Gift Idea: Mixed Media Portrait Wall Hanging

One of the things about being a former art teacher, is that I’m always looking at unusual items to be used for potential art projects and saving things that would otherwise be recycled or thrown away…cardboard, drink tops, boxes, yogurt containers, take out containers or trays, and paper towel rolls are a few great ideas. These items can make fun projects that won’t require you to buy expensive art supplies!

I pulled out a couple of my saved materials for this easy activity. This project is a fun way to display a picture of a child with their birth date and would make a great Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, or birthday gift for someone special.

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  • Sturdy cardboard- I save pieces that I find in packaging from Amazon boxes or Costco. The kind we used for this project was one of those dense, thin pieces (cereal boxes might be a little too thin for this project).
  • Tempera paint
  • Embellishments for the corners or edges such as beer caps (I started saving them because many of them have such cool images and colors on them!), buttons, pom poms, or anything to frame the edge like sticks, fabric, or something tailored to the person this gift is for, like golf tees or fishing lures.
  • Printed pictures
  • Numbers for the birth date (this can be from magazines, newspaper, stickers, or number stamps)
  • Pipe Cleaners for hanging
  • Glue– I used rubber cement to glue the picture down because it dries flat and doesn’t wrinkle
  • Hot glue for the bottle caps and attaching the pipe cleaner to the back for hanging

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I gave the girls several paint colors to choose from. I mixed each one with a little white to make them more opaque and show up on the cardboard.

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They painted their cardboard pieces and I encouraged them to fill in all areas, especially the edges since that is what will mostly show when it is complete. When they were done painting we put them aside to dry.

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The next steps required some assistance from me so I didn’t capture any images of them working. The other steps included:

  • Printing out an image of the girls and gluing it in the center of the painted cardboard
  • Cutting out numbers for their birth dates and gluing them underneath the picture
  • Hot gluing the bottle caps to the corners
  • Hot gluing the pipe cleaner on the back to use for hanging


Finished results!File_003 (14) - Edited

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More collage and mixed media ideas can be found HERE!

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