The Painted Hive http://thepaintedhive.net Budget Friendly DIY Interior Decorating and Home Design Ideas Blog Thu, 17 Apr 2014 10:57:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 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 create 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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White Knight Paints

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 will cover 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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DIY Large-Scale Art: Antique Bird Illustrations http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/03/diy-large-scale-antique-bird-art/ http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/03/diy-large-scale-antique-bird-art/#comments Mon, 03 Mar 2014 11:14:52 +0000 http://thepaintedhive.net/?p=9177 Continue reading....

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I’m working on a few projects at the moment though am not quite ready to share any of them yet. So, given it’s been a little while between posts, I thought I would chime in with what I hope is a helpful ‘share’.

If you follow me on Facebook you would probably know that I like to use it as a medium for sharing some of the awesome, budget-friendly, home-related resources I happen to stumble upon during my impromptu online quests of discovery. You may also have seen this post from a week or so ago…

Facebook Post: Awesome Art

As mentioned in the Facebook post, I actually discovered the site (Awesome Art) a few years ago though only just recently got around to checking it out properly. It offers heaps of pretty cool high resolution images for download. Although not free, at around $9 – $14 each they are still great value. You can also purchase complete collections on disk (or via file transfer) for a heavily discounted rate. Oh, and did I mention that all images are copyright-free, royalty-free and can be used for any commercial purpose!

I was instantly smitten with the amazing large-scale museum quality illustrations from ‘Birds of America’ by John James Audubon, which immediately brought this gorgeous living room to mind…

Living Room House Beautiful

House Beautiful

I have loved this room forever.

As simple, relaxed and natural as it appears, according to the House Beautiful article, it’s actually quite a high-end space, with custom pieces and exclusive elements, including the original eagle painting (which just makes such an amazing statement in the room).

Needless to say, for many of us cost-conscious decorators, for the most part original art just isn’t an option. Which is why affordable digital images are actually totally priceless (quite literally in the case of completely free printables). They give us the ability to create our very own ‘custom’ wall art which can look a million bucks for next to nothing and really make our thrifty spaces sing.

Here are a few of my faves from the John James Audubon collection

Birds of America Printable Illustrations

Printable Birds (High Res Large Scale)

Most of these images are very large, measuring around 1.5 meters (60″) on the long side at 300 PPI.

The ‘Birds of America’ collection is just one of many available through Awesome Art. The Vintage Illustrated Posters are also pretty cool, as are some of the Albert Bierstadt landscapes. Depends what floats your boat, I guess.

Anyhoo, I hope this has made at least a few of you silently mouth the word ‘awesome’ and perhaps even sparked a new project in some of your beautiful brains :-)

Remember, if you’re after more art printables don’t forget to checkout my Free Printables directory. Also, I’ll be posting the second instalment (Customising For At Home Printing) in my Free Art Printables series (you can read part one here) later this week…or sometime next week…or maybe the week after, at the very, very latest…hopefully :-)

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Oh, and if you don’t already, feel free to hop on over and join me on Facebook or Twitter for more frequent stumble sharing.

 

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Giveaway: Dictionary Definition Canister Labels…open internationally! http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/02/giveaway-dictionary-definition-canister-labels-open-internationally/ http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/02/giveaway-dictionary-definition-canister-labels-open-internationally/#comments Tue, 04 Feb 2014 10:38:24 +0000 http://thepaintedhive.net/?p=8982 Continue reading....

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This special giveaway is very close to my heart.

About two years ago I published this post and my poor little blog nearly had a heart attack! I had NO IDEA my simple idea would cause such a stir – though I’m so glad it did!

Canister Label Decal Giveaway | The Painted Hive

Aside from putting a big fat smile on my face, the success of that unassuming post also gave me a fresh vitality to create, share and inspire to the best of my ability…and, of course, it was all thanks to you!

I know I say it often, though your readership truly is the foot that pushes my little bloggy peddle!

So today, as a small token of personal gratitude, I’m offering all of my…

Wonderful

…readers, the chance to win a set of SIXTEEN of my dictionary definition inspired canister label decals!

Canister Label Giveaway | The Painted Hive

Label information and specifications can be found  here.

Along with selecting from my pool of seventeen stock labels, this prize also includes up to eight custom labels of your choice!

Dictionary Definition Canister Labels | The Painted Hive

Use these typographic labels to create a beautiful and organised pantry for yourself, or to produce a useful and unique gift for someone special.

And remember, if you’re not lucky enough to win the giveaway, you can purchase these labels from my little online store here.

