The Painted Hive http://thepaintedhive.net Budget Friendly DIY Interior Decorating and Home Design Ideas Blog Mon, 28 Jul 2014 10:06:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Re-Love Project Auctions Are LIVE! http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/07/the-re-love-project-auctions-are-live/ http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/07/the-re-love-project-auctions-are-live/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:03:51 +0000 http://thepaintedhive.net/?p=10468 Continue reading....

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My heart is honestly beating a little faster than usual as I type this.

I didn’t anticipate being so excited-anxious-nervous-enthralled about seeing my pieces, and those of the other ladies involved, go under the hammer!

 Upcycled Map Drawer Style Bedside Tables

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE LIVE AUCTION

If you can see these babies gracing your bedroom (or living room, or office, or kid’s room, or…wherever!) then be sure to bid.

Remember, all proceeds go to Salvos Stores and delivery Australia wide is free! Yes, free national shipping people.

In addition, you definitely have to click here to check out the pieces being offered by the other seven fabtabulous designers, complete with some gob-smacking before and after pics.

Can’t wait for that hammer to fall!

Signature

PS Can’t sign off without expressing my gratitude for the beautiful response I’ve had for this project. Thank you all.

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Re-Love Project…before & after http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/07/re-love-project-before-after/ http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/07/re-love-project-before-after/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 10:57:04 +0000 http://thepaintedhive.net/?p=10306 Continue reading....

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The auction for this pair of bedside drawers is now live (24 July – 3 August). 
Click here to view the listing and place your bid. 
All proceeds will be donated to Salvos Stores and free nation-wide delivery is available so bid generously and spread the word. I’ll love you forever.

Break

DIY Multi-Drawer Cabinet from Laminate Bedside Table | The Painted Hive

This was such a rewarding project.

If you’ve not new here, you’re probably aware of my involvement in the Re-Love Project and what it’s all about. For those of you who don’t know, in short it’s a Feast Watson campaign in collaboration with Salvos Stores which sees eight designers “re-love” a neglected item of furniture with the resulting pieces being auctioned for charity. Pretty cool, huh? You can read my first post about it here and learn more on the Feast Watson website here.

Anyhoo, as revealed in my previous post about the project, I started with a very basic laminate pair of bedside tables I picked up for just $25…

Feast Watson Re-Love Project: Before | The Painted Hive

…and a kinda ambitious plan to completely transform them!

Basically, I wanted to “re-love” them into antique-style multi-drawer map cabinets in the same type of vein as my previous flat pack hack, though take it a few steps further and produce a truly authentic appearance. In doing so, along with challenging myself, I really wanted to encourage people to see the potential in those sometimes over-looked second-hand pieces of furniture (which are often affordable and abundant). I’m sure you’re all aware just how pricey genuine vintage multi-drawer cabinets can be so having the ability to create our very own DIY budget-friendly versions is pretty cool, maybe even a little empowering.

Anyhoo, despite a few hiccups along the way, numerous vision adaptations and those customary moments of self-doubt, things actually turned out perfectly and I’m honestly stoked with the results! I can’t wait for the auction (even if I am a little melancholy about having to let them go – at least I now know I can always create some more!).

Here’s how the whole thing went down…

Step 1

Note: As you’ll read below, I cut all of my cladding from sheets of pine ply to save a bit of money and so I could completely customise the size. If you don’t have the tools or confidence to create your own strips from sheets, you should be able to find suitable sized “off the shelf” planks of timber so you need only cut them to length.

I started by carefully measuring the bedside tables then pretty precisely cutting all of the cladding from large sheets of pine ply. This included the faux drawer fronts (30 pieces in total), the shaker-style side trim (20 pieces in total) and the tops and bases (four pieces in total). Remember, I’ve got two tables to work with so all of the pieces and processes are pretty much doubled, having just one item of furniture would probably make things quicker and easier. I used our plunge track saw (an invaluable tool for a job like this) for the long cuts, switching to a basic drop saw for the shorter cuts.

Creating the Cladding

Once all the cladding was cut, I thoroughly sanded each piece, finishing with fine grit paper for a nice, smooth finish. Using a lint-free cloth, I then applied two coats of Feast Watson Prooftint (Teak) diluted around 50/50 with Feast Watson Prooftint Colour Reducer. Because ply is so porous it’s easy for penetrating stains to come out looking way too dark. I tested a scrap of ply with undiluted stain and it appeared almost black (below pic)!

 Feast Watson Prooftint Colour Reducer

The colour reducer was perfect for achieving the exact tone I wanted, which, if I had to describe it, is kinda like a rich honey caramel – yummo! At this stage I also applied one coat of Feast Watson Scandinavian Oil (oh, how I love thee!) to easily seal all of the edges before attaching the cladding to the bedside tables. I used a brush and ensured it was well incorporated.

Feast Watson Prooftint on Ply

NOTES

:: Of course, you don’t have to use ply. I did for a few different reasons; one) to keep costs down, two) because it’s available in lots of different sizes and depths so I could completely customise my cladding, and three) because I wanted that slightly raw, industrial look – and contrary to what might be considered crude, I actually especially like the appearance of the multi-toned ‘sandwiches’ where the interior layers are exposed. If you don’t have the confidence or tools to create your own cladding from sheets of ply, or if you’d simply prefer to save the time and effort involved, you should be able to find suitably sized “off the shelf” timber planks instead. It just might mean spending a little more money and maybe being a bit restricted in terms of size. Remember too that some hardware stores might even cut your timber for you.

:: If using ply sheets, take note of the grain direction. I ensured mine was always running lengthways. Also, it’s likely your ply will have a “good” side so inspect your cladding and present the most attractive face. In addition, check your sheets prior to purchase and avoid those with noticeable imperfections, such as cracks or filled knot holes.

:: When taking all of your initial measurements, remember to factor-in the depth of any intended cladding. For example, my bedside tables were 42cm deep without cladding however once attached the faux fronts (which are 6mm deep) increase this to 42.6cm. I know that 6mm might seem pretty insignificant, though over-looking it would have created major problems, including leaving my horizontal side cladding 6mm short and my top and base overhang looking disproportionate.

Step 2

Clearly, the existing modern chrome feet had to go. I originally planned to use these grungy industrial metal castors I had found online, though when I saw them in person decided they were a little too chunky and might compete with all my brass knobs and label holders, making everything look too busy. Also, at around $20 each, although not overly pricey for industrial metal castors, they weren’t exactly cheap. I instead opted for plain timber feet cut down from a length of square pine. Not only do they compliment the shaker style simplicity though they were super affordable.

For ease, I attached them to the bases (using liquid nails and three screws) prior to connecting the bases to the actual bedside tables (once attached the screw heads will be completely concealed).

Connecting the Feet

I finished them in the same manner as the cladding; two coats of Feast Watson Prooftint (Teak) combined 50/50 with Feast Watson Prooftint Colour Reducer and one coat of Feast Watson Scandinavian Oil.

Step 3

Before attaching all the cladding some painting was required.

To create an illusion of depth between the faux drawers I decided to paint the underlying real drawers black. I first thoroughly sanded each drawer front using an electric palm sander then applied one coat of Dulux Wash & Wear Flat (Black) using a brush. I didn’t bother with primer or multiple coats of paint because they were being clad over anyway and only the tiniest amount would be visible.

Painting the Drawer Fronts

I was originally going to clad the entire sides of my tables with solid pieces of ply (like the top and base) though decided that using shaker style trim would be a bit more interesting and leave room to add a subtle colour pop! I thoroughly sanded each side using an electric palm sander with heavy grit paper. Remember, these tables are laminate and I really wanted to make sure any exposed paint was going to stick. I used a foam roller to apply one coat of Dulux Prep Lock Primer followed by two coats of Dulux Aquanamel Semi Gloss (Pastel Mint). Don’t worry about the apparent missed areas you can see in the below pic, the edges are being clad over.

Dulux Pastel Mint

Whilst I was at it I also painted the MDF backs. I know, I know, no-one is ever gonna see them though I think it’s a nice touch for whoever buys the tables. It’s the kinda detail that lets you know someone took care.

Step 4

I started with the drawer fronts, working with one drawer (five pieces of cladding) at a time. To the rear of each piece of cladding I applied a sparing bead of liquid nails, spreading it evenly with a scrap of cardboard (to eliminate any overly thick areas and potential seepage). I then carefully laid each piece in place on top of the drawer. Once all five faux fronts were in position, I carefully clamped them. Bearing in mind the faux fronts will also be held in place with the handle screws, the purpose of the glue at this stage (although a worthy bonding agent in its own right) is really just to keep everything in place and make the process of attaching the knobs simpler.

DIY Faux Drawer Fronts

The sides were a little more tricky. After attempting to clad them on my own and taking over an hour to attach five measly pieces I enlisted some help. Having two people for this process was soooo much easier. Each piece of cladding was smeared with liquid nails and held firmly in place by one person whilst the other person pre-drilled then screwed them on from the inside.

DIY Faux Map Drawer Cabinet Cladding

We started with the front-most vertical pieces. These needed to protrude the existing sides of the bedside tables (as can be seen in the above pic) in order to conceal the sides of the drawers (as the drawers originally sat on top of the sides – as can bee seen in the before pics). So, with the drawers in place we lined up the first piece of cladding perfectly, held it in position then removed the drawers to screw it on. This piece was then used as the guide for aligning the remaining four pieces of side cladding – no measuring or marking took place, it was all done by eye.

DIY Cladding a Piece of Old Furniture | The Painted Hive

The lighting makes the mint look quite white in this photo. In reality it is far more green.

The top and base were easy. A big dollop of glue and five screws driven in from the inside.

NOTES

:: If you don’t have proper clamps, you can use anything heavy to compress the glue while it sets.

:: Make sure your screws are the perfect length. Long enough to penetrate the cladding though not so long they protrude through. I decided to use a combination of glue and screws to eliminate the need to clamp (saving time) and for extra insurance in terms of the cladding bonding.

:: Take care that when clamping or screwing, your ply remains in its intended position. The glue can make it prone to sliding.

Step 5

My favourite part! The process of oiling really starts to bring the piece to life.

Using a brush I applied five (yes, five!) coats of Feast Watson Scandinavian Oil to the timber cladding, ensuring each coat was thoroughly incorporated. The raw, open-grained nature of ply makes it incredibly thirsty so five coats was needed to achieve the gentle lustre I was after. I sanded lightly between coats with fine grit paper to achieve a smooth, even finish.

Danish Oil

Scandinavian Oil (more commonly known as Danish Oil) is my absolute favourite timber sealer. It goes on like water and creates a lovely soft sheen which enhances the natural grain and colour of the timber plus provides a protective finish.

NOTES

:: Be careful with the thickness and number of coats you apply. Scandinavian Oil can become quite glossy if allowed to ‘build’. Ensure each coat is thoroughly incorporated and any excess oil is wiped away.

