Wednesday, October 29, 2014

When to Go Frameless

The edge of the art canvas is usually framed.

At least, it used to be. But now, I'm seeing more and more unframed art. 

And I'm not talking about art students who don't have the cash to frame what they've painted.

I'm taking about giant canvases hung over drop-dead-gorgeous stone fireplaces in second homes featured in Traditional Home Magazine. So it's not about frugality or speed. 

It's about style. And I rather fancy it. It's a contemporary look that fits into almost any decor style.

The frameless look certainly makes DIY decorating a bit easier. Happily, it updates a home that looks stuck in an earlier era.

Imagine the room on the left, and how old school and it would look with a old fashioned frame surrounding that painting of loopy circles.

But the edge of an unframed painting still has to look finished. It should be clean and free of paint drips and stains.

If you stretch a piece of decorative fabric that you've purchased around wooden stretchers, then the design will wrap around the stretchers. But generally, a painting ends at the edge of the front surface. A painting that wraps around the stretchers is often a painting was printed in a factory and then stapled onto stretchers. Not exactly one-of-a kind art.
    
Buying your canvas stretched and ready to go is the simple solution if you want to do your own artwork for staging, but you can't prop up or hang a piece of unframed thin-style canvas board. Your canvas has to have that boxed edge that stretchers provide.

There is an answer to the question, when is it a good idea to skip the frame? The answer is, "Almost anytime!" Most house styles can support this kind of look. It's casual and creates an approachable atmosphere.

Are you working on a redesign of your rooms? Don't leave here without downloading my furniture arranging eBook!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

It's Typography. But Is It Art?

In case you've been living under a rock for the past few years, I'll explain that signs and lettering are kind of a big deal in home decor right now.

You know a decorating craze has reached its zenith when you can buy it by the bagful at the dollar store.

I'm all for beautiful calligraphy. I appreciate the finer points of typography.

Many years ago, as a young magazine editor, part of my job was "spec-ing type." That means I had to mark up typed manuscripts so the printer would know what style and size type to set them.

It wasn't nearly as much fun as all we can do on our computers now.    

Today signage is everywhere in homes, proclaiming the love we have for our families, the strength of our faith, the quotes we find uplifting or amusing.

Witness the avalanche of "Keep Calm and ..." signs. Enough already! It's clear that signs and any art with typography or handwriting are appealing. When used for home staging art, it can add drama and some quirkiness, but there are limits to its practicality.

Let's look at the plus side of the ledger first. Here are some of the benefits of using signs for décor: 
  • They can set a mood with a message.
  • They can be inexpensive.
  • They are easy to hack (except for the fine art of real, hand penned calligraphy).
  • They can add a touch of lightheartedness.
  • Foreign languages look sophisticated when used as art.
  • Handwriting can look funky-fun-decorative.  

I loved this image the moment I saw it on Centsational Girl's blog. 
It feels so personal, nostalgic and graphic in all its overblown glory.
You can't go wrong with a vintage travel poster. This one is from Lakehouse Outfitters.

On the Other Hand

There is something compelling about the written word. People stop and read words. For this reason, I never encourage people to load up with anything that people want to stop and read.

If you feel compelled to announce your philosophy of life to the world, may I suggest that you write it in Spanish, French or Chinese or another language that speaks to you. "Carpe Diem" looks so much more sophisticated than "Seize the Day." And how about, "Dérouler le tapis rouge," for "Roll out the red carpet."

Keep it short.

Get your message across to your potential buyer by decorating in a style anyone could love, and leave the lettering for your next home when this one sells. 

Top photo: Apartment Therapy

Monday, October 27, 2014

Six Ways to Create Big Art

Staging a home calls for big strokes, whether we’re talking furniture, window treatments, accessories, or art. Big Art makes a house look more modern, more luxurious, more comfortable, more valuable.

And, It doesn't take up any floor space.

But any kind of large-scaled work of art is bound to have a price tag to match. DIY is the most practical solution, but not the whole answer. You still have to use your ingenuity.

1. Think Threesomes

Combine three identically framed pieces each with a third of one large picture.

You can use this same format to hang three similar posters, such as three images of Paris or three black and white photos of trees.
2. Upcycle Stuff

Look around. You probably already own over-scaled stuff. Use a  flat surface like a white board or cork board, as a base instead of reinventing the wheel. You might be able to convert a vinyl shutter or a window frame into a piece  of art, either covered with fabric or paper, or "as itself" pure and simple.