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Please note that this giveaway is solely funded by myself. Please feel free to show your support through entering – I will love you forever :-)

TO ENTER

Leave a comment on this post stating the title of one custom label (or stock label – if you don’t require any custom ones) you might request if you were to win.

To win, you must be a fan of The Painted Hive on Facebook. If you’re not already, simply click the ‘Like’ box below or visit my Facebook page here.

If you don’t have a Facebook account, please contact me for an alternate means of entry.

 

Commences 4 February 2014 and concludes 19 February 2014.
Open to entrants internationally.
One winner drawn at random.

GIVEAWAY HAS NOW ENDED.
CONGRATULATIONS TO JANET D.

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Free Art Printables: Understanding & Editing…plus a Resource Directory http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/01/free-art-printables-understanding-editing-plus-a-resource-directory/ http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/01/free-art-printables-understanding-editing-plus-a-resource-directory/#comments Tue, 28 Jan 2014 12:46:47 +0000 http://thepaintedhive.net/?p=8188 Continue reading....

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PART I: UNDERSTANDING & EDITING FREE PRINTABLES

This is post one in a three part series. 
Post two covers setting up images for at home printing. 
Post three will cover setting up images for professional printing.

Working with Free Art Printables | The Painted Hive

I think my love for DIY wall art was inherited. Or, at least, subconsciously imposed.

Mum was always filling frames with images from last year’s discounted calendars, out-of-print illustrative books, picturesque postcards, sheets of decorative gift wrap and pretty greeting cards. There was even a whole section in the broom cupboard dedicated to storing her collection.

Now, however, with the emergence of freely available images online, there’s no need to make space on the closet shelf. With little more than a flex of your index finger you can simply download free printables straight to your computer!

I’ve always been a big believer in the visual power of well considered wall décor though sadly many “off-the-shelf” options come with prohibitively hefty price tags. That’s why I’m such a huge advocate for free printables. They offer AMAZING possibilities to budget concious decorators and make adorning your walls with awesome yet thrifty prints easier than ever.

Or do they?

Sometimes understanding and customising images for print can be confusing, time-consuming and down-right frustrating.

That’s why I decided to write this guide. Having used free printables pretty extensively over the years, I finally feel confident enough in my understanding of them to share what I hope is helpful, and maybe even empowering, information!

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The information contained within this article is based on my personal knowledge and experience. I am not, nor do I claim to be, any kind of expert. For clarity, I have attempted to keep explanations simple with links to further reading where applicable for those who are interested. Also, to be all-encompassing, where examples are provided I have used two separate programs; Photoshop (CS4 – awesome though expensive – the program I’m lucky to have and typically use) and GIMP (2.8 – a Photoshop-like program that is available for download by anyone for FREE!).

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UNDERSTANDING QUALITY & SIZE

Quality is determined by resolution. Resolution is measured in PPI (Pixels Per Inch). The more pixels per inch, the greater amount of detail. Naturally, this translates into better quality prints. Too low a resolution can result in discernible pixelation. Too high a resolution is often superfluous.

In general terms, the standard for printing is 300 PPI, though anything from 180 PPI to 600 PPI is commonly used. On occasion, lower or higher resolutions may also produce acceptable results (examples below). You will probably find that most free printables are not technically true ‘printables’ at all. Many are simply digital images designed for screen display, though actually possess low resolution, small physical dimensions and/or quite poor print quality.

Further reading about resolution:
Spoon Graphics: Image Resolution in Print Design
99 Designs: PPI v DPI
About: Resolution

A quick and easy way to discover the size properties of a specific printable image to determine if it is right for your purposes, is to first download the image then open it in an image/graphic editing program (such as Photoshop or GIMP) and locate the size properties.

Photoshop: Image>Image Size

GIMP: Image>Canvas Size

Understanding Print Resolution | The Painted Hive

Take note of the resolution, along with the width and height (in physical dimensions, not in digital pixels). The examples above show the default settings for a standard A4/letter sized document: you can see that the resolution is 300 PPI and the dimensions are around 21cm x 29cm (8.5″ x 11″) – the perfect size and quality for printing at home using a domestic desktop printer.

To get a visual idea of the relative size and a rough representation of the print quality, you can also choose to view the image at print size.

Photoshop: View>Print Size (due to monitor variables, Photoshop may not always display Print Size accurately. If when measured with a ruler the dimensions of the document differ from those indicated in the Document Size settings, here is a great tutorial for rectifying the issue).

GIMP: View>Zoom 100% - ensure Dot for Dot is unchecked (due to monitor variables, GIMP may not always display Print Size accurately. Ensure your monitor resolution is correctly set in Edit>Preferences>Display).