:: Just in case you’re wondering, as touched on above I applied one initial coat of oil prior to attaching the cladding to seal all of the edges. I decided to complete the oiling process once all the cladding was connected to the tables (rather than whilst it was still in separate pieces) so there was no risk of damaging the finish during attachment. This just meant I needed to take a bit more care not to get oil on the painted areas.

Step 6

I knew from the start that I wanted to do something a little different with these drawers. Rather than using label holders with pulls (which I have done on numerous occasions in the past), I opted for plain label holders flanked by small brass knobs. At first I thought I’d made a mistake and should have stuck to one central label pull, though now I absolutely LOVE the look!

Antique Brass Mini Drawer Knob Handles

Finding affordable mini knobs was tricky. Even the timber ones I came across were pricey. I settled for some I found on AliExpress (Antique Bronze Mini Handles – 42 cents each), though unfortunately they didn’t arrive in time :-( Luckily, the day before the project deadline, I managed to source some similar ones locally (Kaisercraft Brass Treasure Drawer Knobs – 70 cents each). Although they were a little more costly they are perfect. One of the great things about the fact that these bedside tables are actually modern in construction is that the drawers are on smooth glide rollers which, even with the small knobs, makes opening them a cinch.

Antique Style Label Holder Free Printable | The Painted Hive

DOWNLOAD HERE

The label holders are from eBay (60mm x 17mm Antique Bronze Label Holders – $13 for ten). I created some simple number labels on antique paper to fill them (see link above to view and download).

I was a little daunted by the prospect of having to accurately measure and attach 30 small label holders and 60 mini knobs though it actually wasn’t that bad. The trickiest part was ensuring the handle screws were all cut to the right length.

Step 7

As a finishing touch I decided to line the drawers. I was originally planning to use geometric patterned wrapping paper (like a chevron or trellis) though was having trouble finding what I wanted when I had an alternate idea. Given my design for the bedside tables was loosely based on antique map drawers I thought using pages from my old street directory to create a random collage-effect would be perfect! I attached some of the pages using Mod Podge though found that the thinness of them caused some bubbling (nothing major, and it pretty much dried out completely, though enough to bother me) so I completed the lining using double sided tape – simple and perfect.

Map Lined Drawers | The Painted Hive

Project complete!

DIY Multi-Drawer Cabinets from Laminate Bedside Tables | The Painted Hive

DIY Map Drawers from Laminate Table | The Painted Hive

Transformed Laminate Bedside Table into Antique Style Map Drawers | The Painted Hive

Remember what they looked like before? Here are some comparison pics.

Laminate Bedside Tables (Before)

DIY Map Drawer Cabinet from Laminate Bedside Tables (Before & After) | The Painted Hive

How To DIY Multi-Drawer Cabinet (Before & After) | The Painted Hive

How To Create Your Own Map Style Drawers from any Basic Piece of Furniture | The Painted Hive

Some of you might be thinking this all sounds like too much work, I mean, why not just make the whole thing from scratch? Well, it is definitely an option, though furniture construction (at least complex builds involving components like drawers) isn’t really my strong suit. Having a structurally sound starting point saved me a heap of time, effort and even money, not to mention the worry of it spontaneously imploding! Whilst it’s true that there was a bit of effort involved, it wasn’t really difficult, just a little time consuming and repetitive (given there were two of them).

Now, here’s something you don’t see everyday, a photo of….me!

DIY Multi-Drawer Cabinet Hack | By Kristine Franklin of The Painted Hive

The campaign marketers requested one so I thought I may as well share :-)

Remember, along with the pieces of the other seven designers involved with this campaign, these babies are being sold for charity, so if you love them (or know someone else who would) be sure to stay tuned! I’m not across all the eBay auction deets yet, though can tell you they go live on Thursday 24 July. In addition, I’m excited to let you know that Feast Watson will be covering shipping costs Australia wide! How awesome is that? So, whether you’re in Brisbane or Broome you’re in no way disadvantaged (of course, if you’re located outside Australia you are more than welcome to arrange your own freight). I’ll be sure to post again once the auctions go live!

Signature

PS Lots of hugs and kisses to my wonderful husband who helped immeasurably with this project.

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A Master Bedroom Makeover http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/06/a-master-bedroom-makeover/ http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/06/a-master-bedroom-makeover/#comments Wed, 11 Jun 2014 12:27:11 +0000 http://thepaintedhive.net/?p=9612 Continue reading....

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Simple Budget Friendly Bedroom Makeover | The Painted Hive

Just as promised here is the reveal of my parent’s refreshed master bedroom!

I know, crazy right? I must be getting efficient or something. I hope you were sitting down.

Anyhoo, as eluded to in an earlier post, it’s not one of those “full-on” kinda makeovers though the change is still pretty substantial and mum is just rapt! Just goes to show, you don’t always have to go “all out” to make a major difference, and it doesn’t need to be perfect to make you smile.

Here are some of the lovely before shots…

Easy Bedroom Makeover Before

Budget Friendly Bedroom Redo Before

Bedroom Makeover Before | The Painted Hive

Budget Friendly Master Bedroom Makeover | The Painted Hive

As you can see, it’s a pretty great space, just neglected and out-of-date.

Aside from some new carpet (which was sorely NEEDED), a fresh DIY window treatment and the addition of an affordable iron bed, credit for the transformation can be vastly attributed to some thoughtful re-accessorising. We didn’t paint any walls or furniture, change light fittings, or buy new bedside tables. We didn’t transform the wardrobe doors, switch-out the dresser, or even replace the basic mirror above it. We worked with what we had (for the most part) and in doing so discovered just how rewarding the challenge, and surprisingly successful the outcome, can be.

So, was it a lazy girl’s make-over? Well, I like to think of it as smart :-)

Here are the afters…

Classic Master Bedroom Makeover After | The Painted Hive

Simple Budget Friendly Bedroom Makeover | The Painted Hive

Bedroom Before and After (Simple Makeover) | The Painted Hive

Bedroom Before and After | The Painted Hive

The bedside tables and dresser hold sentimental value and are still perfectly functional and in great cosmetic condition so we kept them. And although we did consider it, in the end we didn’t even switch out the hardware or paint them. We’ve actually done a really great job of convincing ourselves that rather than being old-fashioned in a drab and out-dated kinda way, they are actually old-fashioned in a quaint and unpretentious way. And instead of the orange-toned timber being garish and dowdy, we’ve decided it is in fact quite fitting, playing nicely off the cool whites and earthy greens, adding needed warmth and depth (I actually quite like orange-toned timber, especially when teamed with navy blue, and think it’s going to make a resurgence some time soon – if it hasn’t already).

Bedroom with White Iron Bed | The Painted Hive

The new iron bed is from Early Settler. Mum picked it up on sale a few months ago for just $290. The white bedspread is from Spotlight and the green velvet cushions (which were just $4 each!) are from Target. The accent throw is actually a second bedspread, so mum can always switch them around if she ever feels like more punch. It features a really lovely over-sized damask ikat and adds just the right amount of pattern. And, here’s a tip…if, like me, you like your bed to look as perfect each day as the first time you made it, opt for quilted or embossed bedding. It doesn’t wrinkle easily and always appears fresh and plump.

Classic Master Bedroom Redo | The Painted Hive

I talked about the fern prints in this previous post where I offer them for free download! The gold frames are cheapies from The Reject Shop. They echo the brass wardrobe door surrounds perfectly.

Budget Friendly Bedroom Before & After | The Painted Hive

The pretty (yet not so practical) window dressing you can see is actually little more than a disguise to conceal the practical (yet not so pretty) window covering you can’t see. Confused? Well, both mum and I love the look of soft curtains paired with timber blinds, though for a bedroom also like having something with a block-out capability (to help control both light and temperature). I usually find that block-out curtains hang too stiffly and block-out timber blinds are too heavy to comfortably operate on a daily basis (in fact, lots of timber blinds even come with a disclaimer stating they are not intended to be raised and lowered frequently), plus they can be pricey. So, behind the light-filtering ticking curtains (which mum made herself from inexpensive fabric found at Spotlight) and the timber ‘blind’ (which is really just a valance made from half a bamboo roller shade) lies a very basic though perfectly practical block-out roller blind. It is simply lowered each night, then raised each morning. Oh, I also have a simple trick for creating those perfect curtain tab folds you can see – that’s coming up in a future post!

Master Bedroom Vignette | The Painted Hive

Almost all of the accessories we already had. The retro style alarm clock was a recent Mother’s Day gift. The lamps mum picked up on sale from Target a few months ago. The plates are part of mum’s vast collection of blue and white china and are simply attached to the wall using 3M click strips. The under-bed baskets, which provide pretty yet practical storage, are from Masters – I love a touch of cane in a space, it always adds such a nice relaxed feel and the tone of these particular baskets ties in perfectly with the timber furniture.

Although I am happy with the room and the basic-ness of the make-over, there are still a few things I’d like to add (isn’t there always?). I would LOVE to install some simple faux beams to the vaulted ceiling – how awesome would that look? Mum is kinda hesitant about the idea of nailing wood to her roof. I get it, kinda. Actually, not really. It’s just wood and nails, right? Maybe next time my parents are out of town some ‘fairies’ might make it happen (if you are my mum and you are reading this that last sentence was just a typo).

I also adore the idea of extending the botanical grid right across the wall. Adding an additional six, or even eight, prints at either end of the existing gallery would create such impact. Don’t get me wrong though, the current configuration of six frames is lovely in its simplicity.

In addition, I wouldn’t mind attaching some divisional trim to the mirrored wardrobe doors, making them look like huge french windows. That’d be pretty cool.

Now, here are some side-by-side before and afters just for comparisons sake…

Easy Bedroom Makeover Before

Classic Master Bedroom Makeover After | The Painted Hive

Budget Friendly Bedroom Redo Before

Simple Budget Friendly Bedroom Makeover | The Painted Hive

Bedroom Makeover Before | The Painted Hive

Bedroom Before and After (Simple Makeover) | The Painted Hive

Budget Friendly Master Bedroom Makeover | The Painted Hive

Bedroom Before and After | The Painted Hive

Master Bedroom Makeover Before

Bedroom Makeover  Bedside Vignette | The Painted Hive

Bedroom Makeover Before

Bedroom Makeover  Bedside Vignette | The Painted Hive

Not too bad for around only $600 total (excluding the cost of the new carpet).

Of course, we could have done lots more and created a potentially outstanding room, though sometimes isn’t simple best? Maybe not from a jaw-dropping or Pin-worthy perspective, though perhaps in the interest of creating a more timeless space. I truly admire the commitment and tenacity of people who are willing to decorate boldly and re-work their spaces every other month, though mum didn’t want a trendy room which would need a complete overhaul in another year or so. And, to be honest, I must admit, I do get her thinking.

Smart, not lazy, remember? ;-)

Signature

 

AT A GLANCE
SOURCES
Bed – Early Settler ($290 on sale)
Fern Prints – Free Printables (see link below) Frames – The Reject Shop ($5 each)
Curtains – DIY (fabric from Spotlight - $12 meter)
Bamboo Valance – DIY (blind from Bunnings – $18 for half)
White Bedspread – Spotlight ($60 on sale)
Accent Throw – Just Bedding ($140)
Green Velvet Cushions – Target ($4 each – covers only)
Under Bed Baskets - Masters ($20 each)
Lamps – Target ($18 each on sale)
Ceramic Garden Stool – Roadside Find ($0)
Silent Sweep Retro Style Alarm Clock – eBay ($25)
PROJECTS
Free Fern Printables

 

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Re-Love Project…an up-cycling journey http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/06/re-love-project-an-up-cycling-journey/ http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/06/re-love-project-an-up-cycling-journey/#comments Thu, 05 Jun 2014 11:12:51 +0000 http://thepaintedhive.net/?p=9965 Continue reading....

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If, when it comes to furniture, terms like ‘re-loved’ and ‘up-cycled’ get your heart a-pumping, then this just may be the creative crusade for you!

I make no secret of my passion for transforming the ‘drab’ into something a little more ‘fab’ (if I do say so myself :-), so when I was invited to participate in the Feast Watson Re-Love Project, after I stopped looking over my shoulder for this ‘designer’ they kept referring to, my response was a big fat “YES”! Not only was Feast Watson a brand I already used and loved, though the campaign also provided an opportunity to ‘give back’.

You see, more than mere product promotion, the Re-Love Project is actually a charitable collaboration between Feast Watson and Salvos Stores. The project follows eight designers (there’s that word again!) as they each transform a neglected item of furniture. Things culminate in all completed pieces being auctioned for charity – so fantastic!

Feast Watson Re-Love Project: Before | The Painted Hive

I picked up this pair of laminate bedside tables for just $25! Although they might look okay-ish, and are certainly structurally excellent, they actually have lots of cosmetic wear and, let’s face it, are just plain ‘meh’. I wanna take their current status from generic to unique – and hopefully demonstrate how anyone can do the same!

Being Feast Watson related, the refurbishment will have a focus on wood-care products.

Hang on. Hold up a second. Wood-care products? Didn’t you just state these are laminate bedside tables?

Oh yeah, you’ve got me there, and I do realise laminate is far from timber, though I have (crazy) plans to completely clad the tables in a similar-ish fashion to my hacked flat-pack. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? This may be more of a re-invention than a re-love!

Regardless, I do want to keep things as do-able as possible and am so excited about sharing this journey with you.

You can check out what the other seven talented designers are doing here.

Signature

Pssst….the before and after reveal of my parent’s refreshed bedroom should be coming up next week!

 

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Free Art Printables: Finding, Setting-Up & Printing Large-Scale Images http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/05/free-art-printables-finding-setting-up-printing-large-scale-images/ http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/05/free-art-printables-finding-setting-up-printing-large-scale-images/#comments Tue, 27 May 2014 12:09:37 +0000 http://thepaintedhive.net/?p=9831 Continue reading....

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PART III: SETTING-UP & PRINTING LARGE-SCALE IMAGES

This is the final post in a three part series.
Post one covered understanding and editing free printables.
Post two covered setting-up and printing images at home.

How To Customise and Print Perfect Large-Scale Art from Free Printables | The Painted Hive

In my opinion, wall décor can be one of the most important aesthetic components in a space. It generally sits at a level which commands attention and consequently sets a tone for the room as a whole. One of my favourite forms of wall décor to incorporate in a space is large-scale art – done right, its presence wields the power to pack one mightily lovely visual punch! Sadly though, more often than not, oversized prints are just far too pricey or elusive. It’s fortunate then, that with a little knowledge and resourcefulness, we can essentially produce our very own large-scale art – and all at a totally do-able price!

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Of course there are heaps of alternate ways to go about setting-up large-scale art for print. There are also loads of different options when it comes to having large-scale images printed.

The following article merely outlines my preferred method based on personal experience. It pertains to large poster-like prints, not huge wallpaper-type murals. The tutorial focuses on using a purpose editing program (see note below) to perfectly customise images before having them printed through the Officeworks online print and copy serviceAlthough my tutorial pertains specifically to Officeworks (which is the service I tend to use) much of what I share can be easily transferred to other online print services. You can, of course, also choose to visit a print center in person.

Note: In order to ensure the outlined ‘set-up’ process described in my tutorial can be accomplished by everybody, I have included instructions for two different editing programs; Photoshop (CS4 – which is fantastic though expensive) and GIMP (2.8 – which is a Photoshop-like program that can be downloaded by anyone for FREE!).

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SO WHAT EXACTLY IS A LARGE-SCALE IMAGE ANYWAYS?
You’d think an explanation wasn’t really warranted, right? In it’s physical form, the name is pretty self-explanatory, though understanding the digital mode can be a little more complex.
Physically, a large-scale image is just that – an oversized, poster-like print. To me, a large-scale image is any print which has at least one side sized over around one meter (one yard) in length.
Digitally, large-scale images are technically those that have generous physical dimensions. However, resolution (or quality, measured in Pixels Per Inch – PPI) can also play a role (to better understand resolution and scale, refer to my first post in this series).

Let’s say you find an image online. You download it and open it in an editing program (such as Photoshop or GIMP) to check its size attributes (detailed instructions for locating the size attributes are outlined in my tutorial below). It’s 120cm/41″ wide x 160cm/63″ high at 72 PPI.

Photoshop and GIMP Image Size

Whoa! That’s certainly large in scale though also low in resolution. The resulting print would have some discernible pixelation (though only when viewed at quite close proximity). I would recommend simply increasing the resolution (300 PPI is standard for print though anything from 180 PPI should be fine) whilst maintaining the physical dimensions (for further information and more detailed instructions for altering resolution refer to my first post in this series). Although this can introduce some minor blur (as the program ‘invents’ new pixels based on neighbouring ones) it does eliminate the more obvious pixel blockiness. This alteration of the number of pixels in an image is known as ‘Resampling’.

Now, let’s say you find an image that is only 30cm /12″ wide x 40cm/15″ high at 1200 PPI.

Image Sizes

Poo! Although far from tiny it’s also far from large. Though, before you disregard it on grounds of physical dimensions alone, take a look at that stonking high resolution – 1200 PPI! In most print scenarios that level of quality is simply superfluous. Either the printer won’t have the ability to out-put that level of detail or it would have little to no visual effect on the image anyway. I would recommend decreasing the resolution to 300 PPI (in line with print standard) whilst maintaining the pixel dimensions (this is the opposite of ‘Resampling’). Because the pixel dimensions must remain constant, any change in resolution automatically forces a compensatory change in size, and vice-versa. In the case of this image, a decrease to 300 PPI (the original resolution divided by four) causes an increase in size to 120cm/41″ wide x 160cm/63″ high (the original image dimensions times four) with no loss of ‘information’. Score! You could also play with lower resolutions to create even bigger (huge-ish) prints!

Finally, let’s say you find an image that is 15cm/6″ x 20cm/8″ at 96 PPI.

Image Size Properties - Photoshop/GIMP

Hmmm. There’s not much you can do to significantly enlarge an image with these size attributes without completely depleting the quality or altering the appearance (such as playing with artistic filters, like painterly effects or obvious textures). Lowering the resolution in an attempt to enlarge the image would only result in a minor size increase whilst further depleting the print quality. Increasing the resolution in an attempt to make the image much larger would result in obvious blur. When you’re looking to create a large-scale print and come across a digital image with properties like this, unfortunately you’re best to keep on searching.

Note: Whilst for the purpose of this post I am focussing on using general-purpose photo editing programs (Photoshop & GIMP) there are some dedicated image enlargement programs designed specifically for precision resampling which tend to produce crisper enlargements. I usually find general-purpose editors fine for my purposes, though depending on what you’re enlarging you might want to try a purpose enlarger. There are both free and premium (paid) options (some are stand-alone programs, some are extension plug-ins for existing programs like Photoshop). A few I have come across: Perfect Resize 8 (from $50), Smilla Enlarger (free) and Ben Vista Photo Zoom (over $200).

ACCEPTABLE PRINT RESOLUTION (QUALITY) FOR LARGE-SCALE IMAGES
How often do you actually examine your wall art? Especially from closer than, say, half a meter (1 foot) away? Maybe with the exception of inspecting the odd photograph, practically never.

Whilst the standard for general printing is 300 PPI, which is a good rule of thumb (and required for professional-looking documents, especially those containing text – such as brochures, flyers, leaflets), in certain scenarios it’s simply not necessary. Consider billboards. Their resolution can be as low as 3 PPI. That amounts to only 9 pixels per square inch! I’m sure you can imagine how obviously blocky that would appear at close proximity though when viewed at relative distance billboards appear smooth and sharp. Similarly (kinda), large-scale art is designed to be viewed from a slight distance. Also, by nature, elements within large-scale art are themselves generally large. This provides wiggle room where crispness is concerned so pristine quality isn’t essential.

When I started working with free printables, I knew nothing about resolution. I printed several large-scale images at 72 PPI, and to be honest, I found them great! Some minor pixelation becomes observable from as close as 20cm/8″ away, though for me even the small text in my vintage maps was legible enough. Knowing what I know now however, I usually like to increase the resolution prior to print. I find anything from 180 PPI fine, though where possible I do aim for 300 PPI. Anything above 300 PPI is usually redundant. Remember, the more you increase the resolution of an image through resampling, the higher the possibility of introducing some blur (caused by the ‘invention’ of new pixels).

Keeping in mind that computer monitors fail to give an accurate visual indication of print quality (they display images based on pixel dimensions, not resolution) and the subsequent unpredictability of said print quality, if you’re ever unsure I recommend playing with a few different resolutions and printing test patches prior to final printing. It may also be beneficial to view your image at print size (detailed instructions for how to view at print size are outlined in my tutorial below), rather than by actual pixels. Although not 100% accurate, this can help give a rough idea of print quality

Here’s an example which demonstrates how different viewing modes can impact on perceived quality…

How Resolution Effects Print Quality

Let’s say these images are all 9cm/3″ x 3cm/1″. The ones on the left have a high resolution of 300 PPI (equalling 1063 x 354 total pixels) and the ones on the right have a low resolution of just 50 PPI (equalling 177 x 59 total pixels).

When viewed on a computer monitor by actual pixels the high res image appears significantly larger than the low res image. This is due to the high res image having much more pixels (although both images have the same physical print dimensions). Whilst there is a clear difference in size there is no real observable difference in quality. Both images appear sharp and crisp.

When viewed at print size both images appear equal in size though now there is a very noticeable difference in quality. The low res image is fuzzy and pixelated. This is because there simply isn’t enough pixel information to sustain crisp quality at the specified print size. The existing pixels have been forcibly expanded to the point of blurriness.

Based on this example, I’m sure you can imagine how viewing a large-scale image on your comparatively small computer monitor might give you a false impression of print quality, particularly if the image has been condensed to fit within the screen. Again, be sure to view at print size for a rough idea of quality and always print a test patch if you’re ever uncertain.

