The Big Art Project

One of the projects I have on my list is to create a large set of pictures featuring CD covers.  The collection of pictures can be swapped out for others to create different moods and maintain a fresh feel.  This project isn’t exactly cheap, just because of its scale.  The CD covers I plan to use are from the MCA Master Series.

The first expense is the frames.  I can’t exactly buy serious photo frames in the quantity I am working with, so I purchased MDF and acrylic poster frames from a business display store.  40 frames cost me almost $300.  The packaging of these frames was ridiculous.  I received two large boxes and a smaller box.  Inside each of the larger boxes was two of the smaller boxes, giving me five smaller boxes in total.  In each of these smaller boxes were two even smaller boxes.  Now 10 smaller boxes in total.  Each of these 10 boxes had four frames in them, giving 40 total frames.  Insane.

The next expense is the photo mats.  The frames are 15”x15” and have a small mat in them with an 11.5”x11.5” opening.  I was planning on printing my CD covers on 8.5”x11” paper, so that means they won’t fit in a 11.5” square opening.  To solve that issue, I bought mats that were 12”x12” and had an 7.5” opening.  Those numbers weren’t exactly arbitrary, they were based on the availability and convenience of 25 packs of those mats.  50 mats cost about $90.

Then, there’s the paper.  It’s standard size paper, but it’s awesome paper.  I found 50 sheets of 230gsm fine art paper for $25.  I don’t know much about it, and maybe someday I’ll use something different, something with a texture.  But this paper is nice, thick cotton and shows well.

Finally, the printer.  I chose a 6-color photo inkjet printer and fortunately got one in wide-format (so I can do 11”x17” in the future).  The quality seems pretty good, for as much as I am able to discern.  I’m not using a magnifying glass to inspect the print quality and I don’t expect anyone viewing these on the wall will do so either.  So with all the components now in my possession, it was time to start.

My very first test was printing the CD cover at its natural size, 4.5”.  The quality was good, so I mounted the paper on the mat, then mounted that mat in the frame’s mat.  The result was a little underwhelming.


The next attempt was filling the mat’s opening, so I printed one at 7”.  The result was a little overwhelming.


Then, I tried to find balance with something in between: 6”.


I thought it was balanced, but the GF made an excellent point that there were too many borders.  The outer mat, the inner mat, then the border around the CD cover.  Considering that for a bit, I could see the layout put more focus on the layers and kind of gave a tunneling effect.  So it was decided to fill the inner mat with the CD cover, printing it at 7.5”.  Even though that’s bigger than the 7” version that I thought was too large, eliminating the inner border somehow doesn’t make you question the size.