So, what if your image has undesirable properties, such as low resolution or small physical dimensions? Can the resolution be increased? Can the size be enlarged? Might it look okay as is?

 

EDITING QUALITY & SIZE

In terms of visual quality, there are many factors which can influence the acceptability of a printed image. The most important one being personal preference. As such, there is no blanket approach to customising documents and contrary to ‘properness’ there are no minimum standards to abide by (or essential enhancement procedures to employ). Trust me, I’ve broken nearly every rule, often with super pleasing results!

Don’t be afraid to play with resolution, scale and proportions or optimising techniques. If you’re ever unsure how an image might look, isolate a small area (ideally one with some fine detail – such as text) and print a test patch first. Remember, wall art is always viewed from a slight distance so don’t let some minor pixelation, noise or blur upon very close inspection deter you. Also, keep in mind that many free printables are vintage in nature, and the essence of their appeal comes from their imperfect charm. This provides some visual ‘wiggle room’ where quality is concerned.

Just as you shouldn’t automatically discount low resolution, don’t instantly trust high resolution. The poor print quality of some free printables may belie their high resolution values. If an image has been poorly digitised (improperly scanned, edited and/or formatted – particularly, recklessly enlarged or distorted) then resampled (had a subsequent high resolution value applied in order to increase pixel density in an attempt to minimise pixelation), the image will lack quality. Resampling alters the image data by either introducing pixels or discarding pixels. Some degradation is inevitable. Again, if ever in doubt, print a test patch first.

Sure, you could always use your photo software or a simple desktop publishing program for editing and printing purposes, though results may be undesirable, customisation can be restricted and eventually you will probably meet some frustrating constraints, which is why I recommend using a purpose program.

Here are the image size adjustment boxes in both Photoshop and GIMP…

Photoshop: Image>Image Size

Photoshop: Understanding the Image Size Dialogue Box | The Painted Hive

1 Pixel Dimensions: The number of digital pixels along the width & height.
I don’t pay too much attention to these values and never manually change them. If Resample Image is checked they will automatically reconfigure when the Document Size (Width, Height or Resolution) is changed.

2 Document Size: The physical dimensions of the printed image.
For me, the Width and Height are the single most important values when editing art printables. You can adjust the values together (check Constrain Proportions) to maintain the aspect ratio or separately (uncheck Constrain Proportions) to distort the image. With Resample Image checked the Pixel Dimensions will automatically adjust in order to maintain fixed Resolution. With Resample Image unchecked the Resolution will automatically adjust in order to maintain fixed Pixel Dimensions.

3 Resolution: The number of pixels per inch (PPI).
As already mentioned, the Resolution helps determine print quality. 300 PPI is the generally accepted standard. If Resample Image is checked the Pixel Dimensions will automatically adjust in line with the Resolution change. If Resample Image is unchecked the Width and Height will automatically adjust in line with the Resolution change.

4 Constrain Proportions: Retain or distort the aspect ratio.
With Constrain Proportions unchecked you can distort the image by adjusting the dimensions separately.

5 Resample Image: Increase or decrease the image data (add or deduct pixels).
With Resample Image unchecked you can not change the Pixel Dimensions so the Document Size (Width, Height and Resolution) is constrained – changing the Resolution automatically changes the Width and Height, and vice versa. With Resample Image checked, any change you make in the Document Size settings will automatically alter the Pixel Dimensions. A decrease in size forces pixel reduction. An increase in size forces pixel introduction. As mentioned above, resampling an image will always cause some form of degradation. The amount of degradation is dependant on the level of alteration.

6 Interpolation: How the program renders new pixels based on neighbouring pixels.
There are several options to choose from. Select the method which best suits your needs.

Further reading about editing quality and size in Photoshop:
Photoshop Essentials: Difference Between Image Resizing and Resampling
Adobe: Image Size and Resolution
Photoshop Essentials: How to Resize Images

 

GIMP: Image>Scale Image and Image>Print Size

GIMP has two separate dialogue boxes for editing size.
Scale Image alters pixel density. Print Size constrains pixel density.

Working with Free Printables | The Painted Hive

1 Image Size: The physical dimensions of the printed image (note pixel dimensions are specified beneath).
If you alter the Image Size the pixel dimensions will automatically adjust in order to maintain fixed Resolution. New pixels are introduced or existing pixels are deducted (the image is resampled).

2 Resolution: The number of pixels per inch (PPI).
In the Scale Image dialogue box, if you alter the Resolution the physical dimensions automatically adjust to maintain pixel dimensions. You can go on to resample the image (change pixel dimensions) by subsequently altering the physical size.

