Thursday, October 23, 2014

there's an app for that

{spoiler: free printable at the end of the post!}

one of the ways that my friend laura and i have saved money on the church office renovation we're currently working on has been to make DIY personalized artwork.

for the head pastor's office, which he wanted to feel like the northwoods, i used a couple of trusty apps to make the artwork myself. i thought it would be fun to show you how!

first up, a pet portrait. we knew this guy loved his dog, (obvi, since he requested a dog bed as one of his office furniture needs) so we thought it would be cool to frame a portrait of dear ol' remi. since sending that out is expensive, i turned to brushstroke from the app store. brushstroke is an app that will turn any photo into a painting. you can select your style of artwork, as well as make all the same adjustments you would for a photograph, such as brightness, saturation and contrast.

i asked the pastor's wife to send me a photo of remi. using the ipad, i turned this:

into this:

here's how:

1. crop your original photo to the finished size you want and save it in your camera roll. i did 5 x 7.

2. open brushstroke and import your photo.

3. choose a paint style - i used the M1 medium, but play around.

4. edit as desired. you can use the buttons above the paint styles to change contrast, saturation, brightness, even paper style. play until you like it!

5. save to your camera roll.

6. print it out on photo paper & cut it out.

7. use mod podge and a paint brush to cover the picture with brush strokes. try to follow the same basic pattern as the "paint" in the picture. the result will be shiny and textured just like a real painting. it's so fast and easy to do, and looks nicer than just the printed version.

once it's dry the white of the mod podge will disappear and only clear texture will remain. make sure it's totally dry and then you can put it in a frame. i grabbed my 5 x 7 frame at the thrift store for $1. that's a pretty great manly office accessory for a buck!

for the next piece of art, i used two apps: afterlight and pic lab hd. afterlight is a photo-editing app and pic lab is a great app for adding art and text on top of photos. i took a photo of my son's school grounds and turned this:

into this:

again using the ipad, here is how you do it:

1. open afterlight and choose a photo from your camera roll. edit it as desired. (i chose a black & white filter and increased the fade).

2. save to your camera roll.

3. open pic lab hd and select your newly edited photo to import.

4. select "artwork" and then "typographic phrases." choose the typographic statement of your choice.

5. size and place the graphic as you desire.

6. save to your camera roll.

again, you can print this to your printer on photo paper. for this one i did an 8 x 10 size. i got a $3 frame from the goodwill. the print didn't fit it perfectly, so i just taped it to the white paper that came in the frame instead of trying to find a custom mat. 

so there you have two ways to make personalized artwork for your next project. there are many different ways to vary these projects, and these apps are great to have in your back pocket. 

for $4 total we got two pieces that will definitely contribute to the northwoods feel of the office. this space is going to be so outdoorsy...i feel like we should release some mosquitoes in there for good measure!

{and woohoo- freebie alert! you can download my "not everyone who wanders" print right here. enjoy! please, personal use only.}


  1. Ok, that is awesome...totally and completely awesome. I bow to you.

    1. thank you kyla! honestly i wouldn't have given sharing this print a second thought until you commented that you wanted it on my "industrial office" post. goes to you. again!! ;-) i hope you find a good spot for it!

  2. LOVE this! I mean, how many photos do I have just sitting there taking up space on my phone when they could be morphed in to super awesome personal pieces of artwork!? I'm jazzed to give Pic Lab HD a try. So happy that Kyla linked to you in her DIY BLog Tour and introduced me to your lovely blog! Can't wait to poke around some more! Xx.
    ~Lauren @ FOXTAIL + MOSS

    1. lauren- thank you!! i'm so glad you stopped by...when kyla told me about you and i saw your site, i was over the moon. so great to have found you and your awesome DIY's. xo!

  3. Laura, these are such awesome ideas! I have used brushstroke before, but never in a million years thought of covering it with Modge Podge (super brilliant.) And, I love the typography. Love, love, love. I am definitely using both of these ideas in Casa Ray:)

    1. thank you grace! isn't it amazing what apps can do?? this office redesign project was so challenging because we had such a tiny budget, but in the end it forced us to make all the accessories more personal, and i love it more because of that. win-win!


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