If you have a big blank wall, and you want to decorate it affordably, here’s your solution: scrapbook paper wall art! I’ve seen similar sets of wall art selling in retail stores and catalogs for $250 and even more! But today, I will show you how to make this wall art with your favorite colors, for far less money.
Scrapbook paper is a cheap way to get professional quality patterns, in any color you want. Each sheet of paper costs only 50 cents to $2 at the most. Very affordable! So how to turn the scrapbook paper into wall art? It’s as simple as this:
HOW TO MAKE SCRAPBOOK PAPER WALL ART
Here’s the steps to make this wall art:
1. Choose nine coordinating but contrasting scrapbook papers. For help, visit my Guide to Where to Buy Scrapbook Paper. The paper is usually 12″ x 12″. Use thicker scrapbook paper. Thin scrapbook paper tends to wrinkle much easier.
2. Get nine 12″ x 12″ panels. I used American Easel Wood Painting Panels from Blick Art Materials. Below, I show more options for you that cost only a few dollars.
3. Paint the edges of the wood panels or canvas. I painted with black acrylic paint. You can paint any color you want.
4. Brush a layer of glue on one panel. In the past, I used Mod Podge or Aleene’s Tacky Glue. Now, I use Golden Mediums to minimize wrinkles.
5. Apply a piece of scrapbook paper to the panel. To smooth the paper onto the panel, use a brayer, ruler, yardstick, whatever flat edge is handy. Sometimes I use a credit card because it’s easy to handle. Start smoothing paper from the middle and push out toward the edges. Here are instructions from Mod Podge to get better decoupage results.
6. Glue paper to the remaining 8 panels.
OPTIONAL. Seal the papers. You can leave the papers unsealed, or brush a layer of Mod Podge or Aleene’s Tacky Glue over them. I accidentally smeared Mod Podge on some papers, so I brushed a layer of matte Mod Podge over all of the papers and this hid the smears.
The Finished Result: SCRAPBOOK PAPER WALL ART
My office had a huge wall that was covered with a big legislative map for a state. But the law we were lobbying for passed (yayyy!!! it was a law to help teen drivers be safer) and so I took the map down, then I had a huge blank wall. I wanted some color but didn’t want to spend a ton of money to cover a wall. This project added a big grid of color and pattern to my office wall, and this makes me happy, creative and inspired at work. This project is great for any big space where you want big affordable wall art. It covers about a 3-foot by 3-foot space:
How to Prevent Wrinkles in the Paper
Many people have written with questions about how to avoid wrinkles in the scrapbook paper. Wrinkles are not always terrible. Some people embrace the wrinkles and make them part of the design, and that’s great! It’s all personal preference. If you don’t want wrinkles, read on …
My #1 suggestion is to not use Mod Podge or Aleene’s Tacky Glue for decoupaging paper.
I know, I know!! Who doesn’t use those? I did! I still do for certain things but not for paper any more.
What else do you use? Well, while I used Mod Podge when I did this wall art project back in 2011, now in 2017 I use Golden Medium with the COAT – DESIGN – HEAT technique for decoupage. See my DIY tutorial on how to use this technique to decoupage without wrinkles. That tutorial shows the only way I know to get a great result, 100% free of wrinkles.
If you must use glues, here are some tips, but for me these still don’t 100% eliminate all wrinkles:
- Try Aleene’s Tacky Glue instead of Mod Podge. Aleene’s Tacky Glue is more tacky, less wet. Paper wrinkles when the wetness of Mod Podge soaks into the paper. Sometimes I notice wrinkles before I even glue the paper to the board, so this is a clue that the glue is not quite right.
- I’ve also had better success with Mod Podge for Fabric. The formulation is thicker and less wet.
- Let the glue sit for a few minutes before applying paper, so the glue is less wet.
- Try spray adhesive instead of glue, such as Krylon Spray Adhesive. Spray two coats of adhesive for good coverage. Follow the spray adhesive directions. Some spray adhesive is repositionable so you can peel the paper off and adjust it. Other spray adhesives apply the paper permanently immediately, so you gotta get it right the first time. I like the repositionable adhesive even though it can cost more. It gives you room for errors, and I’m really good at making errors!
- Use thicker paper. As you handle scrapbook papers, you’ll find some papers are very thin and floppy, and others are heavier and stiffer. To minimize wrinkles, use the thicker, heavier papers.
- If you want to use thinner papers and inkjet print-outs, here’s a tip from the Mod Podge Rocks blog to minimize wrinkles: Spray the paper with a clear acrylic sealer. Spray both sides and allow to dry. Then use Mod Podge to glue the paper to your surface.
12″ x 12″ Boards and Canvas
Here are the American Easel brand wood panels I used from Blick Art Materials to make my scrapbook paper wall art. They cost more than canvas, but I like the professional look of thick wood panels:
Blick Art Materials also sells canvas value packs. You can get many canvases in different sizes including 12″ x 12″. This is the cheapest way to get many canvases:
Most craft stores like Hobby Lobby, Joann, and Michael’s sell 12″ x 12″ square panels made of wood or canvas. Plus, every day there are coupons available for 30%, 40%, sometimes even 50-60% off in stores and online. Just check the store websites, sign up for email lists or use an app on your phone.