Note: The above images are merely demonstrative examples and are not displayed at relative size.

FINDING LARGE-SCALE IMAGES
There are loads of different online resources for free printable art though not all of them offer large-scale images (in fact, most of them don’t). Through persistence (okay, and maybe just a tad of obsessive scrounging), I’ve managed to establish a pretty good little collection of places to look and a rough idea of some of the ‘clues’ which might initially indicate a digital image is large in scale (such as the size it presents on a computer monitor or whether there are ‘version’ options). That said, to learn the true size of a digital image you will almost always have to download it first and open it in an editing program to check the attributes (detailed instructions for locating the size attributes are outlined in my tutorial below). Remember, depending on the image, you may need to maximise it or use a provided Download link to ensure you download the full printable version – not just a minimised screen version.

Keep in mind that the resolution values of downloadable images might not always be truly indicative of their quality. As touched on above, it’s easy for anybody to simply increase a low resolution image through resampling. If an image has been recklessly resampled it’s likely the quality won’t actually reflect the resolution (an image with a resolution as high as 1200 PPI could in fact be quite poor in quality). For an initial rough idea of quality, view your image at print size (detailed instructions for how to view at print size are outlined in my tutorial below) and, again, always print a test patch prior to final printing.

For a good place to start searching for large-scale images, feel free to refer to my Free Printables Directory for a few of my fave sources.

In addition to free printables online, you might also want to consider…

Scans: Any printed media can be scanned at a high resolution and enlarged to produce unique, custom wall art. The amount you can successfully enlarge a scan will depend on the physical size and quality of the image to begin with along with the resolution it is scanned at. Consider vintage illustrations from books, magazines and newspapers or antique photographs.

Photographs: Digital photographs are great for enlarging, though do keep in mind that like any digital image, they too have size limitations (here is a great explanatory chart). Also, keep in mind that if you don’t have a scanner, or if you have an image that is difficult to scan, you can try using a high megapixel camera in its place – just be careful with lighting, angle and steadiness.

Premium (Paid) Images: Whilst everyone loves something for free, don’t discount premium printables. You can find some really fantastic and affordable digital images that may have already been optimised for print. Try Etsy or do a few Google searches using keywords like “downloadable art”, “high resolution digital images”, “oversized instant downloads” or “large-scale printables” etc.

CUSTOMISING IMAGES FOR YOUR NEEDS
Once you find a suitable image, chances are some editing will still be required. Whilst customising the size of a printable is in most cases necessary, tweaking the appearance (such as altering colour, increasing sharpness or generally ‘touching-up’) is not essential though can help improve the overall look.

Customising Size: When it comes to editing size, you’ll probably be bound by particular dimensions, such as those of an existing frame or confined hanging space. On rarer occasions you may be free of any specific size requirements, such as if you plan to DIY your own frame or create something frameless, like a wall chart.

Having certain size specifications can make resizing a little more tricky. This is because the aspect ratio (width to height proportions) of any chosen digital image will almost certainly differ from that of your frame/space. After all, the image wasn’t created with you in mind – it’s up to you to make it work! This might mean having to thoughtfully crop or distort an image (refer to my tutorial below for detailed instructions outlining my preferred method for tailoring size).

Being free of any size restrictions certainly makes things easier. You can determine an approximate desired size (ensuring it works with the current size and resolution values of the digital image) and re-scale your image proportionally (maintaining the aspect ratio).

Customising Appearance: Unlike tailoring size, editing for cosmetic reasons is entirely optional. You can make subtle changes, such as altering the hue or cleaning-up imperfections, or bold adjustments, such as adding entirely new elements, layering textures or completely transforming the colour. I usually like to experiment with minor colour and sharpness adjustments. If necessary, I will also sometimes tidy-up imperfections, such as age spots or water marks, though only if I feel they detract from the overall image. In rarer instances, I might edit out or replace text, as unlike pictorial elements, it can appear noticeably blurry or pixelated.

PRINTING LARGE-FORMAT ART
Of course, to produce quality prints, you need a quality printer. There’s little point taking time and care to perfectly optimise a digital image only to print it on an inferior machine. I find that professional printing is by far the best way to go (I personally prefer the convenience and control of using an online print service). Not only is the quality awesome though there are several paper size options (and even different substrates, such as canvas) and surprisingly the price is almost comparable to at-home printing (remember, printer ink is one of the most expensive liquids on earth – if it were wine a standard bottle would cost $3,000!). If you’d prefer to print at home, there are several online tools which will grid an oversized image for print, and some printers even have this option in-built.

If you do choose to print professionally, here are a few factors to consider…

Size Generally, print services offer substrates (the medium the ink is printed on to, of course most commonly paper) in various set sizes (up to a maximum of around 1.5 meters/5 feet in length – if you have a super huge image you might want to consider custom wallpaper) at fixed prices. They tend not to tailor price based on actual image size. This means it’s up to you to choose the most appropriately sized substrate for your image or, where reasonable, tailor your image to fit what’s on offer. At times you might find that the proportions of your image fail to take advantage of the full substrate sheet. If so, you might like to ‘sneak’ some additional smaller images into the ‘gaps’ – I love to do this, it’s like getting prints for free! Conversely, you might sometimes find that your image exceeds the maximum size available. In this case you will need to ‘split’ the image prior to print (then, once printed, reassemble it again – a bit like wallpaper, I guess). It’s super important to keep in mind that some print services might try and auto resize images to fill the chosen substrate sheet. This can result in image expansion, contraction, cropping and/or distortion. This is why it’s imperative that you don’t simply upload your image as is. First, create a ‘canvas’ sized to match your chosen paper dimensions then copy and paste your perfectly sized image onto it (detailed instructions in my tutorial below). The print service will recognise that the document is identically sized to your chosen paper and retain its exact dimensions.

It’s also important to note that in most cases there will probably be some kind of print margin. Edge-to-edge printing is not always available. For this reason I recommend ensuring your image doesn’t completely cover your ‘canvas’.

Substrate Along with offering different types of paper, print services may also supply other materials, such as canvas and polyester. As far as paper is concerned, there will probably be two factors to consider; weight (or thickness) and finish. Weight (or thickness) is measured in GSM (or microns). The higher the GSM (or microns) the denser the paper, with 80 GSM (100 microns) being general-purpose document paper and 300 GSM (380 microns) being card-stock. Paper finishes may include options such as matte, satin or gloss. Depending on the intended use for the print, I normally find that around 100 GSM (130 microns) is fine and I personally prefer a satin finish.

Colour Most print services will have an output option of either colour or black and white. Obviously, select whichever best suits your needs. In relation to colour format, printers generally recommend using CMYK mode which is the standard for print. In most cases RGB is also acceptable. To be honest, I find both fine. The colour mode of a document can be set in Photoshop or GIMP (detailed instructions in my tutorial below). If, like me, you like to push stuff out of your bran by shoving more stuff in, here is some further reading about how colour modes effect prints: RGB v CMYK.

File Type Refer to your print companies specifications for recommended file types. In most instances, PDF files along with standard bitmaps (such as JPG, PNG, TIFF) should be fine.

Service In most cases you will need to select a particular type of service before uploading an image. For example, Officeworks offers ‘Standard Colour Posters’ or ‘Premium Colour Posters’. As far as I can tell, the only difference between the two being the weight and finish of the paper available. Be sure to take the time to learn the difference between particular services to ensure you choose the right one for you.

Cost  Of course the price for prints will vary from store-to-store and service-to-service so do your research and feel confident about your expenditure. Keep in mind that cheapest isn’t always best, and vice versa. Officeworks offers premium colour BO (1oocm x 150cm) posters for around $70. Considering that large format prints can cost hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars in stores, spending around $70 on a huge print doesn’t worry me one little bit! I also don’t mind the marginal price increase for selecting slightly higher quality paper. If you’re considering a different substrate, such as canvas, the price can jump considerably so be sure it’s what you really need. At Officeworks, large-scale canvas prints start at around $120.00.

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TUTORIAL: HOW TO CUSTOMISE & PRINT LARGE-SCALE ART
(or rather, how I usually customise and print large-scale art)

 

Customising & Printing Large Scale Art (Step 1)

STEP 1 Determine the size your final print needs to be.
If you already have a frame, accurately measure the opening (display area). If you’re not restricted by an existing frame (due to the fact you plan to construct your own or create something frameless, such as as a wall chart) roughly decide how large you want your print to be. For the purpose of this tutorial, let’s say I have an existing frame with a display area measuring 90cm/35″ x 130cm/52″.

Customising and Printing Large-Scale Images (Step 2) | The Painted Hive

STEP 2 Find a lovely printable image and check its size properties for suitability.

Search online for a free printable image then download it to your computer (being certain to download the full-sized version). For the purpose of this tutorial I’m using this lovely vintage botanical from one of my fave printable resources – Botanicus (love!).

Once downloaded, check the size properties in an image editing program.

How to check the size properties…

Photoshop: Open Photoshop and go to File>Open, then browse for your image, or find the image on your computer, right click it and select Open With then select Photoshop. Once open in Photoshop, go to Image>Image Size. Take note of the Document Size (Width, Height, Resolution).

GIMP: Open GIMP and go to File>Open, then browse for your image, or find the image on your computer, right click it and select Open With then select GIMP. Once open in GIMP, go to Image>Canvas Size. Take note of the Width and Height (in physical dimensions – you may need to select centimeters/inches from the drop down) plus the PPI.

Image Size Properties in Photoshop/GIMP

We can see that my image has a resolution of 72 PPI and a physical size of 126cm/50″ wide x 176cm/70″ high. Definitely something I can work with. At this stage I usually also view the image at print size to gauge the approximate scale and quality.

How to view at print size…

Photoshop: Go to View>Print Size. Due to monitor variables, Photoshop will not always display Print Size accurately. Here is a great tutorial for rectifying the issue.

GIMP: Go toView>Zoom 100%. Due to monitor variables, GIMP will not always display Print Size accurately. Ensure your monitor resolution is correctly set in Edit>Preferences>Display.

Remember, computer monitors do not provide an accurate indication of print quality as they display images based on pixel dimensions, not resolution. Viewing at print size just provides a visual idea of scale and a rough impression of quality. If the quality appears poor on a computer monitor, it will look even worse in print.

 

Adjusting Image Resolution

STEP 3 Adjust the image resolution if required.

At this stage it’s a good idea to set the resolution at your desired print out-put. As mentioned above, I usually find anything from 180 PPI fine though it’s really a matter of personal preference. If you’re unsure, play with a few different resolutions and print test patches to gauge the difference.

At 126cm/50″ x 176cm/70″ my image is much larger than required to fill my 90cm/35″ x 130cm/52″ frame so before I jump to resampling (and meddling with the existing pixel information) let’s see how much I can increase the resolution simply by reducing the size (thus avoiding altering the pixel information).