3 Interpolation: How the program renders new pixels based on neighbouring pixels.
There are a few options to choose from. Select the method which best suits your needs.

4 Print Size: The physical dimensions of the printed image.
If you change the Print Size dimensions, the Resolution will automatically adjust in order to retain fixed pixel density. You can not resample the image (pixel information can not be added or deducted).

5 Resolution: The number of pixels per inch (PPI).
In the Print Size dialogue box, if you change the Resolution, the Print Size will automatically adjust in order to retain pixel density.

Further reading about editing quality and size in GIMP:
GIMP: Scale Image
GIMP: Print Size
GIMP Guru: Upsampling

Once you have resized or resampled an image to suit your needs, if desired or required, there are additional techniques (some might say ‘tricks’) you can use to enhance quality. You might also choose to further customise (edit colours, add a border, include text, crop) or ‘tidy-up’ the image. Options are almost infinite. Just be mindful that whilst editing programs are pretty awesome they are not magical.

There are thousands of great online tutorials detailing editing and enhancing resized images. Use your search engine to discover some that are right for you.

 

To better understand customising size and quality on a practical level, let’s look at some real examples…

EXAMPLE I: LOW RESOLUTION/LARGE SCALE

Image source: Botanicus (La Botanique de JJ Rousseau – Plate 43)

Understanding Image Resolution for Print | The Painted Hive

Image properties…
Physical Dimensions: 144cm x 188cm (57″ x 74″)
Resolution: 72 PPI
Pixel Density: 4107 x 5347

Using this image as is…
What an awesome statement this HUGE (almost 2 meter high!) vintage botanical would make! Although the resolution is relatively low at 72 PPI, the sheer scale and imperfect vintage nature means that some pixelation (visible upon quite close inspection – from around 40cm/15″ away) shouldn’t detract from the overall appearance or impact – even fine detail, like text, should be legible. You could print this image at home in sections then piece it together, though to save the trouble (and ink!), having it professionally printed would be best (even then it would probably need to be printed in at least two sections). Note that some professional printers require a minimum document resolution and may not accept a 72 PPI image (in this case, you could simply resample the image to increase the resolution).

Optimising this image for print…
Although this image has two major potential print flaws (low resolution, massive scale) it is actually quite easy to optimise.

Photoshop: In the Image Size dialogue box, uncheck Resample Image then change the Resolution value from 72 to 300. You will notice that the Width and Height automatically decrease in line with this change though the Pixel Dimensions remain constant. Click OK.

Editing Free Printables for Print | The Painted Hive

GIMP: In the Print Size dialogue box, change the Resolution from 72 to 300. You will notice that the Width and Height automatically decrease in line with this change. Click OK.

Optimising Free Printables | The Painted Hive

At 34cm x 45cm (13.3″ x 17.7″) the image is still larger than a standard A4/letter sized piece of paper. You can make any further edits as required.

EXAMPLE II: HIGH RESOLUTION/SMALL SCALE

Image source: The Graphics Fairy (Beautiful Antique Sail Boat Image)

Resizing Images for Print | The Painted Hive

Properties…
Physical Dimensions: 3cm x 2cm (1.2″ x 0.9″)
Resolution: 1200 PPI
Pixel Density: 1500 x 1120

Using this image as is…
At just 3cm x 2cm you would need to up-scale this printable for practical use (unless, for some weird reason, you need an illegitimate postal stamp). Also, the massively high resolution is superfluous as a maximum of 300 PPI should be more than sufficient.

Optimising this image for print…
As with Example 1, this image also has two major potential flaws (tiny scale, massive resolution). Fortunately, again, it is an easy fix.

Photoshop: In the Image Size dialogue box, uncheck Resample Image and lower the Resolution to 300. You will notice that the Width and Height automatically increase in line with this change though the Pixel Dimensions remain constant. Click OK.

Working wih Free Printables | The Painted Hive

GIMP: In the Print Size dialogue box, lower the resolution to 300. You will notice that the Width and Height automatically increase in line with this change. Click OK.

Optimising Free Printables for Print | The Painted Hive

At 12cm x 9cm (4.9″ x 3.7″) the image is still relatively small. Fortunately, it has a lovely vintage look which is forgiving in terms of print quality. So, play around with lower resolutions (even as low as 72 PPI which makes the size quite big at 52cm x 39cm/20″ x 15″) or even try resampling the image (introducing new pixels) to increase the size whilst maintaining a good resolution. Just remember, whilst editing programs are pretty good they’re not magical. You can, and should, print a small test patch to check the appearance prior to committing to a complete print.

