Be a Poster Child

Another poster sale just rocked Coffman Union. Are you still feeling the rip-off reverb? No worries – here’s why you’ll never have to buy another poster again.

Sarah Harper

Welcome to the second installment of A&EâÄôs Mar­tha Stewart Appreciation Corner. This week, IâÄôm put­ting on my crafting outfit (a fleece turtleneck under a ric-rac-lined vest, my new L.L. Bean loafers and a velvet scrunchie) to tackle one of the most stereotypically âÄúcol­legeâÄù crafts there is: posters.

HereâÄôs whatâÄôs hot (and whatâÄôs not!) in the world of D.I.Y. posters. LetâÄôs get the negative stuff out of the way first:


Magazine Collages

Your walls feature artsy shots of skinny people and pictures of bands you donâÄôt really listen to, all blithely torn from the pages of Nylon. No wonder youâÄôre falling asleep in your bedroom.

Things You Tore Off Of a Public Surface

For your sake, I hope your Cultural Studies TA didnâÄôt see you pulling that giant Jonah Hill movie poster off the side of a newspaper stand in Nicholson Hall. Embarrass­ing.

General rule of thumb: If thereâÄôs a QR code on one of your wall decorations, youâÄôre not fooling anyone. We all know you ripped that garbage off the Washington Av­enue Bridge. And in our heads, we all have a thoroughly unsavory image of you carrying that unwieldy piece of promo back to your room.


Hyper-Minimalist Movie Posters

The cool thing about visual art is that if your art lacks detail, nobody will realize that you lack talent. With the right marker, anyone can make a red circle on a piece of computer paper, and âÄî voila! âÄî the Japanese flag. And hey! Now you have a minimalist poster for âÄúThe Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.âÄù

Here are the rules: Limit yourself to two or three col­ors. Pick the most important element of your movie and break it down into its most essential shapes. DonâÄôt use too many words. And donâÄôt feel like you have to really represent any characters or plot moments. In the words of our fave recluse, âÄúSimplify, simplify.âÄù

Do go bananas with texture âÄî thatâÄôs where this gets fun, especially if youâÄôre making your poster with Photo­shop or real-life paint.

Tiled Printing (aka Rasterbation)

You might not think you know about tiled printing, but you probably recall being in the studio apartment of the coolest nerd you know and seeing twenty-five sheets of computer paper taped together on one of his walls. Re­member? They were covered with dots in varying sizes and shades to form an image.

Unless heâÄôs Georges SeuratâÄôs monochromatic rein­carnate, that guy probably used a computer program called The Rasterbator to make that giant picture of Jim MorrisonâÄôs face. And you can do that too! Download the Rasterbator for free, choose an image, slide it through, print it out and tape it together. Bam. WhoâÄôs the coolest cat in your neighborhood now? Hint: ItâÄôs you!

Black Velvet Paintings

YouâÄôre feeling down. Life is a total drag. YouâÄôre al­ready failing at school. Nobody wants to hold your hand.

Before you buy a one-way ticket to Frown Town, pic­ture this: going home and finally being with real friends âÄî two dolphins playing in the water, a unicorn standing next to a mountain and a happy panda wearing overalls. Hey, buddies!

Turning your magic-making room into a Lisa Frank heaven can be a reality. There are a few methods to cre­ating the sweet respite that only black velvet art can pro­vide.

If youâÄôre ready to get intense, follow me:

Draw an image on a white poster board. Then find some black velvet âÄî either find a garment made out of it at a thrift store or make the haul to a craft store, and shell out some mad cash for a yard or two. Strategically cut out the black velvet out into shapes and glue those shapes onto the poster. Then color or paint everywhere else.

Now youâÄôve got friends, baby.

And although this goes against my D.I.Y.-or-die phi­losophy, this is a free country âÄî you can totally buy a kit. These come with a poster already partially covered in black velvet. Some of them come with markers.

Toys-R-Us sells a âÄúColor-In Velvet Art Kit for GirlsâÄù for $24. IâÄôm almost embarrassed to suggest it because itâÄôs so excessive (not to mention anti-boy!): The box has two drawers and it comes with glitter tubes, velvet stick­ers, a key chain, a photo frame, plastic jewels and book­marks. Share it with a friend.

If you canâÄôt find a friend, email me.