Crafty (& Handy) Projects

DIY Huge Insect Illustration Art (Free Download)

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!

DIY Huge Insect Art | Making it Lovely's One Room Challenge Den

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.

Antique Illustrations of Insects from the 1700s by Rösel Von Rosenhof

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.

Free Templates for Large-Scale DIY Insect Art | Making it Lovely

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.

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.

Using an X-Acto Knife to cut out a mounted illustration from foam core board | Making it Lovely

That's a big bug. | Making it Lovely

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!

Let's Watch TV in Making it Lovely's One Room Challenge Room! With Giant Bugs!

Free Download - DIY Huge Insect Antique Illustration Art | Making it Lovely

Family Den | Making it Lovely's One Room Challenge Den

Sources & Paint ColorsNeed design help? Let's work together.

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  • jessica
    May 19, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    this is so cool! Thank you for sharing how you created them…I literally thought you spent a fortune on them.

    • Making it Lovely
      May 19, 2016 at 1:51 pm

      Not a fortune, but a ton of time! Finding the illustrations, making them print-ready in Photoshop, cutting, spray mounting, cutting again, painting a backdrop, and hanging everything… I didn’t log my hours, but it was somewhere in the 12-15 hours range. :)

  • AlanaWPiper
    May 19, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    This is so fun! I’m just swooning over that final family room. It looks so cozy and beautiful. Will and I might tackle a similar project, but with a much more glamorous Minecraft theme, for his new room. ;)

  • Suzanne
    May 19, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    I love these and ALSO feel like I’d constantly be going, OMG, KILL THOSE BUGS, ACCCKKKKK!!!!

  • DazzLynn
    May 19, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    I did a really similar project in my daughter’s room, and was so pleased with it! I bought a blik wall decal and used wrapping paper and scrapbook paper to “color it in” and mounted the whole thing on foam core and cut it out. Super fun project, and i still love it years later.

    I’m curious, though. Why did you cut out the bugs before cutting them out again once mounted? Seems like it would have saved a bit of time if you had mounted the bugs and cut them out with the foam core?

    Super cute project, but I’m not sure I can get behind giant bugs!

    • Making it Lovely
      May 19, 2016 at 4:39 pm

      You can’t cut foam core with as much precision, so some of the outline would have been left and I wanted the edges to end with the black line. I thought about gluing the bugs on, cutting them out, and then painting the edges, but that seemed like an equal amount of work. 6 of one, half a dozen of the other.

  • janieruth
    May 20, 2016 at 9:57 am

    Even me understand how you looked through the illustrations on the German website. I do not see a way to page through the volumes. I am doing beetles in my grandson’s room. Thanks.

  • janieruth
    May 20, 2016 at 9:59 am

    First word of that post should be HELP!

  • Elizabeth Speicher
    May 20, 2016 at 10:04 am

    I adore these. So “cabinet of curiosities” Many of the One Room Challenge rooms looked the same to me. Your bugs and bravado won me over.

  • Christina
    May 20, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    Thanks for the tutorial! I had an idea as soon as you posted this on Instagram. I’m really curious how much the prints cost. Great idea to cut the beetle in half, you can’t see the seam in the pictures at all.

  • Jen H
    May 20, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    I love that your house is so pretty, interesting and unique. You don’t put things in your home just because they are trendy. I get sick of seeing the same ol thing all the time in a lot of other homes on blogs.

  • chrustinalynn
    May 21, 2016 at 9:42 am

    WOW! Best idea I’ve seen online in a long time!! LOVE the outcome!!

  • Bifrost Photography | Link Round-Up
    May 22, 2016 at 6:18 am

    […] I know I’m not the only person who will think these huge insect illustrations would be the perfect addition to a […]

  • Rebecca
    May 29, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Chicago local, curious if you can recommend the printer and maybe the price range?

  • Melissa
    May 29, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    This is the most original idea I’ve seen on the internet in a long time! Fantastic!

  • Marcee ... ILLINOIS
    May 30, 2016 at 9:53 am

    Everyone is A-okay with your idea Nicole! Truthfully, I love bugs! Especially spiders. Never smush them, just kinda guide them somewhere else. So hysterical ….. many of our families/friends are petrified, cannot tolerate any type of bugs ….. haha!! P.S. Your design/idea is totally unique Nicole. We have no place to display in this house. A basement for children’s playroom would be fun. Very clever & colorful!

  • Natalie
    June 1, 2016 at 1:13 am

    Okay, so this is totally amazing! I would never have thought to do something like this, but it really makes a statement wall!

  • emily
    November 3, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    Hi, the downloadable PDF no longer works. Any way you could reupload it? Thanks!

  • Noemie La Rue Lapierre
    July 1, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    Hi, the downloadable PDF no longer works. Any way you could reupload it? Thanks!

  • Felicity
    November 7, 2019 at 1:01 pm

    These are fantastic, and I’d dearly love to make my own set. The downloadable PDF link is broken, would you mind re-uploading it, or giving instructions for a work-around? Many thanks!