Having a well decorated apartment is frustratingly expensive. Bare walls can make a place feel sterile and temporary. The problem is, buying things that are large enough to fill those walls cost a lot of money.
Even at places like Ikea, a large piece of wall art can easily run $70+, and you're stuck with the design choices they offer.
And if you've ever looked into having something framed, I bet you were as shocked as I was, “Wait, what? That's more than the cost of the art!”
So if you're looking for a super cool piece of large art, and an easy affordable alternative to picture frames I've got just the project.
I stumbled across this vintage graphic created by NASA showing the six different landing spots of the Apollo missions. It's got a really cool design aesthetic, and it's already black and white making it perfect for printing as an Engineering Print, more on that below.
I decided to create a ‘hanger' style option. It sort of has an old-school classroom feel, which is appropriate for the map. I also love the way the brown wood and leather looks against the black and gray of the map.
What you need:
- A large print or poster like this Map of the Moon Landings ($7.96 printed at Staples)
- Two pieces of lightweight wood that are as wide as your print, like these 36″ mahogany boards ($12)
- Leather cording or other string ($2)
Click the button to download the map:
Step 1: Print & buy wood
If you missed our first DIY print and frame project, check out how to create a large wood frame for an old map. Download the moon landing map and upload it to a place like Staples to have it printed as an Engineering Print. These are giant, up to 36″x48″. They're intended to be used for blueprints and the like, but screw it, we're being resourceful! The paper is a little thicker than your standard printer paper, and the print is similar to a laser printer. You can upload the file to Staples, and pick it up in-store in a day or two. You could probably just take it in on a flash drive too.
After you've got your Engineering Print, head over to the moulding aisle at your local Lowes or Home Depot. I used mahogany board, .75″ x 1.5″ that was $1.82 per foot. You can find even cheaper options if you select a different wood, but I liked the color of the mahogany and liked that I wouldn't need to stain it.
Step 2: Cut the wood
You'll need two 36″ pieces. Take the mahogany to the little cutting station, measure out the pieces and cut.
Tip: Start your cut with the ‘good' side facing up, as the wood can splinter a bit when the saw finally cuts through the bottom. Also, if you can help it, avoid using the side with the sticker on it, as it was kind of a pain to remove and the wood under the sticker ended up being a little lighter than the rest. And I didn't want to have to sand or stain.
Step 3: Place the boards
Head back home and lay the Engineering Print out on a flat surface, and place the two mahogany pieces on top. Since the sides of the print have a thin white line, I positioned the wood to give an equally thick line on the top and bottom.
Step 4: Tape and staple the paper
Use two pieces of tape on the side and end of the wood to temporarily hold the paper in place. Flip everything over, and using just a regular old stapler, add staples down the length of the board to attach the paper to the board. Since the wood is so lightweight, this is more than adequate to hold everything together. Plus, unlike if you use glue, you can undue the staples if it ends up being crooked or wrong for some reason.
Repeat this step for the bottom board. After you're sure you have it attached the way you want, go back and trim the extra paper off with a pair of scissors.
Step 5: Add the leather cord
Next, staple the leather cord to the back of the wood similar to the layout below. It doesn't have to be pretty, it just has to work! I used 44″ of leather cord. This was suede leather cord for crafts that I picked up on Amazon, but you could also find it locally or use something like a boot lace. You could also use a non-leather option if you wanted.
And that's it! Super simple and I really love how it came out. I like the way the brown wood looks with the black, white, and gray of the print.
If you make it, I'd love to see a photo! Upload in the comments, or tag @primermagazine on Instagram or @primermag on Twitter!