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One problem, well maybe not a problem exactly, is knowing when you’ve finished. I have worked on this so much and changed the colors so many times, that I managed to much up the eyes. Here’s an earlier version:

An earlier version

An earlier version

Here’s after I’ve worked on it too much:

After over-working it

After over-working it

So my advise is to keep a printout of the original picture (the one with the reduced colors or posterized) to refer back to if you messed something up.

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I decided that I wanted the paint to be thick and textured for 2 reasons, 1) because I was going to have to hide the seams between the pages, and 2) well, I just thought it would look cool.

Craft paint is super thin and art acrylics are too expensive, so I went to Michaels to find “gel”, which according to folks online can be used to make your paint really thick. Here is the stuff the clerk suggested I use:

Medium weight matte gel

Medium weight matte gel

The medium gel ended up not being as thick as I wanted, so I went back and bought this later:

Heavy weight matte gel

Heavy weight matte gel

I was careful to get the matte variety, as I din’t want the painting to be shiney, but that’s all a metter of what you like.

I also liked the idea of a sandy texture, so I bought a jar of this stuff:

The sand texture stuff

The sand texture stuff

The gel doesn’t seem to affect the paint color once it dries, but the sandy texture stuff does because it’s white.

For paint I just used cheap craft acrylics that you can get at Michaels, Walmart or JoAnn‘s:

Cheap craft paint

Cheap craft paint

So now all you have to do is start painting and have fun!

Painting the background

Painting the background

Lots of texture

Lots of texture

 

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I didn’t build the frame until I had finished ironing on the image, just to be sure of the correct size. I bought 1″ x 1″ square trim from The Home Depot for the frame.

Lay the canvas out on the floor to measure out the size of the frame:

Measure the frame before building it

Measure the frame before building it

Build the frame, and place it under the canvas. Center the canvas over the frame, and put some pushpins into the sides to hold it while you flip it over. Use more pushpins to stretch the canvas & hold it before stapling:

Use pushpins to adjust the canvas before stapling

Use pushpins to adjust the canvas before stapling

This gives you a chance to check the whole thing out from the front again:

Check out the alignment before stapling

Check out the alignment before stapling

Staple everything down and trim away the excess fabric. Folding the corners is a real pain in the neck!

Staple & trim the canvas

Staple & trim the canvas

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Take the large piece to be stretched, and ironed it out flat.

Then fold it into quarters (so I would later be able to find the center), and ironed creases into it. The “+” crease will mark the center of the canvas.

Iron creases into the stretching canvas

Iron creases into the stretching canvas

For each page that you printed, there will be a small white margin visible. You can either trim these off of all the pages (and then assemble the image edge-to-edge), or do as I did, which was to start with pages that still had the border and just trim the edges of pages that I would overlap over those borders (I decided this was easier).

To mark where I needed to cut, I just laid a sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper over the fabric and traced the outline. Along the way I discovered that many of the pages printed a little cock-eyed, so I had to monkey around with where to draw the outline to cut. Nothing needs to be completely exact, as you can always fix stuff by painting over it later:

Trace out the edge to cut

Trace out the edge to cut

Unfold the large canvas so that the “+” crease is on the ironing board. Find the center of your image from the numbered print preview:

Find the center of the image

Find the center of the image

In my case, this means that I need to find pages 15, 16, 21 and 22. One-by-one, peel off the paper backing, position the page image side up & sticky side down to the canvas center. Iron each page down according to the Heat Bond instructions:

Iron the image onto the stretching canvas

Iron the image onto the stretching canvas

Here’s a step I should have done. When you have ironed all of the pages down, flip the whole canvas over to look for places where the glue didn’t stick correctly (it’s easier to see it from this side). Re-iron where necessary.

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Start off by getting a screenshot of the print preview of your picture in Visio. You’ll need this to keep track of which portions you have printed (since pages must be printed one-by-one), and later for placement on the main canvas. Number each cell:

Print a screenshot of the Print Preview

Print a screenshot of the Print Preview

Test your printer to be sure that you know which side of the page gets printed on. To do this, mark an “X” on a piece of paper, and orient it in the paper tray with the “X” facing down. Print something (doesn’t matter what). Did the thing you printed come out on the X’d side of the paper? If so, then you will orient the pages you made fabric side down in the printer.

Now to print the picture. Remove all paper from the printer’s paper tray, and slide in a single sheet of the paper backed fabric into the tray, being careful to orient it as per the test above.

Open Visio to the print preview, click on a single cell, the select Print and “Current Page”:

Print a single piece of image

Print a single piece of image

Once you click ‘Print’, you may need to carefully guide the fabric through. I destroyed a couple that started to go through cock-eyed & got jammed up.

After each page is printed, write the cell number (from the print preview above) on the back of the page, and check it off on your numbered print preview (so you can kep track of what’s been printed).

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So you’ll need 2 large pieces of fabric – 1 to stretch over the frame, and 1 to cut up into 8.5 by 11 pieces to print on.

For the large canvas to stretch, I just bought a piece of natural colored muslin from Walmart. I made sure that this piece would be large enough to stretch around, and behind, the frame so that it could be stapled down.

The second piece only needed to be as large as the image in Visio, but enough that it could be cut into the correct number of 8.5 x 11 sheets.

I also bought a bunch of heavy duty Heat Bond (from Walmart). Heat Bond is like glue stuck to paper. You iron the sticky side to the fabric, and when it cools, you can peel off the paper backing, flip the fabric sticky side down, and iron that onto to another piece of fabric.

Heat Bond

Heat Bond

Iron the fabric that will be cut into the 8.5 x 11 pieces.

Iron a sheet of the Heat Bond onto the fabric:

Iron the Heat Bond onto the fabric

Iron the Heat Bond onto the fabric

Cut away the strip of fabric with the Heat Bond:

Cut the Heat Bond'd strip

Cut the Heat Bond'd strip

Use a piece of paper to trace 8.5 x 11 rectangles on the paper backing of the Heat Bond. The paper should be wide enough to trace 2 columns of rectangles:

Trace rectangles

Trace rectangles

Cut out the rectangles, and trim neatly so that they will go through the ink jet printer:

Cut out the 8.5 x 11" rectangles

Cut out the 8.5 x 11" rectangles

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I used Microsoft Visio to enlarge the photo, as it will let me print portions of the photo onto 8.5 x 11 sheets. You may be able to do this in Microsoft Word or other programs, but I haven’t checked into it.

First you need to calculate how large you want the portrait to be. Once you do that, you need to get exact calculations by pulling out your high school algebra to be sure that the size you want maintains the same ratio of the original photo.

Open Visio, and create a new page with the custom size that you calculated:

Select the page size

Select the page size

Import the picture, and manually size it to fill the page. Adjust the Print Setup so that it will print onto 8.5 x 11 pages

Set the print setup

Set the print setup

 

Look at the print preview to check that pages will come out as you expect:

Check the Print Preview

Check the Print Preview

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