I had a very large blank wall to fill in my den for the One Room Challenge. Naturally, I made some giant bugs for it. And if you want to do the same, read on!
You may not be into insects, but the idea remains the same and you can substitute whatever images you like. I found antique illustrations of insects from the 1700s by Rösel Von Rosenhof, scanned and digitized by Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg with a Creative Commons 3.0 license. I looked through each volume of illustrations, choosing my favorites and downloading those pages as a pdf.
I opened the files in Photoshop and loosely lassoed the insects that I wanted, arranging them on a page and scaling them up to an enormous size. Be aware that if you do this, you will lose sharpness and image quality. The images I was working with were large and clear enough to start with that there wasn’t too much of a loss, and I upped the contrast and sharpened them to compensate.
I called around to find a local printer that offered large-scale prints and made my templates 42″ wide to match their specs. My print-ready PDF files can be downloaded below.
You pay based on the size of the print, so I cut the long beetle in half to make better use of the space and included several smaller bugs for the same reason. I only used one of the little guys on my wall, but my kids each wanted some bugs once they saw what I was making, so it worked out nicely that I had extras for them!
I cut out each illustration with an X-Acto knife, mounted them to foam board with spray adhesive, and then cut them out again with a heavy-duty X-Acto blade. Here’s a list of materials for the project.
Your printed images (obviously). I opted for matte paper.
Black Core Foam Board (check your local art, photography, or office supply store for their largest size)
X-Acto #1 Knife with a #11 blade
X-Acto #5 Heavy-Duty Knife with a #19 blade
3M Spray Mount Artist’s Adhesive (Super 77 is great too, but this one is repositionable)
Put some cardboard beneath your board as you cut and be careful. Cutting the paper is easy, but cutting through the foam board can be difficult. Be mindful of keeping your other hand well out of the way! Plan on going through a few blades too. A sharper blade means less drag and resistance, making for an easier, cleaner cut, and a safer experience.
You can push picture hangers right into the foam on the back, and hang your art. If you want to create a little more dimension (as I did), cut out extra blocks of foam board, stack and glue them together, and attach those to the back. You’ll need two blocks (and two hangers) if your images are large. I also painted a cloudy pink backdrop on a 4’x5′ canvas for my insects. It could have been anything, any color, I just wanted to lighten up that wall a bit.
If you do your own take on this, I would love to see it!