Reinvent a Favorite Image: DIY Distressed Art Tutorial

This project was created while pondering ways to "save" a favorite poster. I haven't used this poster in a while because I grew tired of the frame I'd been using. The frame was really cheap and didn't even frame the print properly. So I rolled up the poster and tossed into my decor arsenal closet.

Finally, I came up with an idea on how to give it a new life: distress it and attach it to a canvas. Before embarking on this project with the poster, I tested it out with a magazine photo. (My favorite poster is in the final stages of this makeover, so stay tuned!)

DIY Distressed Poster Art Tutorial thumbnail canvas magazine photo image print cardinal patina texture Mod Podge paint sandpaper decor accessory deckle edge The Decor Guru

Find out how you can easily reinvent a favorite poster, print, or even a magazine photo with my tutorial after the jump.

This DIY artwork is easy, cheap, allows you to use items you already own, and lets you get creative through repurposing. Distressed art can be a part of any decor scheme, but especially complements shabby chic, cottage, coastal, and rustic decor.

You will need:

* Poster/print/magazine photo

* Mod Podge

* Art canvas

* Paintbrush

* Sandpaper (I recommend a fine grit)

* Paper towel or tackcloth

* Acrylic craft paint

The effect you’re creating is similar to distressed furniture, so you’ll want to select at least two paint colors. One color will be your basecoat and one color will be the topcoat. The topcoat will be more prevalent with the basecoat peeking through in spots.

If your print is larger than the canvas, plan what portion of the print you’ll be cutting and cut it to size. Keep in mind the outer 1/2 inch of each side will be removed.

1. APPLY YOUR BASECOAT. Paint your canvas with the color(s) you selected for the basecoat. I used Fawn by Americana. Paint only one coat and allow to dry.

DIY Distressed Poster Art Tutorial thumbnail canvas magazine photo image print cardinal patina texture Mod Podge paint sandpaper decor accessory deckle edge The Decor Guru

2. APPLY YOUR TOPCOAT. Paint your canvas with the color you selected for the topcoat. I used Vanilla by CraftSmart (Michael’s line of acrylic craft paint). Paint only one coat and allow to dry.

DIY Distressed Poster Art Tutorial thumbnail canvas magazine photo image print cardinal patina texture Mod Podge paint sandpaper decor accessory deckle edge The Decor Guru

As you can see, my topcoat isn’t entirely solid over the basecoat— this was deliberate. An imperfect topcoat actually adds to the look of patina & texture we’re creating.

3. CREATE THE DECKLE EDGE. (You may wish to practice this step on some scrap paper before performing it on your print.)

Flip your image over with the printed side down and fold over one side a 1/2 inch from the edge. Now flip your image back over with the printed side up and press the fold the opposite way.

With the printed side up, slowly tear the edge along the fold with a slight turn toward the center of the paper. Doing this will help create an imperfect deckle to the edge vs. a straight, fine deckle. The more roughness to the deckle the better— just don’t tear so far it cuts into the main part of your image!

DIY Distressed Poster Art Tutorial thumbnail canvas magazine photo image print cardinal patina texture Mod Podge paint sandpaper decor accessory deckle edge The Decor Guru

4. GLUE THE IMAGE ONTO THE CANVAS. Brush on Mod Podge to the top of the canvas and affix your print. Allow to dry.

DIY Distressed Poster Art Tutorial thumbnail canvas magazine photo image print cardinal patina texture Mod Podge paint sandpaper decor accessory deckle edge The Decor Guru

5. DISTRESS THE IMAGE. Using sandpaper, gently distress the print by rubbing from the center outward. I added more distressing to the deckle edges and along the outer portion of the image to help frame it.

6. DISTRESS THE CANVAS. Using your sandpaper, distress the actual canvas. On these areas, you can sand a little harder because you want your basecoat color to show. Also, be sure to distress the sides of your canvas.

DIY Distressed Poster Art Tutorial thumbnail canvas magazine photo image print cardinal patina texture Mod Podge paint sandpaper decor accessory deckle edge The Decor Guru

To keep the imperfect look going, don’t distress the canvas evenly. Keep some parts showing more topcoat and some parts with more of the basecoat appearing. You don’t want the piece to look too planned.

7. CLEAN YOUR ART. Gently wipe the entire piece clean with a tackcloth or slightly damp paper towel to remove dust from the distressing process.

8. APPLY MOD PODGE. Paint on as many (thin) layers as desired. I only did two coats. Another great aspect of this project is that your Mod Podge doesn’t have to be applied in a meticulous manner. You can actually add more texture to the piece in these layers by using a few random, heavy brushstrokes or cross-hatching.

The finished product, in its decorative habitat:

DIY Distressed Poster Art Tutorial thumbnail canvas magazine photo image print cardinal patina texture Mod Podge paint sandpaper decor accessory deckle edge The Decor Guru

This project is easy enough that it’s perfect for children and teens. And what better way to spend some time than applying sandpaper to Justin Bieber’s face? I kid, I kid. I have no hate for the Biebster, although it’s probably easier to say that since I have no children. 😛

This project is also a great way to refresh a favorite print or poster, bring texture to a room, or add a new piece to your decor without spending a lot of money. It would be a great starter project if you’ve always wanted to try the distressing technique on furniture but are a bit scared.

Do you like the distressed look in decor? Have you given any of your decor a DIY distressed look? Do you have a favorite print or poster that needs a makeover?

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12 Comments on Reinvent a Favorite Image: DIY Distressed Art Tutorial

  1. What a fantasitc idea! I would never have thought to do this to bring a new life to a print. I love this!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this technique with us! I love the way it turned out. I will not be watching out for an image to try to distress like you have. I saw your post over at “Coastal Charm ” blog party.

  3. Carrie From Carrie This Home // 08/05/2013 at 7:55 AM // Reply

    I love this! It’s a great way to reuse a favorite print and give it new life. Pinning this now! Thanks for linking up to Frugal Crafty Home!

  4. What a great craft! Thanks so much for sharing it at my Twirl & Take a Bow Party! Have a great week.
    Leslie

  5. Marty@A Stroll Thru Life // 08/07/2013 at 8:03 AM // Reply

    I love the canvas as a background, great tutorial and super cute project. Thanks so much for linking to Inspire Me. Hugs, marty

  6. What a fun Idea, I need to try this out on a few things I have found!
    Thank you for linking up at my Furniture and Paint Party!
    Hope to see you again Wednesday!
    Brooke
    startathome.blogspot.com

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