geometric art tutorial

A few years ago I became smitten with these lovely prints at Crate and Barrel. They were too pricey for me to buy, and unfortunately they are no longer available. Pictures of them are still floating around on Google Image Search though.

I tried to think of ways I could DIY these lovely prints. I’m not a pro with the paint brush, so I’m afraid hand painting them was out of the question, and I didn’t have much time to devote to the project. Fortunately for me on a trip to Home Goods a few years ago, I came across some geometric print wall decals on sale for $7.00. I grabbed them thinking it would put me one step closer to the DIY version of my favorite art.

Well, two and a half years (and a baby) later, this is what I finally accomplished:

Crate and Barrel

Crate and Barrel

I really love the way they turned out, and the project really was pretty simple.

DIY Geometric Prints

  • Obtain your art, either by purchasing a decal like this, or being a rockstar and painting it yourself.
  • For the wall canvas look, find a large piece of wood at Home Depot or Lowe’s, and have it cut to the size of your art. My decal squares were 11 inches high and wide, and I found particle board at Home Depot that was 8 feet long and 11.25 inches high, so it made it very easy to just have it cut into 8 pieces each measuring 11.25×11.25 inches. Looking back, I would recommend choosing wood over particle board because the decals would probably stick a little better.
  • I sanded the particle board and smoothed out the edges with Spackle (particle board has rough edges, another reason that solid wood would have been a better choice).
  • Then I primed all of the wood so that the decals would stick.
  • Paint the edges of your “canvas”, making sure to overlap the front of the wood so that none of the primer shows in front (there is a small gap between the end of the decal and the edge of the board, but its not noticeable from a distance. Allow to dry.

  • Adhere the decals to the wood. Decals by nature are not permanent, so they can bubble a bit. I decided to glue the four corners of each decal to the wood to ensure they didn’t fall completely off. This created a bit of wrinkling on the decals that drove me crazy at the time, but again, it is completely unnoticeable when looking at them mounted on the wall.

  • Now to give them a bit of a dingy look (and to mask the vinyl decal look), I blotted them with a brown glaze. I’m a huge fan of Ralph Lauren Faux Technique Glaze in Tobacco (in the paint section of the hardware store) and have used it for so many projects. I took a paint brush and dabbed some spots of glaze on the decal, then blotted with a paper towel to make a thin, uneven coat. I tried to make the glaze darker around the edges and lightest in the centers of the decals.

  • Add the hanging hardware. I measured and drew a line so the two hangers were a few inches from the top of the wood and a few inches from the sides. The exact measurements do not matter, as long as you are consistent with each picture so they hang on the wall evenly.

  • To hang them on the wall, I use this nifty trick I discovered on Young House Love, but I use extra sticky Post Its instead of regular paper and tape. I put the Post It sticky-side down on top of the hanger and draw a mark where the nail should go. I then stick a piece of tape on the Post It facing the wall, and this is what stays on the wall when I pull the picture away. I then place nails where the marks are and tear the Post Its off the wall. I also used a level to make sure they wouldn’t look crooked once the nails were in. I started with the center left top picture, then hung the far left, then the 2 below them. I was able to eyeball the distance by holding up the new picture next to the one previously hung.

like Crate and Barrel

And that’s how I recreated some great Crate and Barrel art for under $20.

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7 thoughts on “geometric art tutorial

  1. I love the addition of the full set of geometric art pictures. Although they are different colors, they still coordinate due to the geo shapes. I think a few throw pillows out of the same type of print would be a nice coordinated touch. You are a natural home maker!

  2. Pingback: Lowe’s Loses A Grand Over A Little Paint. « Human Body Engineer

  3. I am SO GLAD I found this post! I recently stayed at a hotel where the C&B prints were hanging. I snapped a pic of it, because I loved it and knew I had a perfect spot in my house. After a little instagram help and Googling, I found your post. Thank you so much! Now I KNOW I can successfully recreate this look in my house! 🙂

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