Monday, January 7, 2013

Apartment Challenge :: Audubon Print Gallery

About a year ago, I received this lovely set of Audubon prints as a graduation gift from a good friend.  I love birds and I love nature illustrations, so I was super happy to receive these prints.  They sat around for a while, and finally I decided that it was time to do something with them!

You might remember my goals for our entry wall from my previous apartment challenge post.  We had a blank wall that needed some love.  So I got to it.

I started by spreading out all of the prints and deciding which ones would work the best in a cluster in that area.  I initially thought I might go with some of the more colorful prints, like this one:

Roseate Spoonbill, John James Audubon
but I just wasn't feeling it.  I know I tend to get tired of colors quickly, so I wound up selecting six prints with more muted coloring and lots of blue-gray, which works really well with the color of my walls.  Once I had my selections I played with taping them up on the wall to see how I wanted to lay them out:

L: Two of the prints I chose to display; R: Mock-up of the layout

I kept the prints that were fully colored in at the bottom, and used the two with white sky backgrounds at the top, so it feels like it gets lighter as it goes up.  The placement of the buzzer phone and light switch also helped to dictate the layout.  The bottom of the gallery is about 32" off the ground to allow space for a small accent table that we use to drop keys, pocket change, gloves, hats, etc.

Next I needed to decide how I was going to frame these puppies.  Budget was a consideration, so I knew I would probably be working with Ikea.  Since the images themselves are muted and not in too great a contrast with my walls, I opted for a darker frame to help set the prints apart from the walls.  I chose to go with an Ikea Ribba frame in medium brown.  These frames do come with mats, which is a plus, however my artwork wasn't standard photo size and I wanted to add a special detail element to the framing, so I didn't use the mats.  Instead I visited Grayline Fabrics in Midtown, which has a pretty wide selection of linens.  Printed, solid, and varying weights.  I selected a linen (Warsa Oatmeal, I think) to use in the frames behind each print.  

L: Linen for behind the prints; R: Wrapped backboard, Coco helped.
I wanted to add fabric to the framing to give the whole thing a bit more luxury and oomph, but opted for linen because it still looks and feels very natural/casual and just always appeals to me.  I thought about cutting mats and wrapping them with the linen, but I didn't want to get too fussy with this project.  I just wrapped each backboard in the linen and plopped it back into the frame with the print.  I trimmed the prints down a bit to show more of the linen and used a bit of rolled scotch tape between the print and the linen to keep the prints from sliding around.  Super simple.  You can see the frame clips a bit (see top picture), but I decided I was cool with that.  I like when you have a peek at how things work.

One of the framed prints
If you ignore the five hour trip to the emergency room that resulted from me cutting my finger and needing stitches (it healed, I'm fine, but do watch your fingers when you're cutting with a blade and straight edge, even if you've done it a million times before), this was a pretty easy, quick project.  Budget friendly too.  I think the cost of the frames and linen was probably about $80-$90 bucks for six prints, which comes out to about $14 per print.  And you could vary this in so many ways: spray painting/gold leafing the frames, wrapping mats in the fabric, using other types of fabric, etc.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I just purchased this same exact set of prints and have been struggling to frame them because of the odd size. I had been looking at ordering custom mats at Michael's but the cost would really add up. Backing the prints with fabric is very clever! I'm glad I came across this post with a random google image search.