Hanging Posters and Wall Art…The Classy Way!

If you walk into my apartment, the first thing you’ll notice is how much I wear my geek heart on my sleeve. It’s true – I have figures in interesting places around my apartment, prints and art hung up around the living room and the bedroom, and one glance in any direction in my place will reveal my geeky nature. Even so, my space is hardly creepily cluttered with geekdom, and it hardly looks like a college dorm room.

The trick is to make sure your items are actually nice and not just creepy, they’re placed well so they accentuate your space instead of dominate it, and that the posters and prints on your wall look good, not like you just moved out of your parents’ basement or dorm room into your first place.

I was partially inspired by this post over at Anime Vice, titled How to Hang Anime Posters in Your Room and Still Be Classy, which by itself sounds like a post I would write. In addition to the points well made at Anime Vice, I wanted to add a few more tips that I think are worthwhile for any geek who wants their home to look classy but don’t want to hide their fandoms or resort to hanging art they can’t stand.

We can get into displaying figures, toys, and other prizes of geek culture in another post, but in this post I want to hit a couple of important points about how to hang and display Moncler outlet posters, wall scrolls, and art in a way that not only protects your art while showing off your inner geek, but looks good at the same time. Let’s dive in behind the jump.

Also, don’t forget – there’s still a few weeks left to enter The Classy Geek’s Show Us Your Workspace Contest! Here’s how to win!

Moving into your own space is exciting, and while interior decoration isn’t traditionally a very geeky skill to have, it’s one that’s worth having – at least as far as knowing a few things that match and knowing how to put together a coherent look is concerned. Seriously – we all know what it’s like when our World of Warcraft characters’ armor is a dozen different shapes, sizes, and colors, and we all hate it, right? Your apartment should be no exception.

Now over at Anime Vice, poster GodLen takes you through the basics, pick the right kind of image, choose an attractive and classy frame, get it printed, have some fun while you’re waiting for the printer, and then hang it up! It really is that simple, I’ll back him up on that, but that’s not where we’ll finish the discussion.

First of all, GodLen has some great images in his post that will make great wall art if you’re looking for anime posters to take to a printer – this is an excellent point: if you have a digital image, either on your computer or one you’ve found somewhere on the Internet, you should know you can get it blown up, printed, and mailed to you on as heavy or light stock paper as you choose. I did this for a custom World of Warcraft poster I had printed at Kinko’s (using the quintessential Night Elf female image, at that!) and then mounted in a frame with a brushed green background that I painted myself. I gave them the image on a disc, picked the size and type of paper I wanted, and just waited for it to be finished and ready for me to pick up.

Alternatively, you can always buy prints and art from Web stores and poster sites, but GodLen has a good point here too – most pre-printed posters tend to look like posters. That is, they Moncler outlet have a relatively campy, fan-ish (at best) or frat-ish (at worst) look to them and not a very artistic or classy look. Be careful when shopping for posters and wall art this way – if you find something you love though, go for it.

The real solution here however, if you don’t want to take images you like to a printer, is to buy art directly from artists! Your favorite Webcomic authors and artists are probably dying to sell more of their work to their fans – check their webpages for stores, and if you don’t see what you like, ask them if they’ll do a print for you, run off a specific image, do commissions, or worst case, give you permission for a single self-made print of a specific strip or piece of art that you like! More often than not, you’ll find they’re willing to work with you – especially if you make it clear you’re willing to pay them for their time, effort, and intellectual property.

Once you have an image that you want to hang, either one that you’ve taken to be printed by a professional printer, affordable print-and-ship company (like Mpix, suggested in the original article,) or even your local Kinko’s, now you have to get it on your wall. if you were going for the dorm room look, you’d probably just stick it to the wall surface with tape, putty, or a few thumbtacks, but we’re trying to be classy here, so we’re going to spend a little money on something that you may have assumed is only for expensive art in an expensive pad: frames.

You don’t have to spend a ton of money on frames, and be wary of online printers and other companies willing to take your images and put them in overwhelming and expensive frames that very well may be pieces of art on their own. For a classy look that won’t take the emphasis off of your print, and for a uniform look across your home that will fit just about any type of print, try a frame with a standard black border, like this 16″ x 20″ black frame
with an acrylic plate, or this 24″ x 36″ simple black frame with a styrene plate.

You could alternatively go for this black wood 24″ x 36″ frame with a Plexiglas window, perfect for higher-end pieces. You can see that there are a number of choices, and if you have an IKEA near you, you can even snag some similar frames to the ones above (although the ones above you can order online.)

