It seems it is the classic conundrum. Often it costs more to mount and frame a picture or poster than the cost of the art itself. I found what I felt was a great deal on a set of posters from the Firefly TV Series. It seemed the perfect inexpensive way to cover the bare walls of my apartment. Upon closer inspection they are an odd size that would require customs frames or matting. Because I am not saving these as collectors items and I was looking for a very cheap an easy way to get them on the walls, the following worked flawlessly for me.
While was very inspired by this incredible project by Instructable user Jeff-O, I was concerned that with the time and cost they would remain a project for too long.
Step 1: Setup and Materials
This is an extremely simple project. There are only a few materials and tools we will need.
- Poster board
- Poster to be mounted
- Double sided tape, poster glue or poster stickies
Black (or color to suit) electrical tape.
- Razor knife or Xacto Knife
- Straight edge
- Cutting surface
- Measuring tape
A little patience will go a long way and please keep safety in mind as we are using very sharp razor knives.
The basic idea is that we will be cutting the poster board to the size of the poster, attaching it and then using electrical tape as a "frame." This will provide some visual weight and help keep the edges together.
Step 2: Cutting Down to Size and Mounting
In this step it is important to make sure you are working on a surface that you can cut into. Scrap from the first piece works well, once you have it.
Lay the poster curled side down onto the board and into one corner. It is always a good idea to retain as many "factory edges" as possible. Mark the two edges where the poster meets the board. You can then move the poster along each edge to mark the opposing points (my apologies for not taking more pictures in this step).
Remove the poster and place it and any others curled side down on a clean surface. Lay another sheet of poster board on top with some books or other weight. This will help uncurl them while we are cutting the backings.
Next line up your straight edge (metal measuring stick works great, but a spare bit of poster board is ok if you are extremely patient) with one set of marks. Score the sheet with the blade lightly on the first pass just enough to cut through the first paper layer. Proceed carefully to keep the blade from wandering. Check to make sure you have a scratch piece under the board before scoring two to three more times. Repeat this with the other cut and then again with the remaining poster boards.
Next retrieve your posters and lay them face side down. Attach small (approximately 1-2" long) pieces of double sided tape to each corner, along the edges and in the middle. I ended up using nine pieces for the small posters.
Retrieve a cut section of poster board and find the factory corner (the one you did not cut at all). Use this to line up the poster at one corner holding the rest away. Line up the other top corner and allow the tape to make contact. Work slowly down the poster allowing each set up tape points to make contact. If this is done very lightly you may be able to adjust it slightly. Once you are happy with the placement you can apply pressure to the taped points with a cloth. Repeat for all of your posters.
Step 3: Frame It!
This step is the real key, though it is essentially a visual trick. We are going to be using electrical tape to provide a uniform frame that looks like painted metal or plastic from more than five feet away.
Measure off of each edge about 1/4" and make a few marks along the edge. If you have any waviness or "whoops" on your cuts, this step is your friend. As they say in house framing, "the trim will cover that."
Roll out enough electrical tape to more than cover the edge when relaxed. The tape is stretchy, but any tension will cause the tape to deform and your line will bow. Extend the tape fully and lay it down on your marks gently. you should have more than half of the tape hanging over the edge. Smooth the length of tape down. Flip the piece over and first fold the tape onto the edge and then onto the back. By trimming away much of the edge you can leave just enough to fold back over and hide the corners.
Repeat this for every edge. This is the other tedious part, but a little patience and it will be over soon.
Step 4: Hang and Enjoy!
This is a truly simple project. It does require a slight amount of patience, but little else. Once you have all of the posters completed you can hang them in whatever way you see fit. It accounts for a huge part of this project's budget, but I like the command strips with velcro-type backing. I found two sets in the upper corners worked perfectly. I would still love to have an internet-connected, capacitive-touch, LED enhanced frame, but these are on the wall and I can move on with my life.
Thank you for reading, please comment with suggestions.