3. Re-Frame Them

Sometimes the frame isn’t the problem, but filling it with art is. When this happens, you can put a large empty frame around a framed smaller piece. I love this technique when I have art that's great for home staging in every way but size. So, don't pack up all your favorite small paintings!

Because of its size, the pencil drawing above would be too insignificant for staging. But when I added an ornate frame, it gets the boost it needs.    

4. Buy Insulation

Many decorators don't know that you can get huge sheets of foamcore for budget prices at places like Lowes and Home Depot. 

Just buy a piece of 1-inch thick rigid insulation at your home improvement store. They cost less than $20 and measure 4 by 8 feet. Cut it in half and you have two, lightweight, 4-foot by 4-foot surfaces that you can wrap with fabric.

I've done this and it works. I've also done this and it didn't work when I wrapped it with canvas and then painted the canvas. The board developed a slight warp. Advice: If you want to paint a canvas for your insulation board, do the painting and then wrap the insulation board with it. Wrap like a package, duct tape the fabric on the back, and hang with Command strips. No need for a frame.


All three parts of a triptych don't have to be equal widths, as shown in this 
painting of red tulips by Lourry Legarde available through FineArtAmerica.

5. Use Your Imagination

Hang items that weren’t designed to be wall hangings – rugs, quilts, flags, signs. They can be framed under glass, pasted into jumbo combinations, or hung as a gallery wall. As long as there is an aesthetic similarity -- the color, the style, the subject -- your collection will read as one Big Art.

An old window is the  perfect size and shape to fill an
awkward area. Photo from blogger Down to EarthStyle.

6. Get Out Your Scissors

Cut up a print or poster, and reassemble the pieces on a large canvas, cubist style.

Or you can create your own crazy cubist picture using your camera and photo editing to make a collage. 

Start with one subject  and photograph it from different angles.
I think a big "painting" in the style of cubism would bring any ho-hum space to life. Your camera is your friend here. Photograph the same scene from different angles and then create a collage with photo editing and over-scaled printing at a copy shop. Or print multiples of your pictures and cut and paste them to a canvas. Bingo!

I hope you have some fun creating Big Art for your home, whether you are staging it for sale or just dressing up your digs.

You can pick up more fun tips in my décor eBooks aimed at professional home stagers and homeowners prepping their own homes for market.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

How to Put Animal Art to Work for You

It doesn’t take much time on Facebook to realize how much people love animals.

Have you had your daily dose of adorable kittens and talented terriers?
  
Most people respond favorably to images of the non-scary animals like domestic cats, dogs, rabbits, horse, chickens and some exotic animals.

You can tap into this warm and fuzzy feeling by including some animal art when you stage your home.

I have blogged about the why and how of using animal images for staging, and I gave examples in that post of what to avoid.

Animal art can get a little tricky. You want to avoid anything too schmaltzy-sentimental or anything that looks scary. If you're shopping for animal art that helps your staging, stay away from discount stores and the taxidermy shop and you'll be okay.

Here are some examples of animal art that could add good staging style to a house.

Horses are always classy. This black and white image is a winner.
Although paint-by-number art is usually over-the-top kitschy,
somehow horses make it all good. Art from TheDooWopShop 
I know it's old fashioned and elitist, but it's also just plain nice to look at --
dogs painted in the English style, to the hunt or at rest like these.
One sure way to add a jolt of color is to choose a colorful animal. Flamingos and tropical fish 
are favorites, especially if your home has a tropical or coastal vibe. HDWallpapers. 
How to do a gallery wall the right way, with all the prints in
 matching frames, the same subject matter, and all having about the
same amount of visual weight. You're always safe with bird prints.
Don't these two octopi look friendly? And don't they fill an
alcove with cozy charm? Roughan Interiors.
And finally, what not to do. Imagine the greeting people on a home tour get when they meet
up with Daniel in the lions den. Art for staging needs to make people feel comfortable.
For much more advice on home staging, be sure to download your copy of my $5 eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast and for Top Dollar. I guarantee you'll be 100% satisfied, or I will give you your money back.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Five Mistakes Home Stagers Can't Make When Choosing Art

Sex and religion: a double whammy!
Home staging has been bashed for stripping a home of personality for the sake of a generic look. To this I say, “What’s wrong with generics if that’s what sells your home?”

There’s no accounting for taste. Or, as my grandfather would say, (rather than say “What the heck was that guy thinking?”)De gustibus non est disputandum,” which translates from the Latin as, “In matters of taste, there is no logic.”

He loved Latin

You might want the art on your walls to be an expression of your taste, but it better not be too expressive.

