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The Secret to Cheap (& large) Art

OK - so maybe this isn't a "secret".

HOWEVER, I think some people don't realize how EASY & CHEAP it is to get unique art for their home.

I do this ALL THE TIME. I get an idea and need to have it RIGHT then and then my frugal self says, "how can I do this the cheapest way possible?". HAHA! (hey, I'm a girl on a budget!)

So if you're like me and you love changing up your wall decor, keep reading to find out how you can add permanent OR temporary wall decor on a budget AND in most cases, (and bonus) IN UNDER AN HOUR.

So what I mean by "permanent" OR "temporary". I LOVE changing up, pretty much everything, in my home. This includes: a steady rotation of photos of my kids, a ton of seasonal wall art, and, not related, playing musical chairs with the chairs in my dining room. ENTER: command strips. I think by now, EVERYONE, has at least heard of these, if not tried them out.

I LOVE THEM. Literally, almost everything hung on the walls in my home is hung with these. For someone who changes their mind every 30 seconds, this is the perfect temporary "fix". So the moral is, don't be afraid to hang seasonal wall decor directly on your walls. (No, it wont pull the paint off.)

As soon as I saw this dreamy typography print (from Etsy) I had to have it.

This print cost me $8.09 TOTAL. This includes the image AND the printing. (24x36 - $3.59) NOTE: This size is not advertised on this ETSY listing download so I just messaged her and she sent it to me via email.

What I normally use to frame: This Belmont frame from Michael's is sturdy and the border itself is thicker than the average "poster" frame. These are, most of the time, 50% off from Michael's and it comes in 4 different colors: Black, White, Honey , and Gray. I hang this frame using 4 of the large command strips.

They didn't have the white frame in stock when I went so I had to think of something else.

What I used this time. Wood trim from Lowe's $12.97:

One strip is 48" long. I sawed it into 2 equal pieces using a VERY high tech tool: a serrated kitchen knife. - Oddly enough, I do not recommend that.... I cut my finger. WHO KNEW?!

The "frame" cost me $12.97. (I literally had this laying around in my basement.) I attached this strip directly to the "snow..." print using GLUE DOTS. I then put a command strip on the back of the paper and attached it to the wall. This print is SUPER light, and I have no worries of it falling off...

SO, back to the secret:


Que the angels singing.

If you peruse around as much as I do you will notice some art/photos/pictures/drawings/invitations being listed as "Instant Download". These files are often VERY inexpensive (most of the time less than $10) and as soon as you buy them, you receive a message through ETSY of the files. Often times, multiple files, depending on what size you want to print.

The Second Part...

What I normally do: I usually upload my new file to Photo center. Choose the size I want and select "Same Day Pickup". This option is usually ready in under an hour and is slightly more expensive but quality is a little bit better than the below option. Walgreen's almost always has a 30-60% off photo sale on the website.

What I did this time: Because I bought an 11x14 first and decided it was too small, I didn't want to spend to much more on a print. So, I logged on to and went to their "Blueprints" section. This is an "engineering blueprint". There are a least 5 "warnings" on the site about jeopardizing the quality of uploading photos to be printed as engineering blueprints. I've personally never had any problems with this. The photo below is a color photo print and i think it turned out fine. I actually got this printed in the largest size possible (a whopping 36x48 - a previous DIY) and re-purposed it and trimmed it to fit into the frame. Below is "Chamomile" in a 16x20 frame.

The below project cost me $69.27.

Each one is 24x36 - Hung using only command strips. (that's me in the reflection of the bull)

Broken down: The pair of images on ETSY cost me $9.27. I printed them at Walgreens for $15 a piece (only $3.59 a piece if you do blueprints at Staples). And then the frames were $14.99 a piece (on sale. - originally $24.99)

To show you how big these photos are... here is a better view:

Before the "bull" photos I had the ones below... In fact they are still in their frames, behind the bull ones, so they can easily be switched out when I get tired of the bull walking across my living room. This is a cheap, easy way of changing the whole look and feel of a room.

So one morning: I saw an idea, bought the ETSY download, uploaded it to, picked up the print on my lunch break, stopped and bought the frames at Michael's on my way home, and hung them up myself with command strips. For someone with the "need to have it now" mentality, this less than a day turnaround for a unique DIY project is right up my alley.

Here are some of my favorite "Instant Downloads" and Shops for Instant Downloads on ETSY:

Watercolor Leaf: My Paper House Shop

I love my tribe: Always Rooney Prints

Bunny: LilaxLola

Motel: LilaxLola

This must be the place: Beguima Studio

Another great Instant Download Art Shop: Juniper Print Shop

The options are endless! Happy Wall Shopping!

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