How to adjust the physical size (without resampling)…

Photoshop: Go to Image>Image Size. Ensure that Resample Image is unchecked. Enter a new height value based on that of your desired print size (be sure to add a few extra cm’s to give you a bit of wiggle room, and make sure the width doesn’t automatically drop below what is required). Take note of how the Resolution is effected. If you’re satisfied, click OK.

GIMP: Go to Image>Print Size. Enter a new height value based on that of your desired print size (be sure to add a few extra cm’s to give you a bit of wiggle room, and make sure the width doesn’t automatically drop below what is required). Take note of how the Resolution is effected. If you’re satisfied, click OK.

Changing Image Resolution without Resampling

We can see that by reducing the height of my image to 140cm my resolution increased only marginally from 72 PPI to around 90 PPI. I want a higher resolution than that. I think something around 200 PPI should be great so I will have to resample the image.

How to resample an image…

Photoshop: Go to Image>Image Size. Ensure that Resample Image and Constrain Proportions are checked. Select Bicubic Smoother from the drop-down. Enter your desired resolution. You will notice that the Document Size (Width & Height) remain constant and that the Pixel Dimensions automatically adjust.

GIMP: Go to Image>Scale Image. Ensure that Cubic is selected from the Interpolation drop-down. Enter your desired resolution (note that the width and height automatically adjust to retain pixel density, however, in this case we actually want to alter pixel density). Re-set the width and height at your desired size. You will notice that the number of pixels (shown below the width and height) has changed.

 

Creating Large Scale Art (Step 4)

STEP 4 Create a new blank document sized to match what your final print needs to be.

Using the dimensions obtained in Step 1, create a new document to act as a fresh ‘canvas’ for perfectly scaling your image. Add a few cm’s to give yourself a ‘bleed’ area if needed. This will ensure that the edge of your image extends beneath your frame so no white paper will be visible. Keep in mind that if your image has any elements right near its edge they too may be lost beneath the frame. My image appears to be central enough.

Note: I prefer using a new canvas to manually re-scale the image over simply changing the numerical values within the Image Size (Photoshop)/Print Size (GIMP) dialogue boxes because it allows for visual editing which gives greater control over image placement, cropping, distortion and bleed. More information in the following step.

To create a new document…

Photoshop: Go to File>New. Enter your custom specifications for Width, Height, Resolution, Colour Mode and Background Contents. Click OK. Once your new document is open, if necessary go to View>Fit On Screen (I find it much easier to work when the whole document is visible).

GIMP: Go to File>New. Enter your custom specifications. If needed, you can manually adjust the PPI in Advanced Options. Once your new document is open, if necessary go to View>Zoom>Fit Image In Window (I find it much easier to work when the whole document is visible).

Creating a New Document

Above are the values I have selected. Here’s why…

Width: 92cm/35.5″. Based on the display area of my frame which is 90cm/35″ wide. A 2cm/.5″ buffer provides a ‘bleed’ area.

Height: 132cm/52.5″. Based on the display area of my frame which is 130cm/52″ high. A 2cm/.5″ buffer provides a ‘bleed’ area.

Resolution: 200 PPI. In line with that of my image.

Colour Mode (Photoshop)/Colour Space (GIMP): CMYK/RGB. To be honest, I’m not really that fussed about the colour mode I use. For my purposes, I find it doesn’t seem to make much difference. CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key) is generally what is recommended for print. GIMP doesn’t support CMYK natively though you can install a conversion plug-in. If, like me, you like to push stuff out of your bran by shoving more stuff in, here is some further reading about how colour modes effect prints: RGB v CMYK.

Background Contents (Photoshop)/Fill With (GIMP): White. You could also select Transparent.

 

Printing Large-Scale Images (Step 5)

STEP 5 Copy and paste the image into the new document then re-scale and position as desired.

How to copy and paste…

Photoshop/GIMP: In the image document, go to Select>All then Edit>Copy. Move to the new document then go to Edit>Paste.

My pasted image is larger than the canvas of the new document – perfect! Now we can re-scale and position it just as we want.

How to re-scale and position…

Photoshop: Select the Move Tool. A bounding box will appear. Click and drag one of the corner squares whilst holding the Shift key. The Shift key ensures the aspect ratio is retained so the image isn’t distorted. If you want to distort the image, don’t hold the shift key and click and drag anywhere on the bounding box.

GIMP: Select the Scale Tool. Ensure Keep Aspect is checked (so proportions are retained) then click on your image (a grid will appear). Drag as required to reduce the size of the image as required. To distort the image ensure Keep Aspect is unchecked.

Because the aspect ratio of my image differs sightly from that of my frame, I needed to change the proportions of the image a little in order to make it work for me, thus introducing a tiny amount of distortion. This is one of the main reasons I prefer to re-scale manually using a perfectly sized ‘canvas’ (rather than simply altering the numerical values via the size properties dialogue box). Using the ‘canvas’ as a visual guide just makes tailoring the size, scale and position so much easier and more precise.

Rescaling in Photoshop/GIMP

At this stage, you may also want to do any cosmetic editing, such as increasing sharpness, altering hue or just generally ‘touching-up’.

Note: When selecting your image, keep aspect ratio in mind. Obviously, if you have a rectangular frame, choose a rectangular image (or one that can be successfully cropped without looking ‘chopped’). Distorting an image excessively in an attempt to make it work will probably just result in it looking, well, distorted. If you really have your heart set on a particular image which has conflicting proportions to that of an existing frame, remember you can always consider matting it.

 

Printing Large Scale Images

STEP 6 Determine what size paper sheet (or other substrate) you will be printing onto.

Visit your preferred print company (virtually or in person), inspect what they offer and choose the most suitable option. As mentioned above, I generally use the Officeworks online print center. For my image, I’m going to select the Standard Colour Poster service and the BO sized 160 GSM white bond paper ($47). At 100cm x 141cm it’s almost perfect for my 90cm x 130cm image.

Note: If your find the available sizes aren’t suitable for your needs (too small or ill-proportioned) there are some things you can do. Refer to my note in Step 8.

 

How To Print Large Format Images

STEP 7 Create another new blank document sized to match your chosen paper sheet (or other substrate).

Using the same process as in Step 4, create another new document sized to match your chosen print substrate exactly.

Creating a New Document in GIMP/Photoshop

Above are the values I have selected. Remember, my chosen paper sheet was 1000mm x 1414mm. Ensure you set the resolution in-line with your previously determined print output (mine was 200 PPI) and the colour mode at CMYK (or RGB) with the background content being white or transparent.

 

Printing Large Scale Art Images

STEP 8 Copy and paste your perfectly sized image into the new document.

Using the same process as in Step 5, copy and paste your perfectly customised image into the new document.

You now have an exact, albeit smaller, digital version of how your finished print will look – substrate and all! We can see that my image sits beautifully on my chosen paper. Make sure you’re happy with everything. If desired, print a small test patch to check image quality though keep in mind that printer quality also plays a role and professional print centers have awesome quality printers (which will probably produce much better results than most domestic printers).

So, why go to the extra trouble of pasting the image into this new document? I mean, why not simply use the already customised image as is? Well, as touched on above, some print services might try and auto resize images to fill the chosen substrate sheet which can result in image expansion, contraction, cropping and/or distortion. Also, seeing just how the image fits and sits upon the substrate lets you know what your finished print will look like exactly. Obviously this helps ensure the result will be just as intended.

Note: Remember, most print companies offer set paper sizes and prices which means you’re charged the same amount for your print regardless of actual ink coverage – so make the most of the entire surface area! This might mean sneaking a few smaller images into any ‘gaps’ if you have an oddly proportioned image and lots of blank space. Also, if you find that your image is too large for the substrate sheets available, you can always split it then either divide it between two smaller documents or attempt to fit it all (jigsaw style) on one large one.

 

Large-Scale Wall Art

STEP 9 Save your document, arrange to have it printed then frame it!

I usually save my images as standard JPG files.

If you plan to visit a print center in person, save your image to a portable device and take it along with you. If you plan to use an online service, visit their website, navigate to the correct section and follow their prompts (remember to select the same sized substrate as decided upon in Step 6).

Here’s the process I usually follow using Officeworks (again, this should be easy enough to adapt and transfer to a myriad of similar online services)…

1 Go to the Officeworks website.

2 Click the ‘Print & Copy’ menu tab.

3 Select ‘Posters & Plans’ from the left-hand sidebar.

4 Select ‘Standard Colour Posters’ (sometimes, if I want thicker paper and a choice of finish – gloss or satin – and am willing to spend a little more, I might choose ‘Premium Colour Posters’).

5 Select the paper size as already determined (if using the ‘Premium Colour Posters’ service also select either ‘Gloss’ or ‘Satin’ from the paper type drop-down at this stage).

6 Click ‘Upload Your Design’, select file and upload.

7 Click ‘Accept Digital Preview & Add to Cart’.

8 Done! To order, visit the cart and proceed to checkout.

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Okay, seriously. Was that one mother of a post or what?

Anyhoo, I really, really, really, really hope you, at least one of you, have found this series beneficial. I truly believe that having this kind of knowledge can be super empowering, especially from a cost-concious decorating perspective. And although at times I know this whole topic can seem down-right dull the possibilities it presents are actually super exciting (or maybe I’m just weird :-)

As always, I’m happy to try and help if you have any questions so please feel free to ask.

Signature

 

This is the final post in a three part series.
Post one covered understanding and editing free printables.
Post two covered setting-up and printing images at home.

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Further to my post from earlier this week (in which I offered a collection of nine free fern printables) I thought I’d share a little botanical gallery love. Hopefully it helps inspire…

Fern Illustrations Gallery Grid

Botanical Gallery Wall

Botanical Print Gallery Art

 Natural Gallery Wall

Botanical Gallery Wall

Botanical Gallery

Fern Gallery Wall

Botanical Gallery Wall

Green Botanical Wall

Floral Gallery Prints

Botanical Gallery Art

 1 | 23 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 78 | 9 | 10 | 11

Have an ace weekend.

Oh, and if these kind of images float your decorating boat, feel free to hop on over and follow along with me on Pinterest.

Follow me on Pinterest!

 

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Free Fern Printables http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/05/free-fern-printables/ http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/05/free-fern-printables/#comments Mon, 19 May 2014 12:26:37 +0000 http://thepaintedhive.net/?p=9496 Continue reading....

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Do you remember when I posted about this budget DIY sconce light update…

Industrial Cage Sconce Light Makeover with Rust Effect Paint | The Painted Hive

…which I mentioned was part of a refresh of the sitting room (conjoined ‘retreat’ off the master bedroom) over at my parent’s house?

No?

Well, that’s okay. I don’t blame you. That was over two years ago now and that little room refresh is still far from minty. Well, I mean, it’s okay, just not blog-worthy or anything (yet).

Anyhoo, whilst that particular space still languishes, we did recently make some serious progress in the adjoining master bedroom! One of the changes being a fresh set of prints for above the bed.