One easy way to make your art more generic is to avoid the mistakes common to these subject areas: Sports, vulgarity, politics, religion, and (surprise!) people's faces.

Sports

Sports loyalties are a big deal all over the globe. Some team rivalries are intense, so the safest route to a purchase offer is to keep your sports preferences a secret. Why alienate someone interested in buying your home? There are so many posters and paintings that are suitable for staging, ones that are easy to DIY or easy to buy, that hanging a NASCAR poster doesn’t make good sense. 

One exception might be vintage sports photos or similar archival images (not you in your high school basketball uniform). 
 
Vulgar

Vulgar is a word we don't hear that often. Instead we say, "sexually explicit," or even "politically incorrect."

Like obscenity, you know vulgar when you see it. Nudity is one of those controversial issues. Nude paintings have their place in art history, but to some people even Venus de Milo will be embarrassing. 

Always err on the side of caution whenever displaying artworks that include even vaguely sexually suggestive content. If you even think it might raise some eyebrows, then it probably will for some people. Remember that buyers often come from other cultures and other countries. We all have different sensibilities. 

So wrong on so many levels.
Political

Maybe you are the precinct chairman of the local GOP.

Maybe you worked on the Al Gore campaign. 

Let’s just say you have the posters or photos declaring your political passions. Even if you have a photo of you shaking hands with JFK, Ronald Reagan, or Martin Luther King, now’s the time to pack them into storage. Or cover them up with other, more benign, art for the time being. When your home is on the market is not the time to win votes, convert the undecided, or announce your political persuasions. Sorry.

Religious

I’m going to tread lightly here because I know how important faith is to people. It’s your call if you want to share your belief system with the art in your home when it’s for sale. Buyers will make decisions about the kind of person you are – to your benefit or not. My personal opinion is that the less the buyer knows about you, the seller, the better. It’s a factor of successful negotiating.
 
Buyers may not want to deal with someone they feel is either condemned forever, or else someone who would judge them negatively for their own personal religious beliefs. Spiritual beliefs run very deep, understandably so because along with our social mores, they form the core of value system and therefore our actions. 
  
Faces

Have you ever driven in traffic and suddenly become aware that the driver in the next car over is looking at you? Yeah, even our peripheral vision is attuned to full front faces. It must be hard-wired in our brains.

Faces command attention, so for this reason, I always suggest that if you are staging your home, you should avoid using artwork that includes faces.

Your job as stager is to keep people noticing the assets of your home, uninterruptedly.

People touring a home want to “own” a room as soon as they enter it, not enter and be confronted with the presence of a stranger. It’s subtle, but that’s what home staging is all about – subtleties.
   
Does this “rule” apply to pretty watercolor paintings of children playing at the beach? Or etchings of Classical Greek statues? No.  I’m referencing pictures like the examples shown here.

You’ll know when a face takes over a room.

My Message
Political opinions are a hot button topic. 

Do not fear the generic. It keeps you out of land mine territory.

If making your home a house rather than a home bothers you, remember that it’s only temporary. "Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis," means "Times change, and we change with them." [winking to Grandpa]

I hope your home staging efforts are making your home more beautiful and a pleasure to live in. For more encouragement, tips on cleaning, decluttering, furniture arrangement, window treatments, curb appeal, and everything else that makes a home attractive to buyers, download my eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast and for Top Dollar.  

Friday, October 24, 2014

Photo Editing to the Rescue!

If you had to choose an art form to call your own, would you rather pick up your camera than a paint brush?  

If so, you have solved the problem of how to decorate the walls of your home on the market.

Photographs are a smart choice for home staging.

They're more economical than other art forms, and you can easily produce your own images that will rival stuff you bring home from the store or order online.

Staging success with photos depends on the quality of the photo and of the framing. Write that down.

A frame has the power to elevate a photo from a simple print or snapshot to a work or art. Framing a photo usually includes matting the photo first. A mat makes all the difference!

The quality of the photo can be enhanced in the privacy of your own home, because today’s cameras and smart phones make it a snap to turn almost anything that captures your eye into an image worth sharing. Where the camera leaves off, the computer picks up.   

Make Your Pics Better

No matter how good a photographer you are, chances are editing will improve your pictures. If you are an experienced professional photographer, or a purist when it comes to camerawork, or someone who is making the effort to improve your raw photographing skills, then stop reading here.

Otherwise, find a photo editing program that works for you and stick with it. I've used Picasa exclusively for years and have never had problems. It's not as sophisticated as Photoshop, but it's free and serves my needs.