EXAMPLE III: LOW RESOLUTION/SMALL SCALE

Image source: The Vintage Moth (Vintage Paper Doll) 

Customising Free Printables

Properties…
Physical Dimensions: 7cm x 11cm (2.8″ x 4.4″)
Resolution: 72 PPI
Pixel Density: 209 x 320

Using this image as is…
With both a low resolution and a relatively small print size, this image would present quite poorly printed as is. The detailed nature of the image would amplify this lack of quality as even minor pixelation would render the small text illegible.

Note: For the purpose of this example, I deliberately neglected to enlarge this image prior to downloading it. If you really love this image, a larger scale version is available (link above).

Optimising this image for print…
Some images just aren’t made for printing. ‘Poor resolution’ plus ‘small scale’ plus ‘detailed subject matter’ (such as text) usually equals ‘beyond help’. Unlike the preceding examples, there is no simple fix for this image. Without resampling the image (which, remember, would result in some quality loss), increasing the resolution would reduce the already small print size and increasing the print size would reduce the already poor resolution. So, what can we do? In this case resampling, and then applying a few tricks, is the only real option. Here is a simple example:

Upsizing Low Quality Images for Print | The Painted Hive

1 Original image.
Much too small for the detailed nature of the subject. You can just make out some pixelation and can clearly see that the text is tiny and illegible.

2 Image resampled to increase the size (height upscaled from 11cm to 25cm).
The scale is now better though there is discernible blur and pixelation.

3 Image resampled to increase the resolution (from 72 PPI to 300 PPI).
It’s a subtle change which upon printing will soften some of the pixelation.

4 Illegible text removed and a canvas texture applied.
I edited out the text (new text could be added) and applied a canvas texture to help disguise the poor quality. Obviously this look isn’t for everyone though it would work well made into a wall chart.

This is just one very basic example of working with a poor quality image. There are numerous tools and techniques to play with – have fun!

 

THIRD PARTY IMAGE ENLARGERS

You might also like to try some of the free tools and premium programs designed specifically for producing quality enlargements:
Re-shade
Image Enlarger
SmillaEnlarger
Perfect Resize

 

HOW BIG A ROLE DOES YOUR PRINTER & PAPER PLAY?

Of course, your printer (along with any chosen print properties) plus the type of paper you’re printing onto, are also factors in determining the visual quality of your prints. For best results, choose the best quality settings and use good photo paper. Today, basic domestic printers (from as little as $30) can produce great results. Good domestic printers (from around $150 for a photo quality inkjet) can produce excellent results. In general, inkjets are favoured over lasers for producing photo and art prints at home.

Further reading about printer quality:
Scan Tips: Colour Printing
About: Understanding Printer Resolution
PC World: Laser v Inkjet
ePhotozine: Common Printer Myths Explained

 

PRINTING AT HOME v PRINTING PROFESSIONALLY

Quality wise, professional printing will almost always trump at home printing. That said, at home printing can produce results which are more than sufficient. As mentioned above, most modern domestic printers are excellent (I have a new Canon MJ7160, a premium inkjet printer, which is fantastic – $187 from Officeworks).

If an image is sized A4 or smaller, I will usually print it at home onto photo paper. Having a reasonably good desktop printer means it’s fast, easy and convenient to produce high quality prints for those spontaneous I-need-it-now projects or simple one-offs.

For large scale images, those that are extra special, or for multiple prints at once, I prefer to use a professional print shop (I personally like the Officeworks online service).

Price wise, believe it or not, professional printing is usually more economical. Desktop printer ink is one of the most expensive liquids in the world – crazy!

 

PURCHASING DIGITAL ART

Whilst my focus is on the use of free printables, you can also buy very affordable digital images, many of which have already been enhanced and perfectly sized for optimal print quality. There are many good sources for premium downloadable art online. Try searching Google or Etsy for “Downloadable Art” or “Printable Digital Images” (or similar).

Remember, along with downloading free printables and purchasing premium printables, you can also create your very own by scanning book illustrations, vintage photographs, old maps, etc.

 

Free Printables Website Directory

If you’re unsure where to begin your search for free printables, or simply want a comprehensive guide, check out some of the resources below. I spend waaaay too long hunting down awesome sites which offer amazing free printable so please take advantage of my (slightly) obsessive quest!

