I’m no stranger to a miter saw and repurposed wood, but sometimes the mess, added weight, and splintery texture of real wood just isn’t the best way to finish out a project- especially given the toxicity of repurposed pallet wood.  My friend Merre and I spent weeks tossing around ideas to deal with a closet more stylishly than with the old sliding closet doors. Open shelving, replacement with old doors, and even resurfacing with distressed metal were considered until we came up with the perfect, cheap solution: using giant pieces of photo backdrop paper (printed on XXL paper with no seams or pattern repeat) to add the look of wood without adding any additional weight or thickness to the closet doors. The smooth whitewashed wood surface adds interest and texture to the room while still reflecting lots of light back into the bright white room.

Materials Needed

Blog tutorial on how to use cheap photo backdrop paper to create easy, seamless faux rustic barn wood. - Hawk-Hill.comI’m in love with this product! This 4 ft x 12 ft sheet of paper with a seamless design inspires so many ideas and comes in several wood finishes:

Blog tutorial on how to use cheap photo backdrop paper to create easy, seamless faux rustic barn wood. - Hawk-Hill.com
Sable Wood

Blog tutorial on how to use cheap photo backdrop paper to create easy, seamless faux rustic barn wood. - Hawk-Hill.com
Vintage Wood

Blog tutorial on how to use cheap photo backdrop paper to create easy, seamless faux rustic barn wood. - Hawk-Hill.com
White Washed Wood

Blog tutorial on how to use cheap photo backdrop paper to create easy, seamless faux rustic barn wood. - Hawk-Hill.com
Rustic Wood

Before you Start:

Dilute the Elmer’s Glue. The Elmer’s Glue website suggests diluting their glue for decoupage by mixing 3 parts glue with 1 part water. This formula worked great on this project and was much easier to paint on and apply thinly than straight glue would have been.

Blog tutorial on how to use cheap photo backdrop paper to create easy, seamless faux rustic barn wood. - Hawk-Hill.com

BEFORE: Solid white closet doors in a 1980’s style

Step 1.

Remove the door and lay it down on a horizontal surface. Remove any hardware from the door. In our case the handles were recessed so we had to remove the hardware and then fill the hole before applying the paper.

Blog tutorial on how to use cheap photo backdrop paper to create easy, seamless faux rustic barn wood. - Hawk-Hill.com

Step 2. Cut Paper into Sections

We learned (the hard way!) that it’s helpful to cut the paper into smaller, manageable pieces. (Don’t worry, seams won’t show!).

Pieces of paper 4ft wide (the full width) by 24-36″ were the easiest to handle.

Blog tutorial on how to use cheap photo backdrop paper to create easy, seamless faux rustic barn wood. - Hawk-Hill.com

Step 3. Align & Stabilize

Line up the paper straight, perfectly straight, along the edge of the door. While holding it in place, have a helper place something heavy and smooth (like a stack of books) near the center to keep the paper from shifting out of place:

 

Blog tutorial on how to use cheap photo backdrop paper to create easy, seamless faux rustic barn wood. - Hawk-Hill.com
Begin in the center and work towards the edges. Don’t worry if you end up with a little extra on the edges- the wet paper will stretch as it is smoothed.

 

Blog tutorial on how to use cheap photo backdrop paper to create easy, seamless faux rustic barn wood. - Hawk-Hill.com
Line up the paper just right, then add weight to hold it in place.

 

Step 4. Begin Gluing

Pick a side and roll the paper up from the outside towards the center. Add a moderate amount of glue to your brush and spread a thin, even coat across the width of the section, but working in sections no more than 6-8″ long. IMPORTANT: Do not use an excessive amount of glue. The more moisture you add the more likely the paper is to fully saturate and tear when being smoothed- so you want just enough glue to get the paper to adhere.

Blog tutorial on how to use cheap photo backdrop paper to create easy, seamless faux rustic barn wood. - Hawk-Hill.com

Blog tutorial on how to use cheap photo backdrop paper to create easy, seamless faux rustic barn wood. - Hawk-Hill.com

 

Step 5. Attach and Smooth

Roll the paper down, carefully, over the area you just applied glue. Working from the center out, smooth the paper with the wallpaper smoother, easing bubbles to the edges or bottom and making sure the paper is flat and fully adhered to the surface below. (You won’t be able to get a “perfect” surface, but the vast majority of remaining creases and bubbles will disappear when the paper dries)

Blog tutorial on how to use cheap photo backdrop paper to create easy, seamless faux rustic barn wood. - Hawk-Hill.com

Repeat steps 4 & 5, working down the same side until you reach the end. (don’t panic if you have excess paper hanging over the that edge you did not measure for- smoothing the wet paper stretches it!)

Blog tutorial on how to use cheap photo backdrop paper to create easy, seamless faux rustic barn wood. - Hawk-Hill.com

Step 6.

Once one side is fully adhered, remove the books that were weighting the center, roll the loose side up until you reach the beginning point of where you’d previously glued, and repeat steps 4 & 5, working your way down this side.

Blog tutorial on how to use cheap photo backdrop paper to create easy, seamless faux rustic barn wood. - Hawk-Hill.com

Step 7. Once you get the hang of how much glue to use and how the paper smooths best, this project goes quick! For each section, simply line the top edge up with where the last section ended, weight the center, and continue gluing small sections at a time.

Blog tutorial on how to use cheap photo backdrop paper to create easy, seamless faux rustic barn wood. - Hawk-Hill.com

 

When you are done applying the paper to the entire surface- let the glue dry completely- at least 4-6 hours before applying a top coat to seal the paper.

Blog tutorial on how to use cheap photo backdrop paper to create easy, seamless faux rustic barn wood. - Hawk-Hill.com

Step 8.

You’ll want to seal the top of this paper so it can be wiped clean when it gets dirty fingerprints and dust. IMPORTANT: Be sure and use a sealer with a MATTE finish. A glossy or semi-gloss finish will make the surface look flat and slick, ruining the barn wood look, so you’ll need to use matte finish Mod Podge or matte finish Glazing Medium (the artist’s equivalent of the former) Don’t panic if the wet sealer makes the paper buckle. Ours did, but after drying the paper was again flat.

Paper will buckle and bubble when sealer is applied, but will dry flat.
The moment of true and complete panic when the first coat of Mod Podge was applied and this happened, but thankfully as the paper dried it smoothed again completely.

 FINAL RESULT:

My photos just don’t do this project justice! I will keep looking for better light and a better angle to catch a shot of these doors!

IMG_3322  IMG_3318

And here’s a shot of the other end of the same room- where the branches placed behind the headboard make a perfect companion to the faux barnwood doors. Love this room? You can book it for the night- see the Stirling House on Air BnB. I’ve spent the last few weeks helping a friend with the creative aspects of bringing a Carthage, MO farmhouse into the 21st century, to be repurposed as an airbnb guesthouse.

putnam_cottage_2_3311

 

Blog tutorial on how to use cheap photo backdrop paper to create easy, seamless faux rustic barn wood. - Hawk-Hill.com

 

Related Post

One thought on “Create Cheap, Lightweight Faux Barn Wood with Photo Backdrop Paper”

Leave a Reply

Related Post

%d bloggers like this: