

  8. Good job! Thanks for the process shots. (I just finished buying glass for one of my pieces that crashed in the night).

  9. That turned out great! Very clever way to display photos! Thanks for sharing the steps too and I might have to try that sometime!

  10. This is a great project! And I love the black. That would fit in so well at my house because we have black accents in every room. Love it!

  11. Very fun - it's always nice to be able to see the photos - not just think about them in a box. Thanks for sharing =)

  12. it worked out great. I use ModPodge all the time, and my bits and pieces have stayed firm. The only thing I worry about is the changing relative humidity in the room and the photos buckling. Sorry, that's the curator coming out in me... You'll have to tell me if this happens! It looks great! {:-D

  13. Great wall art! Mod Podge is swell, I really should experiment with it more.

  14. It looks fantastic. I like the way you arranged the photos on the mat too.

  15. Funny how the photos stand out better against your black canvas than they did in the frame. Great project!


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