The Graphics FairyTHE GRAPHICS FAIRY
For a huge range of beautiful vintage graphics. Many at large-scale or in high resolution. Visit the search page to browse by category.
Free Vintage PostersFREE VINTAGE POSTERS
For hundreds of high quality vintage posters. Note, not all are actual poster size.
Vintage PrintablesVINTAGE PRINTABLE
For some amazing (and a few unusual) high resolution vintage images. This site can be slow and a little tricky to navigate though there are some lovely images.
BotanicusBOTANICUS
For thousands of downloadable large-scale botanical illustrations. This site is a vast digital library of historic botanical literature so much of the content is text. To find images, open a book and scroll to 'Plate' or 'Illustration' in the 'Pages' list. To download an image click the straight arrow icon in the navigation tab.
The Vintage MothTHE VINTAGE MOTH
For hundreds of antique and vintage graphics.
BioDivBIODIVERSITY HERITAGE LIBRARY
For a huge range of beautiful scientific flora and fauna illustrations.
Pear WatercoloursAGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE
For over three hundred lovely scientific historic pear watercolours. Image links are displayed in a text-based table. To view thumbnails instead click the link at the top of the table.
New York Public LibraryNEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY DIGITAL GALLERY
For thousands (upon thousands!) of free printables. Most images are at low resolution so can't be enlarged though are great for standard certificate sized frames and/or matting.
BibliOdysseyBIBLIODYSSEY
For thousands of gorgeous vintage images, many of them at high resolution (so able to be enlarged!). BibliOdyssey's images are all neatly stored in Peacay's Flickr stream. I definitely recommend checking this one out!
Map HistoryMAP HISTORY
For links to databases carrying thousands of digitised historic maps. Start your search in the 'Images of Early Maps' link (in the left sidebar).
Awesome ArtAWESOME ART
For hundreds of premium, large-scale digitised artworks. Although not free, this site offers some amazing high resolution images at affordable prices. Be sure to check out the Vintage Illustrated Posters and the 'Birds of America' museum quality illustrations.
Old MapsOLD MAPS OF PARIS
For a lovely collection of copyright free antique maps of Paris. Some large scale.
David Rumsey Map CollectionsDAVID RUMSEY MAP COLLECTION
For a huge collection of maps scanned at very high resolution. Registration is required to export maps at their full size (which is often larger than two meters!). Search for maps via this category page.
Antique MapsPHOTOSHOP ROADMAP
For forty lovely antique maps. A small donation is requested to download all maps at full resolution.

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A WORD ABOUT COPYRIGHT

Of course, not all images on the net are free for the taking. If permission is not specified, you’re best to avoid use (or contact the owner – where possible).

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I know this is kinda a full-on post, though I really wanted to be as comprehensive and explanatory as possible to (hopefully!) arm you with all the knowledge, confidence and prowess you might need to tap into the amazing possibilities free printables offer budget-conscious decorators. And, if you were perhaps completely oblivious to the existence of free printables, maybe this post has even been a little bit enlightening!

If you still feel a little overwhelmed, confused or daunted, feel free to ask any questions – I’m always happy to try and help :-)

Also, remember, this is post one in a three part series. Post two (setting-up printables for at-home printing) can be found here. Post three (setting-up large-scale printables for professional printing) is coming soon.

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“Make It Over” and “Get It Made” http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/01/make-it-over-and-get-it-made/ http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/01/make-it-over-and-get-it-made/#comments Tue, 21 Jan 2014 12:12:02 +0000 http://thepaintedhive.net/?p=8923 Continue reading....

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I’m really lucky to have had my home and projects featured in some printed magazines. There’s just something so lovely about their tangible nature and it’s always such an honour to see my work amongst the pages. The significance is never lost on me.

I feel particularly proud of my latest feature. My very own photos are included in a generous ten page spread inside the inaugural issue of Make It Over magazine (a subsidiary of Well Styled Home).

My Home in Make It Over Magazine

I almost said an instinctive “no” when my personally styled and shot spaces were requested. “The photos aren’t professional enough”. “The staging isn’t styled enough”. “The rooms aren’t good enough”.

Though, I cast the daunting fear of inadequacy aside and decided to grasp the opportunity. And I’m so glad I did.

My Home in Make It Over Mag

The publication put everything together so beautifully.

The article focusses on room before and afters along with the makeovers of my coffee table and bamboo chair. I’m still waiting to receive a hard copy in the mail and am really looking forward to sitting down (hopefully without a child pulling at my pant leg) and having a good look.

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On a different note…if you’re based in Oz (Australia that is, not the land of yellow brick roads and talking scarecrows) have you heard about the Masters ‘Get it Made by Australia Day‘ campaign?

