DIY Unique Vintage Artwork: Sentimental pictures that are perfect for a big girl room

After we got back from our romantic getaway I was really ready to finish C’s “big girl room.” Most of the big projects were done but I still had a few small things to finish, including some custom artwork. I really wanted this room to hold pieces of Charlotte’s heritage, and this next project was actually the whole inspiration behind the classic, vintage, cheerful feel I wanted to create. I’ve had this copy of Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses since I was a little girl. In fact I’m pretty sure it originally belonged to my grandpa on my mom’s side. Most of the pictures are black and white, but it did have a handful of full page colored illustrations. The book itself wasn’t in perfect condition, so I didn’t feel like I would be damaging a valuable antique if I pulled the pictures out to use for artwork. I am thrilled with the result, and now I want to scour the used bookstores for more vintage illustrated books to cut up re-purpose. This project is super simple, and took maybe an hour to do all four pieces.

– book with pretty illustrations
– x-acto knife or razor blade
– frame (I found these vintagey frames in the perfect pale aqua at Hobby Lobby for half off. Score!)
– mat (also found at Hobby Lobby. They had the color I wanted pre-cut, but you can also have them custom cut a frame for a little more dough)
– windex (always clean the glass before you frame a picture. My daddy taught me that)
– pliers and flathead screwdriver

Step 1: Cut out the illustration with the e-xacto knife

Make sure you cut as close the binding as you can. Don’t press too hard or you’ll cut out more pages than you wanted to. I scored the page on both sides, and it pulled easily out.

Step 2: Tape the picture into the mat

If the paper is thin enough you should be able to hold it up to the light and make sure it’s centered in the mat before you tape it. I just used regular scotch tape, but if you want to get really fancy you could use scrapbooking tape that is acid free. The pages just happened to be a little bigger than 5X7, so I could use a pre-cut mat. The opening is 5X7 and the mat fits into an 8X10 frame. I love how the gold inside edge goes with the hardware on the furniture. I’m all about the details. πŸ™‚
Step 3: Put the frame back together

Start by cleaning the glass on both sides (make sure you do this away from the picture you just matted, since you don’t want to accidentally get water spots all over your art). Once you put the glass back in the frame place the framed illustration face down on top (duh) and then replace the frame backing. I find a flathead screwdriver is the perfect tool for dealing with the little metal tabs that hold the back in place (it will save you many a broken nail, trust me).
That’s it! Of course you can have it professionally framed, but since it’s so easy I highly recommend saving the money and doing this yourself.
Aren’t these prints charming?

When I showed them to Charlotte she clapped her hands and said “they are bootiful,” which is good enough for me. I love that they capture a little girl doing all of C’s favorite things: swinging, digging in the sand, playing in her crib, and leading a group of friends.
I hung them right above her bed, but you’ll have to wait for the reveal post to see them on the wall. Just a few more projects to share first. πŸ™‚
What is your favorite way to make custom artwork? I’m always looking for new ideas!

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