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How To Make Easy Cardboard Art: An inexpensive way to decorate a multipurpose room

DIY abstract art painted on cardboard in vintage frame.

Do you have some cardboard? In the age of online shopping the answer is most likely yes. Keep reading to see how you can make some easy DIY cardboard art!

This project all started because of a Zoom call. Well not just one, but several, where my husband’s coworkers commented on his sterile surroundings. Yikes! In pre-Covid 19 times, my husband traveled at least three days per week. So the stay home orders were a silver lining in that he would be able to have dinner with us, do bedtime stories with our son instead of a goodnight video call, and no more adjusting for different time zones. Plus, I sleep horribly when husband is away. Even with all of these positives, there was still an adjustment in terms of space. At first my husband temporarily set up shop at the dining table, thinking the suspension of travel would end as quickly as it started. Our son was so excited to have him around that he couldn’t help but go over to him constantly. We are lucky enough to have a guest room that became a work from home office and allowed for more privacy than our dining room.

Dark wood midcentury style desk in front of windows.

My brother-in-law gave us the desk pictured above when he got a new one. I set it up facing the window so there would be something for hubby to look out to. In this new seating arrangement there was just a blank wall behind. On video calls husband was just a floating head on the screen. If you were around last year, you may remember the guest room refresh reveal. As part of the process I created a small gallery wall using items I already had. Does a trio of pictures constitute a gallery wall lol? Anywho, see below for the easy abstract art piece I used as the anchor in my gallery wall.

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Step 1: Gather Materials

Materials for cardboard canvas art.

We have a ton of small art that needed to be framed, but nothing very large. I didn’t want to spend a ton of money, so off I went to my basement, where I stash my finds. When I decided to add some art in the multipurpose guest room/office I remembered I had this frame down there. Years ago I had found it left out on a curb. It’s been with me at least five years. Is that crazy that I kept it unused and moved it between at least two houses? The wood detail and linen inset are so nice though and I knew it would fit somewhere…eventually. The paints are leftover samples from other projects. The brushes are the cheapie test brushes. And of course the cardboard! That will serve as your canvas!

Step 2: Cut cardboard to fit frame opening.

Hand cutting cardboard with box cutter.

I didn’t have a canvas that would fit this frame, but I always have cardboard on hand. It has a nice sort of texture. I figured if I hated it, I could eventually buy a canvas. It’s been about five months since I did this project and the cardboard is still holding up!

Step 3: Paint background color.

I wanted to make something graphic and abstract to match the desk and chair, while providing contrast to some of the more feminine details in the room.

Step 4: Paint free form shapes in a contrasting color.

Hand holding paint brush dipped in navy blue paint.

I chose a blue paint since the bedding has blue and other art used in the room also has blue tones. I painted large overlapping circles, thinking the simple graphic would show well on a screen. You can get creative here and do splatter drops, lines, or whatever shapes you are drawn to.

Step 5: Staple cardboard to frame.

Hand holding staple gun stapling cardboard to wood frame.

We did this step at night, hence the difference in lighting. If you are using a wood frame, just make sure it is thick and sturdy enough to handle a staple gun. An alternate would be small finishing nails that a professional framer would use. Or perhaps, use a frame with a backing.

Step 6: Hang your picture. Ta da!

Woman hanging framed abstract art on wall.

The co-workers are happy to see a less sterile background now. I finally have art on the walls in this room, which I had been meaning to do and just never got to. Guess I can count this project as one more silver lining from the pandemic.

Pin To Save For Later!

Abstract art in gold vintage frame n between two other pictures.

Tips to make your multifunctional home office a success

  1. Small Pieces– Don’t have much space to spare? Choose furniture that is small in scale. See below for compact desks and chairs.

2. Versatility– If you will eventually be returning to an office and won’t need your home office, pick furniture that you can repurpose and move around. I selected desks that can double as entry tables and chairs that could work at the dining table.

3. Artwork– Orient your desk so that there is a view or if you face a wall, hang some art. Speaking of art, don’t forget to create an appealing background.

Need some more inspiration for your home office? Read 4 Easy Tips For A Stylish Work From Home Office.

Don’t Leave Just Yet!

You have to see what my friend Brianna did to her office! She made the most amazing accent wall. Can you believe the talent?? Make sure to visit her site Bloom in the Black for a video tutorial and helpful tips to guide you along.

When deciding where to put an accent wall in a home office, be sure it falls behind your chair, with your laptop camera facing the wall for the best Zoom and video call set-up.

Thank You!

Thank you for reading, commenting, pinning, sharing. I appreciate the time you spent checking out my casa!

31 thoughts on “How To Make Easy Cardboard Art: An inexpensive way to decorate a multipurpose room”

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this! I’ve had an idea to make something like it myself but wasn’t sure how to go about it. I had never thought of using cardboard, what a great idea. This is an art project anyone can do – don’t we all have some cardboard lying around somewhere? Brilliant!

  2. I love this! I’ve worked from home for years but I never really did much on camera zooming until recently so I’ve had to reorganise my office space as well. You did a good job making this picture – well done.

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  4. Love this idea, and I always hold back cardboard to have on hand. I love the graphic art you created for this piece – it’s timeless!
    Congratulations, you are one of the features this week at the Friday with Friends link party.

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