The basic tweaks for making pictures look better are
  • Straighten
  • Crop
  • Increase or decrease the contrast
  • Increase or decrease the color saturation
  • Lighten or darken or add highlights

Beyond these tools, the sky is the limit for how dramatic and stylized you want your photos to be.

Here's a photo I took of a bike rack. I liked the colors and the
repetition of lines, but there was clutter in the frame.
I cropped it to fit in a square frame. It's okay, but nothing special.

Same dimensions, but I really saturated the colors for an op art look. 

The bikes were almost unrecognizable when I converted the picture to a duotone.
 
Black and white is always a classic. And so are sepia tones, for a vintage look.

You don't have to do anything dramatic to your pictures to make them stage-worthy. If the photo has any merit at all, usually just smart cropping and bumping up the contrast will give you something you can mat, frame and hang.

I take lots of photos to get one good one. This is a shot I took that was nothing special. 
I decided to edit it to see if I could save something.

Same picture. I rotated the image, cropped close to a square format, made the colors
downright gaudy, and she's ready for her mat and frame.
No matter what age or style your home is, there’s a photographic approach that’s perfect for it. So, however you take your photos, I urge you to play with some of them to turn them into art pieces for staging.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Quick Art: Drip Paint and Strip Frame

Does your home need a facelift? Is it showing its age?

Cleaning and decluttering can do only so much to update a home.

That’s why professional home stagers paint walls with the colors that are trending, and replace furniture with pieces that look more current.

Another way is to hang modern art on your walls. 

Sure, there will be people shopping for a property that’s listed in the National Registry of Historic Homes, but the majority of people looking at homes to buy want more new than old. 

So let’s get your home looking newer.  

Side note to people with historic homes: modern art looks great with antiques!

Modern art is characterized by abstraction rather than realism. The new art that reared its head in the late 1800s and continued into most of the last century, has looked fresh ever since. 

Of all the styles that were labeled modern – cubism, pointalism, impressionism, expressionism, and other isms  -- the drip paintings that American artist Jackson Pollack became famous for are the easiest to imitate. He called his paintings "energy and motion made visible - memories arrested in space."

You can imitate that energy and motion in your own home. And then frame it with a clean-lined, homemade frame. 

Making the Painting

Start with a canvas ready for paint. It can't be a canvas board or foamcore covered with canvas. It has to have some depth so you can nail on the strip frame.

If unprimed, prime the surface with white or a light colored paint you're using elsewhere in your home. Yes, ordinary house paint. You can use either interior or exterior paint, but it should be a flat finish, not satin, semigloss or gloss. To dribble on colors, you can use either house paint or craft paints. Choose colors according to your palette for the room.     

Set up a work surface. The floor works best. Protect it with newspaper or a dropcloth. I find that using plastic as a dropcloth is never a good idea because paint sits on the surface of plastic, waiting for you to walk through it and then track on your floor. Dropcloths and paper absorb paint. 

It's best if you can walk all around the canvas on the floor.

Jackson Pollack's work at the Museum of Modern Art. Yours doesn't have to be THIS big.

The process is simple. If using house paints, pour a few inches into a throwaway container, and use a paint stirrer to dip and drip. If using craft paints, you can squeeze them directly from their containers. Tip: shake the containers and then test the squirtability on a piece of scrap paper.

You have your choice of two approaches. You can use rapid motions to distribute the paint. Or you can slowly drip the paint onto the surface. I go fast.

Although Pollack didn't do it, I like to keep a border around the edges so the art is framed by some whitespace and the eye has a place to rest. It also looks more deliberate, and less like you framed your dropcloth.
   

You don't have to get all-Jackson-Pollock. You can keep it elementary and use a single color.

The strip frames I used on these two paintings are really just cheater frames. They can be made by someone who can't make mitered corners, or just doesn't want to bother. Some will turn up their nose at my corners and others might say, "Why didn't I think of that?"

Making the Frame

If your canvas is rectangular, decide now if it will hang horizontally or vertically on the wall. Measure what will be the side edge, add 1.5 inches, and make a note of it. Measure the top or bottom edges, and note that. The side pieces of strip frame will overlap the top and bottom pieces, like this:



Have your home improvement center cut 1 x 2 pine lumber into four lengths, two each of the measurements you took. If you have a large vehicle and a saw, you can buy the lumber in one length and cut it yourself at home.

