Once you’ve printed yourself some free art, you’ll need to hang it. Framing posters can get pricey, but this simple wooden poster hanger costs less than $7, and takes about 5 minutes to put together. You can adapt it to any size poster, and easily take it apart when you move.
One of the big problems with decorating dorm rooms is that you usually can’t hang anything that requires nails. Avoiding wall damage is required with many rentals, though, not just dorms. So if you don’t want to be limited to posters stuck to the wall, here’s how you can make an inexpensive DIY frame that should be lightweight enough to hang from removable stick-on wall hooks. (Back when I went to college, I don’t think they had those yet. It was the Dark Ages.)
For the print, I used this WPA poster mostly because I think it’s lovely, but also because on August 25, 2016, the National Park Service turns 100! I just discovered that admission is free to all 412 national parks this weekend, August 25-28, 2016, so it’s a great time to go. Maybe they’ll have birthday cake? Cake or not, if you’ve ever been to a National Park, I probably don’t need to tell you that they contain some of the country’s most beautiful scenery. And they certainly do preserve life.
Here’s a link to the high-res version I actually printed. I cropped and resized it for a 13″ x 19″ piece of paper. I always print art on this matte presentation paper, or the same paper in 8 1/2″ x 11″ size. It’s expensive, but in combination with my printer (my beloved Canon), I can get really gorgeous, giclée-quality results.
Want to make your own poster hanger? Here’s how.
First, a couple of notes on materials. You need to use binder clips that fit around your wood/wood that fits in your binder clips. Also, if you’re using a utility knife to cut your wood, you’ll want it to be on the thinner side. So I’d choose your clips first, then find wood that’s thin enough that two pieces will fit in the clips. The clips I was looking at just have sizes like “small,” “medium,” or “large,” and they don’t tell you how wide they can open, so take your chosen clips with you when you buy your wood. My wood pieces are each 3/16″ thick, so 6/16″ (3/8″) fit in my medium clips. Depending on your clips, you might not be able to find thin enough wood at hardware stores, so try the hobby wood section at craft stores. (Am I making this sound complicated? It’s not, I swear.)
Speaking of binder clips, Target has lots of really cute ones, including the copper ones I used here. I like these perforated black, white, and copper ones, too. Kikkerland makes these really cool skeleton black, copper, or brass clips, which I found at my local New Seasons grocery store, of all places. Depending on the clips you use, the look of your poster hanger could really vary.
Simple Wooden Poster Hanger
Wood – I used two 24″-long, 3/8″-wide, 3/16″-thick basswood pieces I bought at a craft store.
Binder clips – I used these.
Twine or string
Ruler or measuring tape
Utility knife with a sharp blade (an X-acto knife might also work)
Cutting surface (scrap wood works well)
I really wanted to make this project doable for somebody who doesn’t have much in the way of tools. So that means definitely no power tools, and not even a saw. But if you have more tools, there’s obviously no reason not to use them!
1. Measure the wood, and mark where you’ll cut it with a pencil. I cut each of my 24″ pieces in half, so I ended up with four 12″ pieces.
2. First, a utility knife safety reminder: NEVER CUT TOWARDS YOURSELF! Cut away from yourself, or parallel to your body.
Use the ruler to score a straight line in the wood with the utility knife a few times. Once the line is established, ditch the ruler and go over the line with the knife repeatedly, until you’re about a third to halfway through the wood. Rotate the piece of wood and score the sides, then the back. Cut through the back several times, then test whether the wood will break at the cut point by trying to bend it. Don’t force it, or you’ll end up with splitering. Just be patient and keep going over the line until you get through the wood. If your blade is sharp, it shouldn’t take long.
Repeat with the other piece of wood so that you have four identical pieces.
3. If the ends of the wood are uneven where you cut them, use the utility knife to gently whittle off bits that are sticking off of the end. Erase any left over pencil lines.
4. Position your art, and add the binder clips. To make sure that your art stays centered, you can measure from the ends of the wood and put tiny little pencil marks on the inside surface of the back piece of wood.
5. Tie string or twine to the binder clips. Leave a little extra string length so you can adjust it when hanging, if necessary.