Mum is going for a soothing palette of predominant neutrals accented with deep blues and fresh greens so I couldn’t help but suggest my ‘go-to’ of antique fern illustrations – to me, they are just so amiable!

Although we only hung six prints above the bed (I’ll be sure to share pics soon!), I am offering a collection of nine botanical images. These illustrations are originally from Botanicus (more specifically, from this reference book: The Ferns of Great Britain and Ireland by Thomas Moore). I have optimised each image for print, including having completely recreated the text elements for crispness, and re-sized them to fit standard 11″ x 14″ frames. Of course you could always shrink them to fit smaller frames if desired, or matte them and use even larger frames.

Free Fern Printables | The Painted Hive

I chose to retain all the imperfections (aka perfections!) visible on the scanned pages; watermarks, age spots, discolouration – I think they add interest, charm and a sense of authenticity.

These prints would make a beautiful statement in so many different configurations…a grid above a sofa, a horizontal line in a hallway, a haphazard cluster in a corner, a pair of vertical rows flanking a hutch or window.

Download this collection of nine high resolution 11″ x 14″ botanicals below.

Free Botanical Printables PDF

Here’s an example of one larger image to give you a better idea of what they really look like…

Collection of Nine Free Fern Printables | The Painted Hive

If you’d like a larger preview of all images in the collection prior to download, simply click here.

If you have a good quality large format printer you could always print theses at home though I recommend having them professionally printed for best results. I used the Officeworks online ‘Document Printing’ service (only $2.08 per print – so much cheaper than the comparable photo prints which cost almost $14 each!) and was super pleased with the quality.

Note: Ensure image proportions are retained during printing. If printing at home be certain that “fit to frame” (or equivalent) is not checked and all other printer options are correctly set. If printing professionally, make sure auto re-scaling isn’t applied. To remove any doubt regarding out-put size, I recommend first placing each image onto a digital ‘canvas’ sized to match your chosen printer paper. For example, I printed my images onto A3 sized paper so I first created an A3 sized document (in Photoshop, though you could use GIMP) then copy and pasted each image into it before saving them individually. Need more info or advice? Feel free to ask – I’m happy to try and help :-)

Anyhoo, enjoy!

Oh, and BTW…although it’s not totally spectacular or anything (it’s more one of those “power or accessorising” kinda makeovers) I hope to share some before and after pics of my parent’s refreshed bedroom soon, so keep an eye out!

 

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Free for personal, non-commercial use only.
Consent to edit and share these images was expressly granted by Botanicus - thank you!

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Flat Pack Hack: Chalkboard Faux Specimen Drawers http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/04/flat-pack-hack-chalkboard-faux-specimen-drawers/ http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/04/flat-pack-hack-chalkboard-faux-specimen-drawers/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 11:47:54 +0000 http://thepaintedhive.net/?p=9356 Continue reading....

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DIY Chalkboard Faux Multi-Drawer Hack with Card File Pulls | The Painted Hive

Flat-Pack. Knock-Down. Ready-To-Assemble. Whatever you wanna call it, there’s no denying the practicality, affordability, versatility and accessibility of this very basic form of ‘boxed’ furniture. Unfortunately though, often times there’s also no denying the generic, cheap and mass-produced appearance – luckily, however, there is always hiding it!

A little bit of elbow grease along with some head-cocked, squinty-eyed imagination can see any dime-a-dozen piece transformed into something that looks a million bucks (well, kinda). And anyone can do it!

If you read my blog from time to time, you may have seen this recent post outlining my plan(ish) for reinventing a very basic melamine storage unit from The Reject Shop with the help of some White Knight paint products (amongst other things). I was unsure how achievable my initial vision was so the whole idea was disclosed in a pretty ambiguous way (so there was plenty of wiggle room to pretend I always intended for it to turn out just the way it did – though surprisingly it ended up pretty much as I had planned – maybe even better!).

I’ve had this idea in my head for years. There’s a lot to love about multi-drawer cabinets, though the commonly exorbitant price tag isn’t one of them. Also, whilst lots of little drawers are great if you have heaps of small knick-knacks or flat stuff to store, they can be a bit impractical for the more general sorta stuff…like toys, and toys, and maybe even toys (do you kinda get the feeling I’m drowning in toys at the mo’?). Of course, if you’re fortunate enough not to have to swim through toys, you can store other paraphernalia :-)

Anyhoo, here’s how the whole makeover thing went down…

Supplies: Flat Pack Hack with Artificial Drawers

1 Storage Unit
As mentioned above, I used a very basic melamine set of drawers from The Reject Shop ($40).

2 Timber
I used a sheet of 900mm long x 60omm wide x 12mm deep MDF for the top and base (which I cut to size – $12) and a sheet of 900mm long x 40omm wide x 7mm deep ply for the faux drawer fronts (which I cut to size – $14).
Note: I used panels of timber which I could custom cut myself to save some cashola (around $60). If you’re not confident cutting timber, or if you don’t have the right tools, (or if you simply want to make the whole project quicker and easier), you can find more ‘ready-to-use’ alternatives or have your pieces cut to size at the hardware store.

3 Adhesive
I used Liquid Nails.

4 Caulk
I used Spak Filla.

5 Paint
I used White Knight Chalkboard Paint in Black for the entire storage unit and White Knight Metal Guard in Brass for the castors.
Whilst the intended use for chalkboard paint (that of creating a functional surface which can be easily written/drawn on with chalk) is obvious, the value of it as a stand-alone texture is often overlooked. For this project I actually chose to use chalkboard paint, not to create a functional surface to write/draw on (although this is of course a possibility), though primarily to produce a beautifully rustic graphite-like appearance – love!

6 Handles
I used antique brass card holder pulls from eBay ($14 for 10). LOVE these!
Note: Slightly different from the one pictured above in the supplies collage.

7 Castor Wheels
I used 50mm industrial swivel castors from Bunnings ($3.95 each). Bargain!

Create a Faux Drawer Cabinet (Step 1) | The Painted Hive

1 Measure and cut timber.
Top & Base: Measure the overall width and depth of your storage unit. Mine was 40cm wide x 29cm deep (29.7cm deep including the faux drawer fronts). Decide on your overhang (I went with 1.5cm) then add it onto the original dimensions (this made my top and base pieces 43cm wide x 31.2cm deep – remember to double the overhang when adding to the width to allow for protrusion at both ends!). I cut my MDF using our awesome plunge track saw which produces perfect lines. You could also use a circular saw, hand saw or jigsaw (if you have a steady hand!), or have it cut by the hardware store (do note however that due to health and safety regulations most hardware stores will not cut MDF – you could use an alternate material though, like ply or solid pine). Once cut, I lightly sanded the edges to smooth and round them slightly.

Faux Drawer Fronts: Decide on the number of faux drawer fronts you want (I went for four per original drawer – so twelve in total) and the approximate gap you’d like between each (I went for around 3mm). To determine the heights of my faux drawer fronts, I could have divided the total height of my storage unit (minus the cumulative gaps) by twelve, though for accuracy I decided to ‘zone’ the existing drawers (to give me optimal control over the placement of the faux fronts, particularly in relation to the horizontal ‘dividers’ to ensure they were neatly covered). Hopefully this diagram helps explain…

Faux Drawer Dimension Diagram

Zones 1 and 2 are identical, each incorporating one horizontal. Zone 3 is slightly larger, incorporating two horizontals.

Taking gaps into account, my eight upper fronts (for Zones 1 and 2) worked out to be 62mm high each. My four lower fronts (Zone 3) worked out to be 66mm high each. Again, I cut my fronts using our plunge track saw. I was really fortunate not to have to make any vertical cuts because my sheet of ply was the same width as my unit (40cm). Once cut, I lightly sanded each faux front to smooth any roughness, concentrating on slightly rounding each corner to help give the ‘drawers’ a subtle look of age.

Note: As mentioned in the ‘Supplies’ section above, I used panels of timber which I could custom cut myself to save some cashola (around $60). If you’re not confident cutting timber, or if you don’t have the right tools, (or if you simply want to make the whole project quicker and easier), you can find more ‘ready-to-use’ alternatives or have your pieces cut to size at the hardware store.

Create a Dresser with Artificial Drawers (Step 2) | The Painted Hive

2 Attach timber.
Using liquid nails, I first attached my MDF top. Once set (overnight), I flipped the unit over and attached the MDF base – easy.

For the faux fronts, I worked with one drawer at a time (or one ‘Zone’ at a time). For Zone 1, I first held up the top faux front in position against the unit, marked the base of it on the actual drawer then measured and marked the center (of both the actual drawer and all four faux fronts) before removing the drawer from the unit, laying out the faux fronts in position on top (the top front in accordance with my markings and the bottom front in line with the base of the actual drawer – with the two middle fronts evenly spaced between) and adhering them one-by-one using liquid nails. To create a strong bond and eliminate any bowing, I clamped each faux front until the glue was completely set (around 12 hours). I then popped the drawer back into the unit and repeated the process for Zone 2. For Zone 3 I needed to mark positions for both the top and bottom faux fronts before removing the drawer from the unit (as, unlike with Zones 1 and 2, the bottom front in Zone 3 overhangs the base of the drawer – to conceal the horizontal). This whole step sounds much more complicated in theory than in practice!

DIY Faux Drawer Cabinet (Step 3) | The Painted Hive

3 Counter-sink visible screws and fill holes.
I know visible screws can look industrially awesome on the right piece, though I don’t think my $40 flat pack is one of those! In fact, to me, visible screw heads are usually one of the dead-set giveaways of cheap production-line furniture. To conceal my screw heads, I simply drove them in a couple of millimetres using some good ol’ fashioned brute force. I then filled the depressions with caulk and sanded to a smooth finish once dry. If brute force isn’t enough to recess your screws, you may need to drill out a shallow depression first.

 DIY Chalkboard Multi-Drawer Dresser (Step 4) | The Painted Hive

4 Paint!
To give my melamine some ‘tooth’ to grip the paint, I first sanded it using medium grit paper before making sure it was thoroughly clean. White Knight recommends an undercoat of Grip Lock Primer on melamine though I’m a bit of a rebel so I went straight for the chalkboard paint (if you’re a stickler, feel free to use primer). I applied two coats of White Knight chalkboard paint by hand using a brush, allowing drying time between applications.

Brass Spray Painted Steel Castor Wheels | The Painted Hive

At this stage I also spray painted my castor wheels using White Knight Metal Guard. To age the perfect new finish, so the wheels better tied-in with my pulls, I also dry brushed them sparingly with some brown acrylic paint to give them a slightly tarnished appearance.

