How to Turn a Book into Wall Art

how to turn a favorite book into wall artI didn’t realize how much I loved my hometown of San Francisco until I left it. Then I got to move back for a while before I left again. The quote below expresses my sentiment exactly. DIY wall art san francisco book

When I first saw the gorgeous book This is San Francisco by Miroslav Sasek, originally published in 1962 and which my mom bought for us on the spot, it inspired the colors for our future playroom/sunroom.

We painted the walls of the room in our new house a delicious pumpkin, and used the teal rug and emerald loveseat from our Atlanta house. I added sheer light seafoam blue curtains. But the walls remained a blank canvas for too long.

DIY wall art

Finally, although I was originally going to scan and print copies of the illustrations, I ended up getting a second copy of This is San Francisco on Amazon for only about $8 shipped. I whipped out the Exacto knife and got to work slicing, ending up with this lovely pile and these empty frames, just waiting to get together.

DIY wall art pictures from book

DIY wall art frames

I picked up two colors of textured art paper at Hobby Lobby, one color inspired by the sheer curtains and the other an almost-white for off-setting the colorful illustrations against the darkish seafoam background.

DIY wall art picture layout

In an amalgamation of wall collage planning and hanging methods I gleaned from Pinterest, I laid out my filled frames on brown wrapping paper (basically a big roll of brown paper bag type paper), traced the frames, and measured and marked where their hooks were.

gallery wall layoutI hung my tracing on the wall, hammered the nails in, and then cut the paper to the nails so I could tear the paper down. Then the finale: hanging the pictures!! 

gallery wall with san francisco pictures

gallery wall Here’s the whole collage. Included are a cork board to keep papers from piling up on my desk…

gallery wall with corkboard

 …and a magnetic knife rack from Ikea for hanging my schedule and cleaning printables in easy reach and easy view.

gallery wall You may also remember the wonderful San Francisco metal print gift. I echoed the white frames of the collage by hanging a retired empty frame that Dear made for Elora’s baby room decor around it.

DIY gallery wall

gallery wall view from kitchenI love how the collage peeps out through the eat-in nook archways. Seeing it out of the corner of my eye makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something and like the house is getting homier and homier.

color scheme in sunroomThis is Isabelle. Have you met her yet?

color scheme for sunroom

gallery wall

Gallery Wall Step-by-Step Instructions

1) Choose a book and decide if you will buy a copy for deconstruction or reproduce the images another way.

2) Cut out the images you want to use.

3) Select frame style and layouts within the frames. Notice that I used both large and small frames, and most of the large frames have two pictures in them. Choose frames that are larger than your pictures so that you can add uniformity and color with matting.

4) Cut your matting out slightly larger than your pictures and affix with glue. You may want to test your glue, book paper, and matting paper to make sure that no bumps or seep-throughs affect your final art.

5) Fill your frames and lay them out. If you are making a collage, I recommend  laying the full collage out before attempting to hang it on the wall.

Book Suggestions for Book Wall Art

If you like Miroslav Sasek but would love to feature another city (or state), check these out:

Dick and Jane books would make nice vintage-y wall art for a children’s room. And I’ve wanted to frame a Leslie Patricelli Potty image for the kids’ bathroom:

leslie patricelli potty book

Hahaha!! Is that too far? =)

Prints from a Norman Rockwell book such as Best of Norman Rockwellwould also be lovely. 

Really, the possibilities are endless, the price is extremely budget friendly, and the personalization opportunity is unique. What book would you use?


Disclosure: Compensated Affiliate


  1. Beautiful post! Pinning right now.

  2. I love the idea of turning chlldren’s books (especially “This is San Francisco”) into wall art. I referenced your helpful how-to instructions in a post I published today on thrifty wall art for kids’ rooms.

  3. says:

    Calendars could be cool too! This would save so much money, and is a wonderful way to find art I really love. Great idea!