Deck of Cards-Vintage Wall Decor: Free Digital Downloads

Mod Podge’ing paper to pre-stretched canvas is nothing new in the craft world, but deliberately allowing paper to moisten, crinkle, oversaturate, and images to smudge & deteriorate for the sake of art, might be a bit different than you’re used to. The combination of Mod Podge Matte finish for paper and vintage typewriter paper that’s been run through the printer make for a pretty cool effect when laminated to canvas. An effect, that in most cases, would have you in tears, so be warned that this is NOT a project for the perfectionist, we’re going to get messed up on this one to create very cool faux antique wall decor.
I found an old and grungy deck of playing cards with fantastic graphics. I gotta tell you, getting my hands on this discarded old pack was seriously just short of a full-on dumpster dive, though I’ll spare you the details. But it just goes to show you that you can find beauty in the least of places.I purchased two 12″ x 12″ x 1.25″ canvases @ 40% off at the local craft store, gathered my supply of Paper Mod Podge, a brush and a light brown marker.I scanned into my computer sections of the cardboard package and the back of a playing card, cropped, then very easily auto-enhanced and manipulated them with Photoshop into two square images and a series of strips for lining the sides of my canvas. (This is the kind of simple project you can do in Photoshop Elements, which is much less expensive than the PS pro.) These are now FREE PDF graphics for you to use, simply click on the image to access the file.

To print the images to 12″ when the desktop printer only prints as wide as 8.5″, I move my image around on the computer layout and print each design in 2 separate sections per canvas. When creating this design, I made visual divisions in the graphics for just this purpose. I printed to legal sized (8.5″ x 14″) thin vintage typewriter paper to get the ripple-grungy effect, but you can print to standard paper as well. I use an inkjet printer…and while on the subject, I am a lot asked about which printer I use for my projects. I have an all-in-one printer/scanner/copier. It is NOT one I want to recommend, however, it works good enough for projects like this. One day I’ll find a fabulous one and be sure to share that info with you.I trimmed out images along edges and visual breaks with my trusty Xacto knife.
I slathered the Mod Podge across the surface of the canvas and pieced the images together, burnishing using a layer of parchment paper between my hand and the printed paper to avoid over-smearing the ink that was moist from the underlying adhesive. You can see how the typewriter paper reacts to the moisture of the Mod Podge by crinkling and rippling. Stay with me, this is a good thing.I then added strips randomly to the sides of the canvases and pressed to adhere. See those places where my finger pulled up the ink from the image? Uh-huh, great stuff!
Once dry, I used sandpaper to distress the edges, corners and surface of the glued paper.
You can use a marker or other stain to add darkness to the distressed areas if you want.
I finished my canvases with a top spray coat of matte varnish. I would not recommend using the Mod Podge on the surface of this project as it will smear the ink if using the same paper I used. If you’re using something different, be sure to test on a separate printed piece first.I have a bit of a floral-yet-western thing going on in my living room with plenty of red, so these make pretty cool art for my little reading nook in the corner.The images in the FREE PDF files are high enough resolution to enlarge for this 12″ project. But you can also reduce and use on smaller canvases, plywood squares, coaster tiles, soldered jewelry lockets or whatever you can think of. Great gifts for the poker player in the family don’t you think?!

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