Get It Made

If you’ve been procrastinating over a simple project, this might just be the motivation you need! Choose an unfinished home related task, make a pledge and upload a before pic, ‘Get it Made’ then upload an after shot – easy! The ten most popular projects in each category (Building, Renovating, Organising, Decorating, Growing) will be judged, with five final winners taking home $500 each!

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Year in Review…and gratitude http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/01/year-in-review-and-gratitude/ http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/01/year-in-review-and-gratitude/#comments Thu, 09 Jan 2014 10:41:44 +0000 http://thepaintedhive.net/?p=8692 Continue reading....

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I wanted to get this post up prior to the new year, though thanks to my glacial-like precipitancy, clearly that never happened (I better be careful or soon I’ll have to start signing my blog posts with an image of a sleeping sloth – yes, that’s right, not just any sloth, a sleeping one).

At least my tardiness means I can officially wish everyone a happy 2014! I hope you all had a wonderful night. I welcomed the new year in my standard post-baby fashion; one glass of wine (still breastfeeding), the early fireworks on TV (yep, the ones for kids and old people), in bed by 11.30.

I know, I know, you wish you were as cool as me :-)

Anyhoo, I don’t usually publish posts like this. In my mind it’s the kind of content reserved for ‘proper’ bloggers who post more frequently than thrice annually, though I thought it’d be kinda fun to pretend I was legitimate. It’s also just plain nice, and even a tad validating, to look back over the year that was.

So, here are a few of my fave posts of 2013 (click a photo to go straight to the original post)…

Room MakeoversMaster BedroomDining RoomHome Office

Furniture Re-habDistressed TableCeramic StoolChippendale Chair

Home ImprovementBi-Fold to Barn DoorFloating BookshelvesDIY Decorative Moulding

Fabric ProjectsTea Towel PillowDIY Rolled Cottage ValanceBunting Flags

For a complete list of last year’s posts view my easy to navigate 2013 thumbnail gallery here.

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On a different note, a HUGE thank you and a MASSIVE virtual hug for your readership over the past year. I wish I could say I was impervious enough to write this blog purely for my own bemusement, though the truth is I really do care what you guys think and it does matter to me that someone is actually reading along because my primary motivation comes from a desire to share and connect. So, it’s your comments, emails and messages, along with your anonymous visits, which truly spur my continuance. I am deeply grateful.

Thanks

With two very young kids in my full-time care, naturally my priority at the moment is being ‘mum’. As a result I currently don’t have quite as much time as I’d like to dedicate to the title of ‘blogger’, and on occasion you’d be forgiven for thinking I’d given up on it completely. Though, as has always been my intention, I plan to post as often as I’m able (providing there’s something worthy of sharing) and in coming years hope to pursue blogging with a bit more purpose.

Whilst official posts (which are time-consuming to compile – at least for a part-time perfectionist like me – and which I usually like to reserve for my more major completed projects) can be somewhat sporadic, they’re no real reflection of the frequency of all the creative projects going on over at my hive where there’s pretty much always something home-related happening. So, keep connected between posts by hopping on over and liking me on Facebook or following me on Twitter (if you don’t already) where I share project snippets, product finds, morsels of inspiration and other little tidbits.

For now though, please, just don’t give up on me :-)

 

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oh, I mean…

Sleeping Sloth

 

 

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Merry Christmas! http://thepaintedhive.net/2013/12/merry-christmas/ http://thepaintedhive.net/2013/12/merry-christmas/#comments Wed, 25 Dec 2013 00:50:58 +0000 http://thepaintedhive.net/?p=8678 Continue reading....

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Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a joyful yule!

Thanks so much for your e-friendship in 2013.

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Converting Bi-Folds to Barn Doors (Before & After) http://thepaintedhive.net/2013/12/converting-bi-folds-to-barn-doors-before-after/ http://thepaintedhive.net/2013/12/converting-bi-folds-to-barn-doors-before-after/#comments Tue, 10 Dec 2013 11:08:10 +0000 http://thepaintedhive.net/?p=8603 Continue reading....

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This is the final post in a three part series covering the transformation of bi-folds into barn doors. You can read the first post here and the second post here.

What a naughty blogger I’ve been – three whole weeks without a post! I am trying to publish more often, really I am, it’s just every now and again this whole ‘life’ business seems to get in the way. I hope you guys understand and can sympathise enough with my apparent inefficiency to stick around and indulge me with the occasional courteous pity visit :-)

Okay, excuse offered, onto some (Christmas-trend-bucking) house-y stuff…I am really stoked (and also, admittedly, a tad surprised) with just how well this project turned out! The finished door is almost identical to my inspiration rendering, which was initially designed to act as little more than a very rough guide – score!