Michael’s, Joann and Hobby Lobby all have phone apps with coupons on them. Download the apps onto your phone, and check the app for coupon codes before you go to the checkout counter!
You can also cut inexpensive 12″ wide wood boards from Home Depot, Menards or Lowes into 12″ x 12″ size. If you don’t have a saw, sometimes they will cut the boards for you at the store.
Wondering where to buy scrapbook paper?
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78 Replies to “How to Make Affordable Scrapbook Paper Wall Art”
Oh Debbie! I have a similar pile procured from Michael’s lying under my bed too.. Lovely idea! Maybe some of the colors from your India Colors pinboard for the Chennai apartment?
That’s a great idea Divya! I do have some of these colors in my scrapbook pile! I will pull some out and take them to Chennai.
I also have a bunch of pink because I thought we were going to Jaipur once, but then we didn’t. And yellow and amber papers for the Amber Fort. Those papers will wait for a scrapbook for a future trip, because I’m not missing that city while I’m on this planet!
This is a great idea. Congrats on getting your laws passed and getting to create some beautiful wall art!
Thank you Laura! Most of them fell off the wall last night after I left the office. I used these sticky Sure Stay things from Hobby Lobby instead of putting holes in the office wall. Now there are holes in the wall and happy stable art pieces.
I luv luv this idea,
Would luv for my readers to discover your blog, will you please join our weekly party at
have a great crafting week!
Thank you for inviting me to your link party, Maggie! I’m glad to share this idea with your readers. I don’t write about it here much but I love the creativity of playing with scrapbook papers, in books & beyond. Some papers are so beautiful, they should be seen by all!
Beautiful! Thanks for sharing. You have been featured on Thrifty 101. Stop by DIY Thrifty Thursday and grab an “I was featured” button. Hope to see you again this week!
Thank you so much Michelle for featuring this on your blog! I hope it gives a thrifty idea for art to more of your visitors!
Oh I love this!!! Great idea, thanks for sharing!
You’re welcome, glad you liked it!
Looks beautiful! Thanks for linking with us and hope to see you again this Wednesday! Happy Thanksgiving!
Thank you Marie! Happy Thanksgiving to you too!
So I tried this and think it looks great online but for some reason I can’t keep the paper from bubbling up. Any suggestions?
Hi Melanie, It helps to use thicker scrapbook paper. I used both thin and thick scrapbook paper, and I found the thicker paper was much easier to work with. And also, try using a brayer while rolling the paper onto the glue, starting from one edge and working your way across to the opposite edge slowly. This way if you see bubbles forming, you can push them out. The glue should also evenly cover the whole surface to which you are applying the paper.
There are a few bubbles in the pieces I made (the ones with thinner paper) but at least they’re hard to see unless standing really close.
I hope this helps!
ABSOLUTELY amazing! I love this and the colors all come together so well. I hope you don’t mind, I just couldn’t help but share this for inspiration on my new blog here:
Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful work :)
Thank you so much Jamie! Absolutely you’re welcome to share – I hope some of your visitors get the idea to do this in their homes or offices or wherever. It adds some nice color to a bigger empty wall.
Oh I soooo want to try this!!!!
Definitely try it! It’s so easy!! :)
your idea is really wonderful. i loved it so much. awesome creativity
Thank you so much! I hope more people are now displaying their papers on walls.
I love that project. Where did you get the paper?
Thank you! I don’t remember now where I got the exact above papers — many of them were purchased about 3-4 years ago. I get very similar papers with patterns from many places: Michaels and JoAnn stores, Archivers scrapbook stores (http://www.archiversonline.com/). There are a lot of online scrapbook paper stores too like http://www.scrapbook.com. My favorite paper manufacturers that make some papers with a global look and patterns are: 7 Gypsies, Basic Grey, Cosmo Cricket, My Mind’s Eye, Pink Paislee, SEI. Usually I mix a lot of different paper brands in one project! I hope this helps! Deb
could you use 12 X 12 art canvas instead of wood?
I’ve wondered the same thing. I haven’t tried it on canvas yet. What I wonder about is, how to adhere the paper smoothly to the canvas if the canvas moves. Maybe you could put Mod Podge on the canvas, put the paper on the canvas, flip the canvas over, set it on a solid surface, and smooth from the back? Then keep checking the papered side to be sure the paper is glued to the canvas smoothly without air bubbles. I should get a canvas and try this because I’ve wondered.
You could even fray the edges of the paper to soften them, then paint on the canvas and onto the paper, to make the paper look like part of a painting. Could look pretty cool. Hope this helps! Deb
I love the idea — but have a silly question: how did you get them to stay on the wall so nice and flat?