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to frame your anime prints, posters, or art from your favorite Webcomic or manga artist; you can see that simple frames with acrylic plates are really Moncler outlet affordable, and if you wanted to go with a wood frame with a Plexiglas plate, you can spend a bit more. Even so, I would still recommend a simple plastic frame with an acrylic plate so you can easily hang it, move it, and transport it without worrying about breaking it or cracking the wood. Best of all, they look sleek and contemporary without being ridiculously expensive, even for larger sizes.

Buy a frame that’s right for your piece, by the way – or alternatively, you can buy multiple frames of the same size and mount your pieces in them anyway (as long as they’re at least approximately the right size – no putting an 4″ x 6″ in a 24″ x 36″ frame, okay?) so you can put frames of the same size up in the same area or part of your space even though the art inside may be different sizes.

So now you have your print, you have it printed, and you have it in a size-appropriate frame, now you need to get your pieces onto the wall. If you live in an apartment, you probably want to be wary of putting nails or thumbtacks or anything semi-permanent or potentially damaging in the walls, so I’m a huge fan of 3M Command Adhesive Hooks – mostly because you can buy clear ones that adhere to your walls firmly and they can be removed with minimal effort and little to no damage at all to the wall surface and paint when it’s time to move the piece they’re holding or if you have to move out. Best of all, the adhesive on the mounting hooks is strong enough to hold most pieces firmly to the wall without having to drive a nail into it.

Most frames like these have metal attachments on the back that make them easy to hang, and those attachments are perfect size for these kinds of command hooks. If you have smaller pieces, you can buy smaller Command Hooks for smaller pieces. I can happily say that all of the pieces of art on my walls are held by command hooks and command mounting strips, for the heavier pieces that need a little more anchoring to the walls, like larger frames where a single mounting point isn’t enough to keep it attached to the wall.

You can also use mounting strips to place your art solid and square inside of your frame – a little trick I’ve used is to take the included paper that’s inside the frame when you buy it, turn it over so the white side faces out, and mount your image on that side. If you want a different color for the mounting, a little acrylic paint will give it a little color. When it’s time to move, or you’d like to rearrange your room or space, taking the hooks or mounting strips down is simple and easy, and they’re affordable enough that you can remove them and buy new adhesive strips for your hooks or mounting strips when you need them, and no one will ever know that you had something on your walls.

So now you have some really attractive and unique prints and art, either of anime or of your favorite Webcomic art, or maybe even some pieces from an artist that you really like. You have them mounted nice and even in a frame, and you have them mounted nice and even on your wall. I didn’t get into how to properly hang a piece of art on the wall or mount something in a frame – I’m giving you some credit here; we’re all geeks here: I’m sure you know how to make something level and how to mark a wall before you put something on it. The only thing to remember now is to take care of the pieces, dust them and wipe them down regularly, and make sure they’re hung up in nice, even spaces around your home.

As well as being able to move and remove pieces framed and mounted this way easily, the other benefit to using affordable acrylic frames and command hooks and mounting strips to put your art on the wall is that you can swap out the pieces frequently and use the same frames. If you’re like most geeks, (especially us anime geeks) you have more anime posters and prints than you have space on your walls. Using this method, you can swap them out every so often and change up the look of your home for only a few dollars for the adhesives. Now I know I didn’t hit on wallscrolls in this piece: and that’s for a very simple reason: good ones look great, awful ones look horrid, and you want to use them sparingly, not in place of framed art. They have a distinctly dorm-room

This way, you have a clean, modern, and attractive look in your space, you get to show off some of your favorite art, your space doesn’t look like a dorm room or a frat hours, and best of all, you haven’t betrayed your inner geek to get a grown up and sophisticated look. That’s how you wear your geek on your sleeve and look classy doing it.

images in this post courtesy of NeoGAF forum poster Abel, (Xeno2) OtakuDan, (3011422881_28fd8047e5.jpg and 3012258766_0e193bc0c1.jpg) and Framed! (a blog). (152.jpg from post Video Game Artwork.)





8 responses to “Hanging Posters and Wall Art…The Classy Way!”

  1. […] Hanging Posters and Wall Art…The Classy Way! […]

  2. pastilla Avatar

    Great article, as always. Nice ideas for anime art; pic #4 looks wonderful. However . . .
    in my experience, a healthy percentage of geek women — and some men — don’t appreciate scantily clad, splayed leg, colossally-breasted anime gal posters, (even magnificently framed ones). Particularly for those who aren’t familiar with or interested in anime, these can be perceived at best as odd; at worst, sophomoric and unprofessional.

    Although it may seem like an obvious derrrrrrrr issue — this faithful reader (slightly outside the Think Geek age demographic at 45+, but still . . .) wants to hear what you have to say about Appropriate Hanging Locales for *certain* anime artworks.