Chalkboard Drawers (Step 5) | The Painted Hive

5 Season with chalk then attach hardware.
The fun part! It might feel a little daunting to scribble all over your perfect black paintwork, though the results are totally worth it. Seasoning the paint produces a distressed slate-like appearance with subtle contrast and natural imperfections that, in my opinion, is just lovely! I simply coated my entire unit with a fine layer of chalk (using the side of a fat stick) then wiped it away in a haphazard fashion using a felt duster. I also experimented with randomly flicking the unit with a damp cloth to create extra areas of tonal variation for a more grungy look.
Note: I seasoned my unit prior to attaching the pulls so they wouldn’t obstruct the process.

Library Card Catalogue Pulls | The Painted Hive

Once the unit was seasoned and the pulls were attached, I ummed and ahhed over using the castor wheels. I thought they might detract from the vintage-style simplicity and increase the already masculine feel too much. Though I decided to attach them knowing they can always be easily removed. I like them, though I’m not 100% convinced. For a boy’s room they are ideal. Maybe in the future, depending where I choose to use the unit, I might switch them out for something a little less industrial and more refined, like porcelain castors.

To finish off the pulls, I created some tab in-fills using a digital antique paper texture and handwritten script font (Notera). Because my unit has the appearance of specimen drawers, I decided to use scientific botanical names on my labels. I have attached my file as a downloadable printable if you’d like to use them too :-)

Antique Style Card Catalogue Label In-Fills | The Painted Hive

Twelve Antique Style Labels with Scientific Botanical Names
DOWNLOAD HERE

6 Finished!
Style it up, stand back and admire your awesomness :-)

Budget Flat Pack Hack: DIY Chalkboard Faux Specimen Drawers | The Painted Hive

It’s hard to believe this is truly that same melamine storage unit. Maybe the tag line for step six should actually be “Hocus Pocus Alakazam!”.

Transform a Flat Pack into a Card Catalogue | The Painted Hive

I am super happy with how this little hack turned out! I think it’s easy for imagined outcomes to fall short in reality, though the result of this project actually exceeded my expectations – gotta love that!

DIY Faux Multi-Drawer Cladding (a cheap flat-pack/knock-down is transformed into a library catalogue) | The Painted Hive

As you can see, I failed to ‘fancy-up’ the drawer interiors. I’m good at neglecting stuff like that. I think a nice spearmint colour would look pretty on the drawer sides (and would probably make my photo much more Pinnable – we Pinners do seem to be suckers for a good jazzed-up drawer interior :-) Perhaps one day that’ll happen. Perhaps.

DIY Faux Multi-Drawer Chalkbaord Cabinet Redo | The Painted Hive

As mentioned in my first post about this project (covering my plan for the hack), recently I’ve been going kinda crazy due to a build-up of creative energy (it’s hard to dedicate time to personal projects with four cute and persistent hands clutching at your track pants). So now, not only do I have a pretty cool, and completely unique, piece of custom furniture, though also affirmed faith in the therapeutic power of DIY and a renewed sense of excitement about actually getting stuff done – maybe even half decent stuff!

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This post is sponsored by White Knight Paints
All ideas and opinions are my own.

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A New Project http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/03/a-new-project/ http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/03/a-new-project/#comments Tue, 18 Mar 2014 11:51:30 +0000 http://thepaintedhive.net/?p=9154 Continue reading....

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Do you ever feel like your creative ideas are just gonna burst right out of your brain in the form of some crazy kinda full body fire stomping dance?

That’s me at the moment.

Over the past few months my kid’s nap times have been totally outta sync, or completely non-existent, which has meant lots of time for singing nursery rhymes, building gravity-defying block towers and reading ‘There’s a Wocket in My Pocket’ (over, and over, and over, again) though zero time for any of my own satiating creative dabbling (and I’m beginning to get just a little bit nervous that random strangers are going to start mistaking my developing facial twitch for some kind of unorthodox flirtatious wink).

Enough already! It’s finally time to make some time.

A few weeks ago I spotted a totally plain yet perfectly practical flat-pack (knock-down) set of drawers in a The Reject Shop catalogue. It reminded me of a long forgotten furniture ‘hack’ idea that I realised I’m still really keen to try out.

I won’t give too much away just yet, though here’s the general plan…

Flat Pack Hack - The Plan | The Painted Hive

To really release all my pent-up creative tension, I’m going for a complete, and kinda experimental, transformation. That means I’m not totally certain how the whole thing will go down just yet, though I do know it will definitely involve some White Knight Chalkboard Paint and probably some White Knight Metal Guard in Brass. I can’t wait to get started!

Now, just to find that paintbrush…

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This post is sponsored by White Knight Paints
All ideas and opinions are my own.

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Free Art Printables: Customising For At Home Printing (a complete tutorial) http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/03/free-art-printables-customising-for-at-home-printing-a-complete-tutorial/ http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/03/free-art-printables-customising-for-at-home-printing-a-complete-tutorial/#comments Tue, 11 Mar 2014 11:34:38 +0000 http://thepaintedhive.net/?p=8919 Continue reading....

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PART II: SETTING-UP FREE PRINTABLES FOR AT HOME PRINTING

This is post two in a three part series.
Post one covered understanding and editing free printables.
Post three covers setting-up free printables (particularly those of large-scale) for professional printing.

Tutorial: How To Perfectly Customise Free Printables for At Home Printing | The Painted Hive

Aren’t we lucky? Thanks to some lovely, generous, sharing online folk, we have the ability to download awesome images, edit them to suit our custom needs, then print them straight at home – all for virtually no cost and even whilst wearing stripey pink pyjamas – if that’s your thing.

Yep, it’s a pretty dandy way for us budget-concious, DIY-focused home decorators to create potentially AMAZING wall art with the potential to make our modest rooms really pop.

Though going about customisation of digital images can sometimes be tricky. To achieve great results, often quality and size, and sometimes even shape, require precise modification. So, what’s the best way to go about said manipulation?

Well, of course, there are loads of different methods to employ, and of course the best technique is subject to personal opinion. Following - in step-by-step detail – is simply my favoured process. If you’re unsure about maximising the potential of free printables for your tailored needs, hopefully it might help :-)

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Of course there are heaps of different programs to use and alternate methods to employ when customising free printables. The following tutorial merely outlines my preferred process based on personal experience. It focuses on setting-up small scale (standard letter sized – or smaller) images for framing that you can easily print at home (I will publish a future post which concentrates on setting-up large-scale prints for professional printing). Though of course you can always choose to have them professionally printed. In order to ensure the outlined method can be accomplished by everybody, I have created two tutorials; one which uses Photoshop (CS4 – which is fantastic though expensive) and one which uses GIMP (2.8 – which is a Photoshop-like program that can be downloaded by anyone for FREE!).

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TUTORIAL ONE: PHOTOSHOP 
(see below for GIMP tutorial)

Step 1: Customising Free Printables | The Painted Hive

STEP 1 Download a printable image then open it in Photoshop.
Find a printable image online then save it to your computer (remember, depending on the image, you may need to maximise it or use a provided Download link to ensure you download the full printable version – not just a minimised screen version). If needed, browse my Free Printables Directory for lots of great sources for free printables! Once downloaded, open Photoshop and go to File>Open, then browse for your image, or find the image on your computer, right click it and select Open With then select Photoshop. For the purpose of this tutorial I am using this lovely vintage peacock illustration from The Graphics Fairy.

Step 2: Editing Free Printables | The Painted Hive

STEP 2 Check the image size properties.
Make sure your chosen image is sufficient for your needs – in both size and quality. Go to Image>Image Size. Take note of the Document Size (Width, Height, Resolution). We can see that this image has a Width of around 17cm, a Height of around 27cm and a Resolution of 300 PPI. These are great values for the purpose of printing at home. For further information about size properties, how they effect the image and how to edit them refer to my first post (Understanding & Editing Free Printables) in this series.

Step 3: Customising Free Printables

STEP 3 Create a new Photoshop document sized to match the paper you will be printing onto.
Go to File>New. Choose from one of the Presets or enter custom specifications. I have selected International Paper> A4 (standard letter size – with default values as shown). Ensure the Resolution is correctly set at your desired print output (keeping in mind that if your chosen Resolution differs from that of the original image it could drastically affect the physical size – for more information see note in Step 4). Once your new document is open, if necessary go to View>Fit On Screen (I find it much easier to work when the whole document is visible).

Step Four: Customising Free Printables

STEP 4 Copy and paste the printable image into a new layer in the new document.
Go back to the printable image, choose Select>All then Edit>Copy. Go to the new document then select Edit>Paste. We can see that the peacock image fits perfectly on our ‘paper’ (canvas). Depending on the size of your image you may need to scale it down to fit on the canvas. Do this by selecting the Move Tool, then clicking and dragging one of the corner boxes whilst holding the Shift key. The Shift key ensures the aspect ratio is retained so the image isn’t distorted.

Note: If once pasted your image suddenly seems to appear much smaller or larger, there may be a resolution conflict between your new document and the original document. Pasting an image with a low resolution into a document with a high resolution will automatically decrease its size, and vice versa.

Step 5: Editing Printable Images for Custom Frames

STEP 5 Determine the size your printed image needs to be.
Measure the opening of your frame – just the area where the print will be visible, not the overall size. For the purpose of this tutorial, I am using a standard 5″ x 7″ frame (12.7cm x 17.7cm).

Step 6: Tailoring Printables for At Home Printing

STEP 6 Create a new layer and render a shape sized to match that of what your printed image needs to be.
Go to Layer>New Layer. Select the appropriate Shape Tool (I am using the rectangle) and ensure that Fill Pixels is chosen. In the Geometry Options check From Center, click Fixed Size and then enter your dimensions (12.7cm x 17.7cm/5″ x 7″ in my case). Ensure you are working with a colour that will contrast with your background (I’m using black).

Step 6: Shape Creation

Place your cursor near the middle of the canvas and click. Your shape should appear. If necessary, use the Move Tool to reposition it. You now have a to-scale replica of the display area of our frame! This shape will form a precise guide for sizing the printable image so that, once printed, it will fit perfectly within the visible opening of your frame.

Step 7: Working with Free Printables | The Painted Hive

STEP 7 Reduce the opacity of the shape to around 20%.
Move the Opacity slider down to around 20% (or manually enter a value of around 20%).

Step 7: Opacity

The printable image should be quite visible through the now translucent shape.

Step 8: How to Customize Printable Images | The Painted Hive

STEP 8 Using the translucent shape as your size guide, rescale and position the printable image as desired, ensuring there is a slight ‘bleed’.
Select the image layer. Click on the Move Tool. Your image will be framed by a bounding box (identified by a fine outline with eight small points). To reposition the image click anywhere within the box, hold and move. To resize with constrained proportions, click on a corner point, hold Shift and drag. To distort the image, click anywhere on the outline, hold and drag.

Leaving a slight ‘bleed’ (small portion of the image outside the shape guide) provides a buffer which gives you some wiggle room to ensures no unprinted area is visible once framed. Of course, this helps provide a professional-looking finish.

