Tag Archives: Artwork

Nautical Map Canvas Artwork for Less

nauticalmap2For a number of years I have been earmarking nautical maps as home decor. The day has finally come where I finally have one hanging on my wall – and I want to share how I did it for a fraction of the cost. (Are you surprised?)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) navigational charts are free for the public to use. Charts can be found for all coastal area of the U.S.A., and even the great lakes, which is perfect because you can choose an area that is meaningful to you.

The North Shore Harbormasters have conveniently added links to locals maps at this link for other local Bostonians.

(Charts are not to be used for commercial purposes)

nauticalmap1I chose Cape Ann, North of Boston – an area we lived in and loved for seven years, which makes it something I am happy to stare at.

Once you have your chart of choice on the NOAA website, just right-click and save the large-scale PDF to your personal computer.


I wanted to have mine printed on canvas. I ended up trying Easy Canvas Print because they had the best sale that day. Cheapest isn’t always the best, but I wanted to give it a shot.

I purchased my 30″x34″ custom size canvas for $65 ($159 without the promo code). Similarly sized nautical canvas pieces I have seen in stores have been priced around $300.

My review of Easy Canvas Print:

Their online file-uploader does not take very large files – so I had to scale down my file quite a bit to get it to upload. In turn this made me worried about the end-result of the print quality, but I am happy to say that it looks crisp and clear.

Also, I am not sure how, but they cropped my image wrong so parts of the map were cut off. However, I called the customer service and they were very friendly, and sent me a new one straight away with no extra cost to me. It took time with shipping, and to get the new canvas, but I love the end result!

Even better, they are one of those website with constant promo codes. If you sign-up for their email newsletter, you can get 40% off. However, I struck gold when one day they were randomly offering 65% for first-time orders. Keep an eye on the website and I’m sure it will come around again.

This is not a sponsored post. Just passing on a good find!

Once I got my new canvas, I put it right up on the nail where an old painting was hanging. Not the right height, spacing, or anything – I just wanted to see it on the wall.nauticalmap4I plan to DIY a frame to help it stand out from the walls – the tones are too similar now. I’d like to replace the DIY Cabinet Door Numbers Artwork with something more colorful. But first I’ll need to learn how to use some new tools and cross something off my bucket list!

nauticalmap5You may notice we have a bit of work to do in the living room – we never re-centered the artwork over the couch after we moved it over for the newly widened doorway…. which is still missing the trim boards…. and the sloppy paint lines where the crown molding is supposed to go… đŸ™‚

Such is a renovation life. And (spoiler alert) we’ve got a few other projects keeping us busy!

Do you think a white or stained frame would help the artwork to pop better?

Turning Old Cabinet Doors into Art

Remember all those pesky kitchen cabinet doors that I attempted to refinish?

Well, since this space above our couch was looking pretty empty…

We decided to make a few additions to help round out the space above the couch…

I upcycled our old kitchen cabinet doors into custom artwork.

Since I refinished all the doors before we decided to were going to buy new ones, I didn’t want to let them all go to waste. (I tried to sell them, but since they were all such weird sizes (again, it’s an old house) they weren’t of any use to anyone.

It fits into my love for graphic art and it’s also sentimental – the dates of our engagement and wedding. It also doesn’t hurt that this project was 100% F-R-E-E.

The boards tie in with the rustic aspects of the oar (Many people ask if I made this -I wish! It is from Pottery Barn.) and pitted wood “matte/border” of the center artwork .

You may also notice, I spray painted the center frame a dark brown so it would pop off the walls more.

I’ll be back with a tutorial later this week!

Weathered Wood Block Artwork

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck…kidding!

I’ve always wanted one of those signs that said “As for me & my house, we will serve the Lord” to put in our home. We’ve seen them in stores, but most of them are not our style. So I decided to make one. How hard could it be?

I actually had all the supplies already on hand, so I hunkered down one evening and got to work.

Step 1.

Find yourself a piece of wood. I’m sure Home Depot and Loews have little pieces to buy, but this one was just sitting in our basement begging for love. I just cleaned it off and sanded some rough patches.

Step 2.

Paint it! I used a blue acrylic paint that you can buy for about $2 at any art store. Just slap it on. I didn’t prime the piece or anything. It won’t be handled often, so you won’t need to worry about wear and tear. I also wanted a bit of a watery, weathered look so I didn’t go on too thick. Let it dry.

Step 3.

Pick your words. Type it up on your computer and choose a font that will be fairly easy for you to replicate (blocky = easy). Make sure you measure your piece of wood and determine how your wording will best fit within that size. I created mine in Adobe Illustrator – but Word or PowerPoint would be fine also. Print it out and test the size. (My words measure 6×10′”)

Step 4.

Tracing time. Use a soft-tipped pencil. (Did you know pencils come in hardness levels from A1-B9? A1 is a very hard lead, B9 is a thick soft lead. You can get them at any local art store.) I choose a B9 because I wanted a very soft lead for the transferring process. Turn your paper over and trace the outlines of each letter.

If you can’t see right through the paper, you can use a light table (lucky person!), or tape the paper up to a window so the light will shine through (an old art class trick). Make sure you press hard.

Step 5.

Transfer time. Place your paper printer side up on the wood block. Hold it down firmly with one hand. With the other aggressively scribble over the words. Go to town! The pressure of the pencil should cause the lead on the other side to leave a trace on the paint.

Peek under to make sure it’s transferring, but don’t move your hand that is holding the paper! Otherwise you will end up with crooked lines.

The transfer should look like this when you’re done.

Step 6.

Paint the letters. I choose a very tiny, thin, stubby brush for my lettering. If you don’t have steady hands I would buy a paint pen from any local art store. It may be easier. I might try that next time!

You will want to go over it a few times and refine your edges. It doesn’t need to be perfect because you can distress it. (And it’s part of the charm!)

Step 7.

After it’s dried, get out your sandpaper! It can be a high grit (I think I used 220) since you’ll only be sanding off paint. I sanded all the edges and a few spots on the surfaces and some of the wording.

I also used a very low grit (60) just a tiny bit to get the scratches.

Bada boom. You’re done.

I’m not sure how we’ll display it yet: prop it up, put a frame hook on the back, or attach some string with hooks in the top. The possibilities are endless!!


Total Cost:

Wood: free, or under $10
Paint: $5
Sandpaper: $3