Making Vintage Art from Home Blueprints

Next year will mark two years since we’ve been in our new custom-built home. Having the opportunity to design our home and choose every last detail was a dream come true, and it’s not lost on me how blessed we are to be able to call this place home. Being home so much these past few months because of the pandemic, has led me to appreciate it even more.

Home Design

While the process of building a home can be quite stressful as far as contractors, and timelines go, the design process was something I truly enjoyed. Watching it all come to life as I had imagined it in my head was so fun!

For months, during the design and building process, I felt like these blueprints were glued to my hand! We lived and breathed them daily for nearly a year. And then, when the house was done, they got jammed in a box and stored away, where they’ve been ever since.

But recently, I’ve been working on a makeover of our home office, and since this is where I do a lot of my blogging for The House on Silverado, I decided that these blueprints would make the perfect artwork for this space.

Make a Copy!

Our original blueprints were multiple pages long, and we only have one copy of them. I wanted to preserve the original, so I took them to a local copy shop and had them print the three pages I wanted to use (the exterior elevation diagrams, and the floor plans for both levels of the house) onto one large sheet of paper.

It cost about $11, which I thought was reasonable, although it was actually only about $4 for the copy and a $7 charge for the guy to use a computer to “arrange the layout”. So if your blueprints are not on 3 different pages, it will probably cost less for you.

My copy ended up being 36″x17″, which worked out great for the space I intended to hang it.

Make it Look “Vintage”…

My freshly printed bright white copy was not what I had in mind for my Farmhouse Style office, so I used my handy tea-staining trick again to make it look a little more aged and antiqued.

I brewed some strong tea, using 3 tea bags for about a cup of water. I let it cool a bit after steeping, and then poured it into a spray bottle this time. Since this application is on paper, rather than fabric like when I tea-stained my flags for July 4, I wanted to lightly spray the tea on, rather than soak it.

The spray bottle allowed me to direct the tea to exactly where I wanted a yellowish effect, without over-soaking the paper.

I let mine dry overnight. In the morning, I could see where I needed a little more tea, so I sprayed a few more spots and then used my hair dryer on low heat to speed up the drying.

This process gave the blueprints a slightly patchy ivory color, like old paper, and also a little bit of a wrinkled texture. Much better than crispy white brand new paper!

Creating the “Scroll” Frame

I bought two 8-foot pieces of unfinished chair rail moulding at Lowes for less than $5 each, which we cut into 4 pieces to make a front/back piece on both the top and bottom of my blueprint. Plus, they had many different patterns of moulding to choose from! You can select something that looks vintage, or more modern if that’s your style. This project is very customizable.

Once my husband sawed the moulding for me, I sanded the rough ends a bit, before staining. I already had these 3 cans of stain from a different project, so I used a leftover piece of the moulding to do a test run, and determine what color I wanted.

I ended up using a combination of all 3 colors! I wanted the darker stain to seep into the grooves of the moulding and give it some accent. Then I did an overall coat of the middle stain, which was an “aged barn wood color”.

I let it dry for a bit, and then brushed on a light coat of the gray stain on top.

I just mixed and matched, and played with the stain…a little of this, a little of that, until it looked how I wanted it.

After letting it dry overnight, I came back with a sanding block and distressed it here and there.

Attaching the Moulding to the Blueprints

I just used plain old Elmer’s Glue for this, because it’s just attaching wood and paper, and the moulding is so lightweight.

Be sure when you’re selecting your moulding that you don’t get anything too heavy that will pull on and tear your paper. Also, be sure your paper is completely dry before attaching the moulding, as wet paper will not likely support the weight of the moulding, nor allow it to bond correctly.

I put a generous amount of glue on the backside of two pieces of moulding, and then sandwiched the edge of the blueprint between them, to make a front and back. I did this on both the top and the bottom of the blueprint.

Then I used some small plastic clamps to hold it all together, and let it dry overnight.

Adding the String to the Top of the Scroll

I used jute twine, since I was looking for a vintage Farmhouse Style look, but any kind of twine, wire or string will work.

When I measured my moulding before cutting it, I made sure to leave about an inch or so extra on each side, beyond the edge of the blueprint, to give me plenty of room to tie my twine.

I just wrapped it a few times tightly on each end, and tied it in a knot. I love how the twine is functional for hanging the scroll, but adds to the design element, too.

I hung it in my office, above this antique hope chest my mother left to me. I recently gave it a makeover too, and can’t wait to share that with you!

It looks perfect here, above my The House on Silverado framed graphic. This room is really starting to come together, as a result of several recent projects, and I am excited to show you the entire room reveal soon. 💕


Mini Spring Clamps Set of Eight

Natural Jute Twine

XOXO Ceramic Mug

Elmer’s Washable School Glue

Pack of 4, 8-oz Spray Bottles

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24 thoughts on “Making Vintage Art from Home Blueprints

  1. What a great idea! I have the original blueprints from my childhood home. Since losing my parents, the memories from that home are even more cherished. I would love to do this for a Christmas gift for each of my siblings. Thanks for the inspiration for a wonderful gift idea!

    1. Awww, that is a fantastic idea. What a wonderful keepsake for your family of their childhood home. 💕

  2. What a fabulous idea! Our house is 100 years-old so I don’t have the house plans, but we do have the remodeling plans. I am going to have to try this and let you know! Thank you for sharing with Charming Homes and Gardens!

  3. You’ve created a lovely piece of art! What a great idea to use your blueprints for a charming individualized piece.

    Thank you for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace. I’m featuring you this week!

    1. Richella,
      Thank you so much for your sweet comments and for featuring my post! That’s so exciting! 😃

    1. Michelle, I’m so glad you’re going to create your own version–I can’t wait to see it! And thanks for the feature! I LOVE “Farmhouse Friday”!

  4. NIky, I love your post and how you incorporated the fruit of your hands into artwork! Congrats for being one of my Featured Friends at Friendship Friday at Create With Joy this week! 🙂

  5. I LOVE this idea. That’s such a cool idea to preserve the architecture and also display it. Antiquing the paper makes it look so good. I like the wood you used to make the frame too. I will definitely try this out.

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