It’s highly likely your image won’t have the exact same aspect ratio as your frame. This means that when resized with constrained proportions, it won’t completely fit within your shape guide (some cropping will occur). We can see that when resized with constrained proportions, my image is too tall – small portions at both the top and bottom fall outside my shape guide (obviously, once framed, these areas will not be visible). Due to the nature of this image, it’s not really a problem (some of the text is simply excluded), however to fit the image in its entirety, I could simply try distorting the proportions.

Step 8: Resizing

Distorting any image will result in some quality degradation, the level of which is dependent on the extent of distortion, and can make it appear disproportionate. I find that much of the time a minor amount of distortion causes no discernible adverse effects, though if you’d prefer to try incorporating an image in its entirety without resorting to distortion, another alternative is playing with some more advanced techniques and tricks (such as extending the image background or, where possible, repositioning certain elements). And of course there is also always the option of changing the physical display area of your frame by using a custom sized matte.

Step 9: Editing Printable Images for Framing | The Painted Hive

STEP 9 Delete or hide the shape, then if desired, view the document at print size to relatively assess the quality.
Right click the shape layer and click Delete, or click the Eye beside the layer to hide it. Go to View>Print Size. Due to monitor variables, Photoshop will not always display Print Size accurately. If when compared to your actual paper the canvas size does not match, here is a great tutorial for rectifying the issue.

Step 10: Modifying Free Printables

STEP 10 Make any modifications.
Here is where you can have some fun! Change the hue and saturation, add a border, increase sharpness, incorporate text, play with artistic filters, tidy-up any unwanted blemishes. The possibilities are almost endless! My peacock image didn’t really need any editing, though for demonstrative purposes, I simply added a cooling filter and slightly increased the blue saturation.

Step 11: Print

STEP 11 Print!
Print immediately from Photoshop (go to File>Print) or save as a JPEG and print later (go to File>Save As). This tutorial focuses on setting-up small scale images so that you can easily print from home though of course you could always have them professionally printed.

For good results, use a good printer and good photo paper. For great results, use a great printer and great photo paper. And don’t forget to select the best print settings. Nowadays, good desktop printers can be purchased for as little as $50 and a great photo quality printer might cost around $150. I just recently bought a fantastic new Canon MG7160 which is awesome!

Framing Free Printables

STEP 12 Trim, frame and hang!
I like to use the frame glass or matte as my guide when trimming the paper to fit neatly inside the frame recess. I simply accurately position the glass or matte over my printed image then trace around the outside of it before trimming away any excess paper. If preferred, you could pre-measure your frame recess and based on the dimensions add a fine border (to act as a trimming guide) to your image in Photoshop prior to printing it.

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TUTORIAL 2: GIMP 
(see above for Photoshop tutorial)

Step 1 Customising Free Printables GIMP

STEP 1 Download a printable image then open it in GIMP.
Find a printable image online then save it to your computer (remember, depending on the image, you may need to maximise it or use a provided Download link to ensure you download the full printable version – not just a minimised screen version). If needed, browse my Free Printables Directory for lots of great sources for free printables! Once downloaded, open GIMP and go to File>Open, then browse for your image, or find the image on your computer, right click it and select Open With then select GIMP. For the purpose of this tutorial I am using this lovely vintage peacock illustration from The Graphics Fairy.

Step 2: Customising Free Printables

STEP 2 Check the image size properties.
Make sure your chosen image is sufficient for your needs – in both size and quality. Go to Image>Canvas Size. Take note of the Width and Height (in physical dimensions – you may need to select centimeters/inches from the drop down) plus the PPI. We can see that this image has a Width of around 21cm, a Height of around 27cm and a Resolution of 300 PPI. These are great values for the purpose of printing at home. For further information about size properties, how they effect the image and how to edit them refer to my first post (Understanding & Editing Free Printables) in this series.

Step 3: Create a New GIMP Document

STEP 3 Create a new GIMP document sized to match the paper you will be printing onto.
Go to File>New. Choose one of the Templates or enter custom specifications. I have selected the A4 template (standard letter size – with default values as shown). Ensure the PPI is correctly set at your desired print output (keeping in mind that if your chosen PPI differs from that of the original image it could drastically affect the physical size – for more information see note in Step 4). If needed, you can manually adjust the PPI in Advanced Options. Once your new document is open, if necessary go to View>Zoom>Fit Image In Window (I find it much easier to work when the whole document is visible).

Step 4: Copy and Paste

STEP 4 Copy and paste the printable image into a new layer in the new document.
Go back to the printable image, choose Select>All then Edit>Copy. Go to the new document then select Edit>Paste. The image will be pasted as a floating selection. Go to Layer>To New Layer (to make the floating selection into a layer). We can see that the peacock image fits pretty perfectly on our ‘paper’ (canvas). Depending on the size of your image you may need to scale it down to fit on the canvas. To do this select the Scale Tool, ensure Keep Aspect is checked (so proportions are retained) then click on your image (a grid will appear). Drag one of the corner boxes to reduce the size of the image as required.

Step 4 Rescaling

Note: If once pasted your image suddenly seems to appear much smaller or larger, there may be a resolution conflict between your new document and the original document. Pasting an image with a low resolution into a document with a high resolution will automatically decrease its size, and vice versa.

Step 5: Editing Printable Images for Custom Frames

STEP 5 Determine the size your printed image needs to be.
Measure the opening of your frame – just the area where the print will be visible, not the overall size. For the purpose of this tutorial, I am using a standard 5″ x 7″ frame (12.7cm x 17.7cm).

Step 6: Tailoring Printables for At Home Printing

STEP 6 Create a new layer and render a shape sized to match that of what your printed image needs to be.
Go to Layer>New Layer (ensure Layer Fill Type is set to Transparency). Choose the appropriate Select Tool (I am using the rectangle), hover anywhere over your canvas then click, hold and drag to create a shape (position and size don’t matter at this stage). Next, in Tool Options ensure Fixed is unchecked and that centimeters/inches is selected from the Size dropbox then enter your dimensions (12.7cm x 17.7cm/5″ x 7″ in my case).

Step 6: Creating the Shape in GIMP

Lastly, fill the shape by selecting the Bucket Fill Tool and clicking anywhere within the shape. Ensure you are working with a colour that will contrast with your background (I’m using black). If necessary, use the Move Tool to reposition your shape. You should now have a to-scale replica of the display area of our frame! This shape will form a precise guide for sizing the printable image so that, once printed, it will fit perfectly within the visible opening of your frame.

Step 7: Working with Free Printables | The Painted Hive

STEP 7 Reduce the opacity of the shape to 20%.

Step 7: Opacity

The printable image should be quite visible through the now translucent shape.

Step 8: How to Customize Printable Images | The Painted Hive

STEP 8 Using the translucent shape as your size guide, rescale and position the printable image as desired, ensuring there is a slight ‘bleed’.
Select the image layer. Choose the Scale Tool then click anywhere on the screen – a few things will happen; a grid will appear atop the image, the Scale dialogue box will pop-up, and the image layer will ‘jump’ to the front (forcing the shape layer to be hidden beneath). The aim now is to resize and position the image so that the desired print area is just covering the underlying shape. There are two ways to achieve this; 1) first crop your image (if required) then manually enter dimensions in the Scale dialogue box which are slightly larger than those of your shape, 2) first crop your image (if required) then manually rescale it so it is just covering the shape – this might take a few stages, a bit of playing around and some repositioning though it is by no means difficult. To resize with constrained proportions, ensure the chain icon (beside the Width & Height in the Scale dialogue box) is linked. To distort the image, ensure the chain icon is unlinked. Whenever you click the Scale button in the Scale dialogue box, the image will be resized as specified, the grid will disappear and the transparent shape layer will ‘jump’ to the front again – use it to more accurately check your size and position. To reposition the image select the Move Tool (ensure that Move The Active Layer is checked in the Tool Options) then click, hold and move.

Leaving a slight ‘bleed’ (small portion of the image outside the shape guide) provides a buffer which gives you some wiggle room to ensures no unprinted area is visible once framed. Of course, this helps provide a professional-looking finish.

It’s highly likely your image won’t have the exact same aspect ratio as your frame. This means that when resized with constrained proportions, it won’t completely fit within your shape guide (some cropping will occur). We can see that when resized with constrained proportions, my image is too tall – small portions at both the top and bottom fall outside my shape guide (obviously, once framed, these areas will not be visible). Due to the nature of this image, it’s not really a problem (some of the text is simply excluded), however to fit the image in its entirety, I could simply try distorting the proportions.

Step 8: Resizing

Distorting any image will result in some quality degradation, the level of which is dependent on the extent of distortion, and can make it appear disproportionate. I find that much of the time a minor amount of distortion causes no discernible adverse effects, though if you’d prefer to try incorporating an image in its entirety without resorting to distortion, another alternative is playing with some more advanced techniques and tricks (such as extending the image background or, where possible, repositioning certain elements). And of course there is also always the option of changing the physical display area of your frame by using a custom sized matte.

Step 9: Editing Printable Images for Framing | The Painted Hive

STEP 9 Delete or hide the shape, then if desired, view the document at print size to relatively assess the quality.
Once you are happy with the size and position of your image in relation to the shape, right click the shape layer and click Delete, or click the Eye beside the layer to hide it. Go to View>Zoom 100%. Due to monitor variables, GIMP will not always display Print Size accurately. If when compared to your actual paper the canvas size does not match, ensure your monitor resolution is correctly set in Edit>Preferences>Display.

Step 10: Modifying Free Printables

STEP 10 Make any modifications.
Here is where you can have some fun! Change the hue and saturation, add a border, increase sharpness, incorporate text, play with artistic filters, tidy-up any unwanted blemishes. The possibilities are almost endless! My peacock image didn’t really need any editing, though for demonstrative purposes, I simply added a cooling filter and slightly increased the blue saturation.

Step 11: Print

STEP 11 Print!
Print immediately from GIMP (go to File>Print) or save as a JPEG and print later (go to File>Save As). This tutorial focuses on setting-up small scale images so that you can easily print from home though of course you could always have them professionally printed.

For good results, use a good printer and good photo paper. For great results, use a great printer and great photo paper. And don’t forget to select the best print settings. Nowadays, good desktop printers can be purchased for as little as $50 and a great photo quality printer might cost around $150. I just recently bought a fantastic new Canon MG7160 which is awesome!

Framing Free Printables

STEP 12 Trim, frame and hang!
I like to use the frame glass or matte as my guide when trimming the paper to fit neatly inside the frame recess. I simply accurately position the glass or matte over my printed image then trace around the outside of it before trimming away any excess paper. If preferred, you could pre-measure your frame recess and based on the dimensions add a fine border (to act as a trimming guide) to your image in GIMP prior to printing it.

 

Like I mentioned at the top of the post, I really hope this info is helpful. I know at first glance the process might seem kinda convoluted and maybe even over-thought, though I promise it is really quite simple and actually makes perfect sense. If, like me, you’ve ever wrestled with customising printables for optimal results, this method just might save you a few extra brow furrows!

As always, if you have any questions feel free to ask – I’m always happy to try my bestest to help :-)

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