Make the wood strips smooth on all sides by going over them with 100-grit sandpaper. Take the sharp edges off by sanding them as well. Test to make sure your measurements were accurate by laying your strips on the edges of your stretched canvas. We've made the side strips long enough so that they cover the sawed ends of the top and bottom pieces.

Paint or stain the strips, including the ends. A dark color usually works best.

After your drip painting is dry (and this could take a couple days if the drips are heavy), you're ready to nail on your strip frame. Use 1.5-inch finishing nails. They are long enough to penetrate the strip frame and enter the stretcher, but have a small head that won't be noticeable.

Lay the strips on a work surface and start the nails in the wood at intervals of 6 to 8 inches. Position the top and bottom strips first, and nail them to the canvas, making sure the ends align with the canvas corners.

If the wood strips are wider than the canvas stretchers, make them flush with the back edge of the stretcher, and bumped out in front, They will look more like a regular frame that way.

Nail on the side pieces, overlapping the butt ends of the top and bottom pieces.


The back of your painting will look like this. The cut ends of the
lumber are covered by the side strips of your wood.

Your painting should be ready to hang. You can use screw eyes and wire for hanging on a picture hook, or Command strips on two edges of the frame.

If you like these ideas, download my $5 eBooks on DIY home staging, furniture arrangements, and no-sew window treatments. They're written for homeowners, home stagers, real estate investors, and anyone looking for easy ways to make a house more valuable.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chalk Drawings, Kinkos, and The Law

Since I am big on big art, I'm all for taking average size images to the copy shop and getting them blown up to be really impressive.

Often, if you just biggie-size ordinary art, it becomes magically frame-worthy

Case in point: the chalk drawings I did on the sidewalk outside my home.

I wanted to create something primitive in its appeal, and then bump it up a notch with today's technology to make it unusual.

Skirting the Law

Did you know that if you take printed images like calendar photos, greeting cars, or magazine pages into Staples or any copy center, they won't copy it because it violates copyright laws?

Here's what else falls into the same category:
  • Musical lyrics
  • Architectural drawings
  • Cartoons
  • Newspaper clippings
  • Maps
  • Paper currency (if reproduced same size)
Of course you can make copies of copyrighted or trademarked material if you have permission. It's not as difficult as it sounds. My Staples store told me even Google will give you written permission to use their images.

And of course there are plenty of free and public domain sources of images and graphics, from the Library of Congress to The Graphics Fairy.

Sometimes the simplest approach is to create your own images. That's what I did with a piece of chalk and my camera.

I paid just $3.89 plus tax to have the photo I took and put on a zip drive printed poster size as an "engineering/architectural print." It's a well kept secret that this blueprint copy is the economy way to go when you want a big, black and white reproduction. Poster sized full color images will set you back about $12 -- still a bargain, even though the paper is not heavy.

My advice: Look through your own photos. Or take some new photos you know will look good reproduced jumbo size. What can you create and legally enlarge for framing?

Discover other fresh ideas for staging your home from my $5 home staging eBooks.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Make Your Own Abstract Paintings

The art that’s ideal for home staging is the kind of art that blends into the background.

It creates a relaxed, cheerful, confident, buy-me-now kind of mood.
  
Paintings composed of just soft waves of pale colors strike just the right note.

They’re not paintings of anything specific. They are place holders, and more. 

I like to think they create the illusion of mist over a marsh on a day full of promise. Of daydreaming through squinted eyes at the sky as seen from a hammock.

The viewer can bring to the painting whatever he likes.
Of course, there’s a way to DIY these kinds of paintings.

The Steps to Making Your Dreamy Painting

The easiest way to begin is to buy a canvas board already primed and ready for your paint. They come in standard sizes, so it’s possible you can find a frame second hand that will fit. Tip: Buy the frame first, then the canvas.

But you can also buy a stretched canvas, the thick, boxy kind popular now that can go up on the wall without a frame and look perfectly fine. Even Wal-Mart sells them.

Next, you’ll need some paints. Wal-Mart is selling craft paints at two for $1. You can’t beat the price. Craft paints come in way more colors than you’ll ever need, at fair prices. They are easy to work, clean up easily, and dry fast.
    
You’ll need a pair of latex gloves. And a roll of transparent wrap.

I suggest using two to three colors, plus white, to keep the painting's palette simple. 
Squeeze a generous amount of paint onto the canvas, putting each color in a few different places. . 
Cover the canvas with sheets of transparent wrap. Use your gloved hands to move the paint
around, blending them in some places and keeping them pure in other spots.  
 
