Budget-Friendly Wall Art with DIY Box Mounts
After my most recent living room rearrangement, we were left with a rather large empty space on the wall behind the sofa. I looked everywhere for ideas of what to put there, and when I finally stumbled upon this topographic map poster on Schoolhouse Electric’s website, I was intrigued.
You really can’t go wrong with maps — they are nice to look at with all sorts of intricate details and soothing colors. I’ve already made some coasters and a basket out of old street maps, and there are several maps hung in other rooms in our house. We’re map people.
For $40, the price of the Schoolhouse Electric map was just right. I took it over to Artifacts on Custis Ave. to figure out framing/mounting options. I really like the idea of a box mount — a nice chunky frame which makes an inexpensive poster look more like a work of art than something you’d see in a rec room or school. To my dismay, a box mount for a poster this large (nearly 5 feet x 3 feet) would be over $400 — not the budget art project I was hoping for.
Stephany at Artifacts said she could mount the poster on a very sturdy 3/16-inch foam core for $48. I said ok and left the poster to be mounted, but the gears in my mind were churning, there must be something I can DIY to get the look I wanted.
As you can probably guess, that’s what I did. I built my own box mount.
First, I gathered my supplies and tools: Two 1x2x8 pieces of pine (from Lowe’s); wood glue and four brackets (from the local Del Ray hardware store); and a screwdriver, jigsaw and a drill (already own).
After the poster was mounted, I used the jigsaw to cut the wood to fit the length and height. I cut the two vertical pieces the entire height of the poster so no seams would show on the sides.
I put a moderate amount of wood glue on the back of the foam core and affixed the wood.
These bookends did a great job keeping the wood secure to the foam core as the glue dried.
The accompanying books worked just as well. Note: Matchbox cars are optional.
After the wood seemed secure to the foam core (about an hour), I drilled holes for the brackets. I’m not sure the brackets are absolutely necessary, but I think they provide a little extra support. Just make sure not to drill all the way through, which sadly I did, and now there’s a hole on the front of the map. #Idiot.
I screwed on the brackets and let the whole thing simmer for another hour or so.
Finally, I hung my custom-built box-mounted poster on the wall. I love how crisp the edges are and I don’t mind the unfinished wood.
And here’s a final shot of the poster behind the sofa. I think the colors blend so well with the blues, greens, and browns we already have in the room. I was afraid to put something large on the wall because of the chance it might fall down on someone lounging on the sofa, but it’s not heavy at all.
The entire project took a little over an hour (plus drying time) and just over $100 for supplies (including the foam core mounting). I’ve got big plans for more box-mounted posters and prints. Let’s just hope no greasy little fingers decide to get up close and personal with the topography of the southern region of the United States any time soon.