  3. Alan Henry Avatar

    @pastilla: You raise an excellent point! It’s hard not to focus on anime prints here, but the same applies to video game art, or even movie art. You want to be able to select pieces that actually have an artistic quality to them without falling into the dreaded frathouse or dorm-room appeal.

    I think that’s probably the most difficult part though – picking work that may be sexy, but isn’t over the line between sexy and attractive and flat out NC-17. Might be a topic for a future Classy Geek column, I think!

    As for placement though, I think there’s room in any space for your geeky art, depending on the subject matter of the piece you select! For example, the video game piece in the article above may work well in just about any room, but that shot of Yoko from Gurren Lagann? Definitely should be relegated to a home office or den, or somewhere a little more secluded, not to hide the geek per se, but to be a bit more respectful of visitors while keeping their geek on display. My most “grown up” framed prints (like a gorgeous Hyung Tae Kim I have in the bedroom) are relegated to places that aren’t high traffic, but places I’ll still see.

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by phoenix, phoenix. phoenix said: What's new this week at The Classy Geek? How to hang posters and wall art the classy way! http://bit.ly/9qE5QW << Don't hide it, frame it! […]

  5. sjon svenson Avatar
    sjon svenson

    Now I wish I had walls to decorate …

  6. davidd Avatar

    Additional points about plexi vs glass: plexi is both lighter and less conducive to condensation than glass; thus, it lends itself better to larger applications, and the artwork may be placed in direct contact with the plexi surface without concern over the artwork adhering to the plexi. Glass, on the other hand, generally has better clarity and is available in UV resistant grades for long-term preservation. However, when glass is used, it is best to mat the artwork to avoid direct contact with the glass.

    Most American-issue full-size movie posters measure approximately 27″ x 41″, which is, sadly, not a “standard” frame size. There are a few do-it-yourself movie poster sized frames available online, but finding one that looks good and is sufficiently rigid can be problematic. I have ended up paying quite a bit more for framing for some of my posters than I paid for the poster itself… but on seeing the final result, I feel it was worth the price. That ten dollar “Indiana Jones: Crystal Skull” teaser poster, one of the better “Indy” posters (we’re not talking movies, just posters) to begin with, RAWKS now that it’s been professionally framed!

    Original Japanese movie posters are VERY non-standard (in America) sizes. The full-size B1 poster, rather rare even in Japan, is larger than an American one-sheet at approximately 29″ x 40″. The more common B2 size measures about 20″ x 29″. Collecting and displaying original issue film posters generally calls for custom framing. Of course, the original issue posters are usually worth having custom framed. The big question, as raised by commenter Pastilla above: how best to display the incredibly classy, but not to everyone’s taste, “Onichanbara: The Movie” poster?

    (I’m still looking for a B1 “Onichanbara” poster without the “coming soon” sticker on the front, in case anyone stumbles across one… .)

    I did not know about custom printing of internet images. It seems like there would be some potential copyright issues there — not for the buyer, but for the printing companies — but it seems like a great way to get wall-quality images without having to settle for, as you say, “campy” or “fan [service] ish”. (Of course, my tastes run toward “camp,” so that’s not such an issue for me… .)

    A final poster presentation point: I like to have my posters dry-mounted by a frame shop. The poster is glued to a piece of acid-free foam-core backing. “Serious collectors” do not recommend permanently mounting artwork in this manner, and dry-mounting your posters may reduce the value of your estate once you die and they auction off your stuff, but for my purposes — that is, for display and enjoyment — I prefer the artwork remain flat. Non-mounted pieces, particularly large, poster-sized artwork, tends to curl at the corners and edges over time, or to develop bubbles or warps. Dry-mounting reduces this tendency.

    The 3M Command Hooks looked like a good option… until I read the small print. “Each hook holds up to 1/2 pound”? Okaaayyy… we won’t be using those on custom-framed movie posters. Hey, Geeks! It’s time to invest in a DeWalt cordless electric drill and to learn about wall anchors and molly bolts! And if you ever actually move, a little container of patching compound to fix the holes will set you back all of two or three bucks.

    Solid article, clearly written, providing useful information. I hope to see future stories which address displaying other collectibles, including “figures in interesting places” with specifics on “making sure your items are actually nice and not just creepy.”

  7. […] your old desk toys and bring over some of the ones that have been languishing on a shelf somewhere. Hang up the wall art you’ve been meaning to hang for the past couple of months but didn’t get around to, or switch out the posters you […]

  8. […] will go to Save the Children. If you’re looking for some classy art for your walls, you know, the kind you plan to hang up in style, designer Kelly Beall of Design Crush has some beautiful prints (one of which is shown above and […]

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