DIY: Convert a Bi-Fold into a Barn Door | The Painted Hive

As far as little architectural transformations go, it was a relatively quick, easy and affordable project. Plus the new look just adds soooo much character to Charlotte’s emerging room which lends a real sense of personality to the space and excites me about its potential! I’m now feeling super motivated about getting a wriggle-on and finally finishing it already (just whether said motivation actually transfers from physiological to physical is yet to be proven :-)

Anyhoo, here’s how the door re-do went down…

Bi-Fold to Barn Door Supplies

1 Timber
To keep costs low (and because I wanted something quite thin), I opted to use a sheet of ply which the friendly associates at Masters cut down for me. I ended up with 16 pieces measuring 6mm (1/4″) deep x 60mm (2 1/4″) wide x 1200mm (4 feet) long.

2 Paint
I used a sample pot in a colour called Lyndhurst Castle by Wattyl. LOVE this colour and want to try it on a piece of furniture one day.

3 Glue
I used Liquid Nails.

4 Caulk or filler
I used Spakfilla.

5 Hardware
I used 75mm (3″) strap hinges and simple metal handles.

DIY Barn Closet Door - Step 1

STEP 1 Cut your timber to size.
Measure your door, decide on the configuration for your cladding then trim your timber lengths to size. I needed 18 pieces of timber (8 x verticals, 6 x horizontals, 4 x diagonals) to form my design. I used our sliding mitre saw which enabled the cutting of multiple identical lengths at one time – awesome! I first cut the straight lengths (the verticals and horizontals) then configured one rectangle on the ground to determine the angles needed for the diagonals.
REMEMBER: If, like me, you are cladding a bi-fold, keep in mind that both panels may have slightly different dimensions so measure carefully.

B-Fold to Barn Door - Step 2

STEP 2 Pre-paint your timber lengths.
If, like me, you want to create a dual-toned door, pre-painting the cladding can save a lot of time and possible frustration. I lightly sanded my timber then rolled on three coats of paint. Two would have been sufficient though it was a hot day and the paint dried conveniently fast.

How To Transform Bi-Fold Doors - Step 3

STEP 3 Attach the cladding.
You could adhere your cladding in situ, though for ease I elected to remove the door and lay it flat. I glued on one complete rectangle at a time, compressing each timber length with a weight plate until the adhesive was sufficiently set.
REMEMBER: If, like me, you are cladding a bi-fold, a narrow portion of the door (along both sides) will probably be concealed behind a door jam. Obviously, these areas needs to remain un-clad. So, when attaching your timber, start from the center to ensure you don’t impede on any areas that need to remain bare.

Transform a Plain Door - Step 4

STEP 4 Fill any gaps and touch-up paint.
Once all timber lengths are attached, patch any joins with your chosen filler, sand until smooth, clean, then re-coat with paint as required. Because I used a sample pot paint (which has a very matte finish and low washability), I also painted my cladding with one coat of clear acrylic sealer for a durable finish and satin sheen.

DIY: Transform a Plain Bi-Fold Door | The Painted Hive

STEP 5 Re-hang your door (if required) and attach the hardware.
If you did remove your door, re-install it then whilst fully closed attach your hinges and handles. To transform my functional hinges into dummy straps, I simply ground off each hinge using my Dremel (you could use an angle grinder or hack saw – or, if you’re lucky, you may even be able to buy appropriate dummy straps). I also hit them with some black spray paint so they better co-ordinated with my handles.
TIP: Black spray paint is both a classic and practical choice. If needed, screw heads and any future chips can be easily, swiftly and seamlessly coloured with a black permanent marker.

NOTE: Before you embark on cladding a bi-fold (or any door for that matter) thoroughly examine how the door swings and take note of any existing space allowances which need to be retained in order to maintain proper function. If your cladding is too deep, inaccurately positioned or overly heavy you may find you have trouble opening the door. Check the size and position of your timber lengths is appropriate prior to removing your door and attaching any cladding.

DIY: Bi-Fold to Barn Door | The Painted Hive

Charlotte’s room is really starting to come together at last. So now, onto the next project I guess – there’s a little chair to be re-upholstered, window dressings to be made, artwork to be created and hung, bedding to be finalised, décor to be considered…I could go on, though how ’bout I stop typing and use my fingers to actually get at least one of those things done!

DIY: Bi-fold to Barn Door | The Painted Hive

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Masters Home Improvement

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This is the final post in a three part series sponsored by Masters Home Improvement.
You can read part one here and part two here. All opinions expressed are my own.

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