Hi, I used *super over-sized* thumbtacks! I found them at WalMart. There’s two thumbtacks (the kind that stick out, not the flat-headed thumbtacks) behind each wood piece, at the top corners, and that helps them stay level and close to the wall. This way they can’t move so they don’t get crooked either. Because that would drive me crazy, and this is on my wall at work and if I spent all day adjusting these things people would wonder about my productivity! :)
I didn’t use nails because our facilities folks don’t want us to bang nails into our office walls ourselves. I joked later that I didn’t want to ask them to hang these up as part of their job, but they said they would have if I had asked. The thumbtacks make only a very small hole in the wall and we’re allowed to use those in our walls on our own. So that’s what I did and they work great.
Hope this helps! Deb
Yup. I adore this. It will definitely be done at my house. And/or my office! Thanks for the great idea and tutorial!
You’re welcome! Definitely do it, it’s fun. I have another sample to post, it’s three 12×12 scrapbook papers on a 12×36 shelf – just an inexpensive $5 shelf from Menards/Home Depot. It could be designed and hung vertically or horizontally. Fun stuff!
Yes you can use canvas. http://www.savvysugar.com/DIY-Square-Canvas-Prints-28870666 for info on how.
A simple and great idea… definitely going to try this at home! maybe we could use sample wallpaper too?
Yes that’s a great idea! You can use wallpaper samples left over from retail stores, you can get vintage wallpaper remnants on eBay. You could even use the same wallpaper pattern but separated over pieces of wood almost like puzzle pieces. So many ideas! Deb
I love the colors you chose! What type of hardware/materials did you use to hang them?? I have done this same project, im just at a loss on how to actually hang them.
Hi Courtney, because these are on my office wall at work, they don’t want us putting in a bunch of nails. But thumb tacks are fine. So I found thumb tacks with super big over-sized “handles” (the plastic part that sticks out of the wall, I don’t know what you call it) and put two tacks on the wall for each wood square. Because my wood squares are hollow. So they’re all balancing on the big thumbtacks. They’ve been hanging for 3 years and none has ever fallen off! You could also install picture hangers on wood (find them by the framing dept at a craft store) and then hang them on nails. I hope this helps! Deb
What a great project & makes me think I could (should) do this with some of the gorgeous Japanese paper I brought home from when we lived in Tokyo.
Oh yes you should! This would look great with Japanese papers, and a wonderful way to display and enjoy them! Deb
I absolutely love this! What an awesome idea. I am pinning this to do in my new house! Thanks you!
Thank you Carie! Definitely I hope you use this idea to decorate your new house! :) Deb
I am so going to give this a go thanks for sharing ! x
Yay! That’s great to hear, Jill! Go for it …
Good day! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to
give a quick shout out and tell you I really enjoy reading through your
blog posts. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that
go over the same topics? Appreciate it!
How do you distress the edges?
Hi Tonda, you can use just a little bit of brown paint on a brush, real tiny bit of paint like the brush is almost dry. Run the brush over the edges. It’s called “dry brushing” technique. That’s a great way to distress edges. You you distress with lighter or darker color, depends on your preference. Hope this helps! Deb
Do you ship to Puerto Rico?
Hi Elba, I actually do not sell anything right now! But I’m thinking about it for the future. Deb
I have been searching for a piece of art to hang in my living room that I’m in the process of redecorating. I love this because I get to choose the colors and don’t have to rely on what I find in the store. This is beautiful and creative. Thank you for sharing!
You’re so welcome, Jenna. That’s exactly why this is a great project to do! You can make it in the colors and style you want. I hope you try it! Deb
Hello I love your idea. I got my canvas today so I did a test run on one of them. After I applied the mod podge and it started to wrinkle as it dried. What am I doing wrong? By the way I used a paint brush, if that helps with your answer.
Hi Heather! I’m glad I saw this while you’re working on it. I have found that Aleene’s Tacky Glue (see it here: http://www.joann.com/aleene-s-original-tacky-glue-4-oz/2018091.html) wrinkles less than Mod Podge. Aleene’s Tacky Glue is less wet. Also try to use a thick scrapbook paper rather than really thin paper. It helps to put a thin layer of Mod Podge on and let it dry a little bit, so it’s still tacky but not wet. I think it’s the wetness that makes the paper wrinkle. If you can get some Aleene’s Tacky Glue and try a sample with that, I would recommend that. I’ve updated this post to reflect better success with Aleene’s. And also spray adhesive works as a glue and reduces wrinkles. I hope this helps! Deb
Hello, I have a question that I am hoping that you can aanswr. I made some paper on canvas pieces however I live in the south. Very humid and my paper is starting to bubble. What can I use for clear coat. Would polyurethane work for a clear coat?
Hi Rita! I am not sure – I will try this myself and see what happens. I have used Mod Podge matte as a clear coat, and don’t see any changes in the paper after applying Mod Podge. But I’ll also test out other clear coats and report back here what happens! Deb
Love the simplicity and capability of this craft. Thanks so much for sharing. I’ve pinned to my new board from Breathe Write Craft Magazine to share with our followers! Lisa
Thank you so much for sharing this on Pinterest with your followers, Lisa! It is a simple and inexpensive way that anyone can do, to make unique wall art and cover a lot of space on a wall! Deb
Coins and Factors are needed to purchase items.
WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for shopping