How to Frame Wallpaper as Art
Today’s project is one I might have just briefly mentioned in another post. But many of you have been asking for more inexpensive DIY artwork ideas lately, so I thought I’d share this one in a bit more detail. Today, I’m going to show you how to frame wallpaper as art. Not only is this one of the most budget-friendly and easy DIY artwork ideas you’ll come across, but it’s also a great way to use up wallpaper leftovers, scraps, and samples. Ready to make some art for your walls in about 5 minutes?!? Yep…it’s that quick!
I’ve been working on a budget makeover for the boys’ upstairs bathroom (it’s almost done!). When I went looking for some simple black/white contact paper or wallpaper to line their cabinets and drawers, I came across this super cool wallpaper full of heart-warming, motivational sentiments. Not only did I think it would look awesome inside the cabinets, but it struck me as the perfect way to make some inexpensive art for above the toilet.
Using wallpaper as artwork can help you bring some pattern into a room if you’re too nervous to do a larger wallpaper installation or don’t want to incur the cost of multiple rolls. It’s also a great way to use up scraps from another room/project. Don’t have any scraps on hand? Many wallpaper companies provide free samples in generous sizes, making this project really inexpensive or practically no cost at all!
- Wallpaper (see more below)
- Poster Board or Foam Core
- Spray Adhesive (if your wallpaper isn’t peel-and-stick)
- Craft Knife or Scissors
- Ruler or other straight edge
- Scraper or Brayer
- Frame of your choice
Picking Wallpaper for Artwork
Regular, pasted, and peel-and-stick wallpapers can all work for this project, so just focus on finding an interesting pattern you love. I do recommend looking for a large-scale pattern, particularly one that doesn’t repeat within your frame size. (Without an obvious pattern repeat, your wallpaper will look more like art than wallpaper.)
Not sure where to look for good wallpaper? Here are some ideas!
- Check around thrift stores or clearance sections of home decor stores.
- Ask local Interior Designers if they have scraps or sample books they are getting rid of.
- Order samples.
- Walls Republic provides really large, free samples
- Spoonflower allows for cuts as small as 12×24″
- Wrapping paper can also work, but look for unique large-scale patterns that don’t repeat too frequently.
- Check speciality paper stores for cuts of unique papers.
- Check Amazon for really inexpensive rolls. Even at $15-20/roll, that’s cheaper than most art at HomeGoods or Target (plus you’ll have extra to line drawers, do a feature wall, or cover furniture!)
To give you a sense of the possibilities and what to look for, here are some papers that would work great as art pieces using this technique!
Step 1: Cut
Start by cutting down a piece of foam core (recommended since it will be sturdier) or blank poster board to fit inside the frame you want to use.
Next, lay or roll out your wallpaper onto a flat work surface. Play with the orientation to determine which way you want the pattern to face when framed. Additionally, if your pattern repeat is larger than your frame, decide what part of the pattern you want to emphasize/display. I was tempted to cut my words on diagonal, but I realized I could get more complete phrases if I cut it horizontally as the paper was designed.
Next, you will need to trim down the wallpaper to match the foam core/poster board you just cut. With your board lying over the exact part of the pattern you want to display, either trace around it and then cut out, or just take a sharp knife along the perimeter of the board.
Step 2: Stick
With your paper cut to size, all you need to do is attach it to your pre-cut board. If your paper isn’t peel-and-stick, I recommend coating your board with spray adhesive, laying the wallpaper down, and then smoothing it flat with a brayer.
If your paper is peel-and-stick (like mine), simply pull back the top 5-8″ of paper backing…
…and then place it along the top of the board, lining up the two side edges as best you can. Slowly pull away the paper backing and use a scraper to flatten down the wallpaper as you move down the board.
No matter what kind of paper you use, take some time to lift and re-place corners or edges, as needed, in order to smooth out every last bubble and wrinkle.
Don’t leave any bubbles in place because they will be exacerbated once you place your art behind glass.
Step 3: Frame
The final step is to take your wallpaper-covered board and place it into your frame…
…and then hang it on the wall! Like I said…using this idea, you can have inexpensive new art hanging on your walls in mere minutes!
TIP! Don’t have a large scrap to fit into a big frame? Smaller scrap are great for rounding out a gallery wall, like the bottom left frame in the collection below.
Framing a square cut of wallpaper is the easiest way to make artwork. However, I have two other wallpaper-into-art ideas that take a smidge more work.
Cut Shapes From Tightly-Patterned Wallpaper
This next idea is great for wallpaper patterns that are small and tight and quite obviously look like wallpaper:
Instead of framing the entire square sheet, cut a silhouette shape from the patterned wallpaper. I used my Cricut, but you could easily find a shape you like via Google and trace it onto your wallpaper.
Once cut out, adhere the wallpaper shape to a solid-colored board that can then be loaded into a frame.
Repeat the process with other wallpaper scraps to make an interesting yet coordinated collection!
(You can see this full tutorial HERE.)
Here are some wallpapers that would work great for this technique!
Cut The Images Out of the Wallpaper
This last idea is opposite from the one above. Instead of cutting shapes out of an all-over pattern, this time cut the large, decorative designs out of the wallpaper. Below I painstakingly cut out some oversized sea creatures from a swatch…
…and then layered them over solids before loading into frames.
This technique is great for using various large-scale components from a single paper to make several coordinating works of art. You can also change the entire look of the paper you start with by swapping the background colors for something that works better in your space!
Here are some papers that would work great for this technique!
Using wallpaper as stand-alone art is a great way to use up scraps, samples, and even inexpensive rolls. Whether you simply frame a square section or cut it apart to create designs of your own, the possibilities really are endless! I hope you give this project a try to, quite quickly and easily, bring some unique designs to your walls!
2 Comments on “How to Frame Wallpaper as Art”
Hello! Thank you for such great ideas, now I know what can be done with a small amount of old wallpaper that I have left from the renovation of my past house, but as you correctly noted, not all drawings can be suitable to make a work of art. It was really very interesting to read. You all explain in great detail and clearly how to do it. It seems to me that with the help of your instructions, you can learn how to frame a picture. The main thing in this matter is a little practice and everything will work out.
So glad you found this post helpful!