This is how the purple and grey painting looks finished, framed and hung. 
When I removed the Saran wrap, I used wads of it to smooth out the paint,
cover all the canvas, and blend some areas by dabbing.
The painting shown at the top of this post started with a canvas I primed grey. 
It was already framed snugly with a strip frame, so I taped that off before painting.
I chose two shades of green, plus yellow and white.
I switched over to a heavier pair of gloves, too, 
because the paint dabbing at the end of the process gets messy.  
 
Covered with Saran, the painting looked like this. I could see that I wanted to make the
blending more subtle, so that's when the Saran came off and the dabbing began.

I think you will be surprised how some large abstract paintings will give your rooms a much more modern look. They are powerful in their ability to transform the feel of a room. Try it.

Once you frame and hang your dreamy abstracts, no one would ever guess that they are simple, homemade art projects rather than the work of some talented artist. Unless you choose to brag about it.
 
Don’t forget to download my furniture arranging eBook. It’s just $5, and I guarantee your home will look better because you read it.

 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Cover-Up Collage from a Vintage Dress Pattern

I like art for home staging to be unique but not so novel that it takes over a room.

I like it to be big, and I like it to have a unobtrusive color scheme.

And it helps if the art adds a touch of whimsy to the space.

This DIY project fills the bill. It’s fun to do and you’ll be able to upcycle a less than desirable but large, glass-framed picture.

Big art can cost big money. But not this time. Here’s a way to take a large piece of art from the “Salvation Army Art Gallery” and convert it into something that I think is dynamite.

In my example, I used a 38” x 26” print of a Chinese painting. The gilt, bamboo-style frame was pretty, but the print was old. What happens to even good quality prints is that they fade in time. What’s worse is that different color inks fade at different rates.

Have you ever noticed old prints where the originally true reds turn maroon and the blues turn a tawny brown? Yeah, that’s aging.

So, even though this print had some redeeming qualities, the colors were off. It was time for a facelift in the interest of a more contemporary art piece for home staging. 
   
The skills needed for this project are the ability to use glue. You in?
For women of a certain age, these patterns are nostalgic. When the paper is 
glued down as art, a man might assume they are part of a mechanic's manual.

What you need
  • Large frame with glass, ready for hanging
  • Sheets of copy paper
  • Glue stick
  • School glue
  • Brush for glue and container for mixing it
  • Assortment of old dress patterns
  • Vinyl letters and numbers (optional) 

Steps to Take

Use the glue stick to paste down sheets of copy paper to cover the glass. Begin at the corners and the edges. It doesn’t matter if the sheets of paper overlap, but they should lie down fairly flat. I put glue all around the edge of the sheet and make a big X in the middle of it before sticking it down.

The faded print or controversial photo gets a clever cover-up that could be temporary.
Once the entire glass is covered with white paper, mix the school glue with an equal amount of water in a wide mouth container.

You’re going to cover the entire surface (now white) with tissue paper pattern pieces just like we did when we made a collage. Start at the outside edges and corners and use the straight edged pattern pieces there. You can wrinkle the paper to make it fit inside the frame. You want to hide the bright white paper with the vintage tissue paper.
   
Use the brush (I use a 2-inch bristle brush) to apply glue to the white paper surface. Then lay the pattern pieces down, one at a time, and brush the surface of each pattern piece with more glue solution as you go.
You don’t have to cut apart large sheets of patterns. Your pieces can be large or small, partial or whole.

I use school glue, but you might prefer Modge Podge. They both make collages easy
Once you have an interesting layering of pattern pieces, and the entire entire surface is covered with at least one layer of tissue, brush the surface with the glue solution. It doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth. Some bumps and ridges are okay.

The finished collage has all the appeal of an old map, but without the specifics.

For some additional black accents, press on a few assorted vinyl letters, numbers or symbols. It should look like some kind of set of instructions gone bananas.

Letters and numbers add impact and interest. Use as many as you like, or none at all.

What was a dated, faded Asian image has become a snazzy piece of modern art. 
Tips for Success
 
Don’t worry about the paper wrinkling or tearing. As long as your outside edges are straight, it will look good.

I like the paper to be glued down wrong side up so the directions are backwards and not really legible. It’s part of the silliness of the composition.

What I really like about this technique is that you can return the art to its original style after your home is sold, if you loved what was originally under the glass. Maybe you didn't want to decorate with your big photo of Miley Cyrus or that poster for The San Francisco Giants. Just use damp cloths to loosen the glue and remove the layers of paper, being careful not to let water seep around the edge of the glass to the original print underneath.  

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