DIY Picture Collages
I have NO idea how I came up with the idea for this project. I was looking for a nice picture-gift to give to all of my roommates. We've lived together in Apartment 15G for 3 years -- 5 girls in one house -- and we will all be graduating and moving away from each other in a couple of months.
How do you put together a gift that says "I love the memories we've built in this house, and I'll miss you bunches?"
My answer? PICTURE COLLAGE!
I started searching online for collage frames to buy, but they're like $30 bucks a piece! That was not in this college student's budget.
So I started brainstorming ways to save money ... cause that's what you do when you're broke.
And an idea came to me out of the blue: Bookshelves.
You heard me-- Book-SHELVES!
I figured you buy a cheap bookshelf and get like 3 shelves, plus 2 side pieces to upcycle-- that's 5 pieces of paintable / modge podge-able / picture-paste-able / personalizable wood. Why has no one thought of this before? And if they have, why have I not heard of this?
I searched for the cheapest bookshelves I could fins, and I came across one for $18 (Eighteen Dollar$!!) at Walmart.com. Link below:
It was made from particle board, which would work just fine according to my extensive google research. I purchased it (free shipping site-to-store), and once it arrived, I got started.
Just as a reference, I would have spent about $150 on this project if I'd gone with collage frames.Here's what I spent:
Paint and Modge Podge: $17
Sanding block and Picture hangers: $14
Total: $66 -- Not bad, eh??
Step 1: Sand the finish off of the shelves.
I got a sanding block for $4 at Lowes, and I put some muscle-love into sanding the shelves til the finish was pretty scuffed up -- this made the paint stick better. It was a dusty job, my friends.
|I used a damp rag to wipe the dust off of the board.|
|Here's what the shelving looked like from the box. I had 4 shorter shelves + the 2 long sides.|
Step 2: Paint
I purchased different types of paint ($8) from walmart, and used a couple heavy coats per board. I originally planned on using fabric as a frame around each collage. I got the fabric for about $10 at Walmart, but didn't end up using it.
|Shout out to my neighbors Jessica and Sam for letting me work at their place!|
|I used the leftover fabric to make passport covers for my friends who let me work in their apartment! Waste not. :)|
Step 3: Arrange Photos on the BoardThis part was a little challenging, since I had to trim every photo to make them all fit. I was able to get about 9-10 photos onto each board. I found out that it was better to cut the photos into pairs -- so each picture was the same size as at least one other picture. This helped create symmetry throughout the collage. I wanted to make each collage different, and I managed it!
Step 4: Modge Podge Photos into PlaceOnce I had the pictures laid out, I picked them up one at a time and modge podge them to the board. I let them dry completely.
Step 5: Paint a MessageI wanted to put some sort of words on each collage, and I used paint pens to do this (it would have been difficult to do with just paint and a brush).
Make sure the paint dries completely before you modge podge over them! I didn't wait long enough for one board, and the modge podge fudged two of the letters a little bit. Luckily I was able to fix it.
Step 6: Modge Podge EVERYTHING! . . . TWICE! . . . at LEAST.I put a pretty good coat on, making sure to seal the edges of each picture. This one (in the picture) was the first board I did, so it is a little messy. I got much better with the modge podge as I went on to the other 3. I learned to start at the left side, and work my way across, making sure to even out the coat as I went.
|This is after I already fixed the letters. The bottom of the A and p were almost completely separated from the rest of the letters.|
|You can barely tell I made a mistake!|
Step 5: Nail picture hangers to the boards.
I was stressing all throughout this project, because I didn't know how to make the boards hang-able. I wasn't finding any luck on google, but I finally came across these sawtooth picture hangers on amazon (link below), and they worked great!
They are cheap and actually quite sturdy, and they come with 2 nails per hanger. I put two hangers on each board, 16 inches apart (the distance between most wall studs). I measured them from the top of the board using the width of my debit card. I don't have pics of this -- sorry! But you can figure it out. It wasn't too difficult.
Step 6: Wrap 'em and Gift 'em!
My roomies were in such suspense as we waited for a time when all 5 of us were at home at once. That moment finally came, and they got to open their gifts. They loved them, and I loved seeing that they loved them!
Just one note: if you wrap these, don't stick them on top of each other for a couple days like I did. Some of the wrapping paper left a little residue on the boards. I was able to scratch some of it off, but it actually made a cool effect -- luckily I don't have perfectionist roommates.
|I love these girls so much! I am very thankful to the Lord for bringing us together -- if just one were missing, we wouldn't be the same.|
|Morgan (imitating her face in one of the pictures)|