I’ve been wanting to have a gallery wall for quite some time now. Although I am yet to have enough elements to create a full and nice-looking gallery wall, I am working my towards it little-by-little, so I won’t break the bank [that’s *my* job, hehehe -Greg]. Among other things, I want our gallery wall to have several family pictures. But not normal-sized pictures – I want big prints…like really big prints…18″ by 18″ or 20″ by 20″…and of course, colored prints!
When I recently opened this subject to Greg, he told me that I wanted too much. LOL. Whenever he tells me that, I respond with “I know, I always go for the best. I married you, didn’t I?” With that response, he caves in to whatever I want… always works like a charm 😉 Anyway, back to the subject.
Yes, maybe he was right…maybe I wanted too much…but a girl can dream, right? I knew those big prints weren’t cheap, but being the “little crafty-pants,” I also knew I could find a workaround. And I did 😉
Last year, I found three old windows at Put & Take. Without a second thought, I picked them all, because I saw similar ones on craigslist before, and they were 10 to 15 dollars each. One side of the windows was painted red and the other side was bare wood.
The windows were in really decent shape, but it was no surprise why someone put them to Put & Take: the red paint was all over the place. I chose one for my project and got to work.
Before anything else, I needed to clean it. But before even that I had to check whether it had lead paint or not. You see…there is always a possibility that anything painted before 1978 would have been painted with lead paint. As I wasn’t sure how old these windows were, I gave them a quick lead paint test. Luckily, the results were negative!
Using a razor blade I started cleaning the red paint from glass.
Next, I vacuumed all the dust and particles, which I then followed with a proper cleaning.
Look at that beauty! I know, I know… not there yet! But it will get there with some fresh paint.
Next, I started putting painters tape on the glass so painting would be quick and easy. I did this to both sides of the window as I was planning to paint both sides.
After giving some thought on how I should paint it, I decided to go with a crackled finish. For the crackled finish, I used two different types of paint: my homemade chalk paint for the base coat and latex paint for the top coat. I could have gone entirely for latex paint, but just to gain some time on the entire painting process, I chose my homemade chalk paint for the base coat, as it dries quicker than the latex paint.
I prepared my homemade chalk paint in two different colors (blue and turqouise-green) and started working on the red side of the window.
I painted it with 2 coats of blue color homemade chalk paint and let it dry properly.
When the chalk paint was dry, I applied a thick layer of Modern Masters Crackle and waited for the crackle medium to dry to the touch. Then I painted one coat of latex paint in turqouise-green color, and watched it crackle.
Ok, I admit that I forgot to take step-by-step pictures of this process, as I was so fascinated with the way the crackle medium works. But don’t worry, I have the process pictures of the other side of the window 😉
After the first side was completed, I started working on the bare wood side of the window. I painted it with 2 coats of homemade chalk paint in turquoise-green and let it dry.
Next, I applied a thick layer of Modern Masters Crackle medium. Here is the first hint: the thicker you apply this medium the deeper and bigger the crackles you are going to get.
Here is a closer picture for you to see how thick I applied it.
Once it dried to the touch, I applied one coat of latex paint custom-matched to old white color.
Here is the second hint: when applying paint on the crackle medium, load your brush moderately, and try to brush in one direction. Also, once you pass one area with paint, don’t go back to the same area to re-brush it.
About 5 minutes after applying the paint, it started to crackle.
I watched the crackle medium do its job and just waited for the paint to dry. Once the paint dried, I took the painters tape off and cleaned the glass once again.
Now my old window was ready for the picture I chose which was 3648 by 2736 pixels big (about 4MB file size).
To prepare the picture, I measured the window’s entire glass area and cropped my picture to fit that size using a picture editor (any picture editor will do). My window’s glass is 20″ by 18,” therefore I cropped my picture to be 3000 by 2700 pixels. That was roughly equivalent to 150 dpi (dots per inch) which was enough resolution for standard printing. I know, I know… My geeky side is about to take over, so I am going to pass this part very quick. Anyway…as I had 6 panes, I copied the picture 6 times on my computer. Then, I cropped each one of them to fit each pane. By doing so, I completed dividing my picture into 6 parts.
If you want an easier way to do it, you can use BlockPosters.com. They have a free online tool where you can slice big images into however many pieces you like. Trust me – it’s very easy to use and you’ll love it!
Once dividing the picture was completed, one-by-one I printed all the parts on normal copy paper and I placed them in the relevant panes using scotch tape.
And with that my big size family picture project was complete.
It looks like a view from a window, doesn’t it?
For me it is the best view ever: my boys are happy and having great time together!
Here are some close-up pictures for you to see the crackled finish a bit better.
With crackled finish, if you are after a realistic result, randomness in cracks is what you should go for! Hence I really like the job Modern Masters Crackle medium does, as the crackles always turn out very random: big and small, horizontal and vertical…all together but totally in a random setting.
Here is one more…even closer-up.
The more I look at my first big-size print, the more I am loving it, and the best part is that I didn’t spend any money at all to have it.
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