Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Be Adventurous! (+ Cheap): Custom-Made Inspirational Wall Art for $1 a Print

If I had a dollar for every time I put a piece of inspirational art up on the wall, then I'd have nine dollars, because that's how much I spent on my most recent DIY project - customized mini-prints to encourage my son to spend more time exploring and less time flushing baby wipes down the toilet. 

Of course there are plenty of text-base art options available for sale these days, (like this, this and this), but we all know by now that if I can recreate something for less than I would pay to buy it, I'm going to give it a try, even if it means burning my finger on a 450-degree hot knife along the way.  The good news is this project was not only injury-free but also, like, really, really easy. And  believe it or not, I did the whole thing on my iPhone, which I was probably a little too excited about, sort of like when your mom finally learns how to text.  

 If you follow me on Instagram, then you may have seen some of these photos already from our recent trip to Virginia:

Finding adventure-themed photos to use was the easy part, given that my son fills his days bouncing back and forth from lifeguard to park ranger to fireman to boat captain (when he's not flushing things down the toilet).  Coming up with phrases was a little tougher because as far as the adventure spectrum goes, I want my son to be more Goonies adventurous and less Into The Wild adventurous.  Explore as far and wide as you'd like, just be home for dinner and don't eat any poisonous berries, mkay?

So here are the instructions on how to make your own customized art for $1 apiece.

What You'll Need:

- Selected photos loaded to your iPhone/iPod/app-using device of choice
- "Over" app (available for $1.99 on the App Store)
- Afterlight app (available for $.99 on the App Store.  Ps - thank you, Jonathan McBride, wedding photographer extraordinaire, for introducing me to this app!)
- PostalPix app (available for free on the App Store)
- phrases for your photos (some of mine include "follow your inner compass", "seek the wonder in the world" and "home will always be a harbor")
- To display them, I simply mounted them with spray mount to scrap foamcore I had from a previous project.  PostalPix has 4" x 4" as well as 5" x 5" sized prints available.  If you'd rather frame your prints, Ikea has 4" x 4" frames available for about $10, and of course there are lots available online, like this, this and this.

What You'll Do:

1. Open the Afterlight app, and select your desired photo from your camera roll (represented by the stack of photos on the right).

2. Select the frame-like icon in the bottom right-hand corner to open the available masks/borders.

3. Under "original", select the circle or square or even a letter if you wish.  You could even spell out your child's name if you wanted. Here's an M (for Mom, natch) as an example.

4. Once you're happy with your photo, save it to your camera roll. Of course you could also use any of the photo editing features Afterlight offers, not unlike Instagram (filters, exposure, saturation, etc.) before saving.

5. Open the Over app.

6. Select your new "framed" version of your photo from your camera roll. Add your desired text.  Play with the fonts until you find one (or a collection of some) that you like.  Save your final version to your camera roll.

7. Once you've completed all your prints in the manner above, simply order your prints. I used PostalPix for the first time, which was the cheapest of the Instagram printing services I could find.  I've used Prinstagram before but found the minimum print quantity restrictive and the shipping fee awfully high.  PostalPix was far superior in both flexibility and price, and the prints looked just a great.  My two cents. PostalPix, call me.

8. I spray-mounted my photos onto foam core scraps I mentioned earlier, but framing them is certainly an easy (albeit more expensive) option.  Here's my little guy admiring my work.

Now if he would just learn to read.

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