Wide expanses of blank wall space in a home’s interior beg for a piece of art to add visual interest to a room. But, what if you do not have a lot of money to spend on a very large painting that would fill such an empty space?
We have a solution to this dilemma that calls for using an inexpensive construction material that you can pick up at home improvement centers such as Home Depot or Lowe’s. Add some paint, and your own creative touches, and you will have an objets d’art – - an article of artistic value – - that you will be proud of.
Here are two samples of large pieces of art created using our technique for less than $20 each. Create your OWN look with different paint and designs.
YOU WILL NEED:
A piece of extruded polystyrene foam board to serve as the base form. Also known as “blue board” or “pink board,” these are large, rigid foam board insulating panels for home improvement projects, such as adding walls to a basement. Made by several companies, we used pink board by Owens-Corning, which Corning calls “Foamula insulating sheathing”. Each panel is 96-in. long, 48-in. wide and 1/2-in. thick. Home Depot sells it for about $10 per board.
“Foamular insulating sheathing” (Pink board) by Owens-Corning
- Acrylic paint
- 4 1-in. nails
- Old newspaper
- Painter’s tape
TRANSPORTATION and HANDLING:
- You will need a large SUV OR a pickup truck with a tie-down to bring a sheet of foam board this large home.
- Sheets are fairly lightweight and can be handled by one person.
- Foam sheets are easily punctured, so take extreme care when handling. (Although it is possible to camouflage small holes with paint and other creative measures during the decorative process.)
- When selecting a foam board to purchase, rifle through the stack to find a piece in as close-to-perfect shape as you can find.
- There are 2 places to paint a foam board panel once you get it home. The first area is to prop the panel upright over some spread-out sheets of newspaper in a garage or large work area. The second method is to attach it to the wall and paint it while it is mounted on the wall. Likewise use newspaper behind the foam panel along the perimeter to keep paint from getting on the wall. You may wish to use painter’s blue tape to hold the newspaper in place. Choose which method you prefer.
- Decide where the foam panel will be hung and mark off the area on the wall so that the panel will hang level.
- Mount the foam panel (either before painting or after) using one of these methods:
- Nail the panel directly into wall studs. Locate where the wood beams are (generally 16-in. apart) and hammer through the panel onto the wall using one nail on each corner. Add one or two nails into the center of the board if the board is bowed and conceal the nail heads with spackle or paint after you have decided on your design; OR
- Apply double-sided, heavy-duty mounting tape to the back of the panel and press it into the wall’s surface.
- Peel off the protective film that covers the foam board before attaching it to a wall AND before painting it.
- Choose colors for your artwork that will enhance the room it will be in. Select a color that is directly opposite the color wheel of a room’s general shade for a striking and dynamic look. For example, if grey or green are the dominate tone in a room, create wall art with bright red or orange dominant features.
- Select muted tones inspired by nature for a soothing effect.
- Look at other works of art for inspiration.
- Add spackle compound on top of some areas of the panel before painting it to create a work of art without a flat surface. Let the spackle dry (about 30 min.) before painting over it.
- Add other material to the surface of the painting before or after painting it. Get creative! Such added material could include:
- Interesting hardware such as nuts or bolts;
- copper pipe
- glass beads
- metal scroll work
- smaller pieces of art such as diminutive frames, photographs or prints
- Use a 3-in. disposable foam paint brush or a Styrofoam-handled disposable paint wedge to paint on a base coat of acrylic paint. Choose a color that is generally what you wish to use as your background color.
- Sketch shapes directly onto the dried base coat of paint, if desired.
- Cover imperfections in the foam board itself with dabs of spackling compound, added materials or deft use of paint application.
- Once the paint has dried entirely, it is possible to repaint the entire panel until you are satisfied with the results. You may also wish to change the look every now and then as the rooms decor changes.