DIY: Rustic Copper Origami Wall Art

27- finished- right sideFor weeks I would stare up at our cathedral ceiling thinking about the potential it had for a statement piece. I wanted to create something that would not only fit the space but would also draw one’s eyes upward to our high ceiling. I toyed with the idea of using the light that came in through the upper window and decided to do so through making the art piece 3 dimensional. As the light shone in from the window and hit the object, a shadow would be cast. I researched some origami wall art ideas on Pinterest and with a number of my own modifications came up with this DIY art project! To hear more about my creative process read on, otherwise skip to the supplies and instruction section.

I envisioned the piece extending from wall to wall so I bought 3 canvases to be placed beside one another. I wanted each canvas to stand as an interesting piece on its own but I also wanted there to be unison between the three canvases. The idea was for the viewer to look first at the large triangles grouped together on the left canvas. Their eyes would then drift to the mix of large and medium triangles in the middle. The last canvas on the right would comprise of medium and small triangles dispersing and breaking off of the form. To make the three canvases look more unified, I designed each cluster of triangles to break off one canvas and continue onto the next. Continuity would be created by making them fit together like a puzzle piece.

The last consideration before jumping into the project was that of colour. Wanting to match the eclectic-modern feel of our home, I needed colours that matched a similar aesthetic. We currently have furniture and objects that are modern and sleek. Each sport different shades of grey, black, and metallics. A number of existing art pieces in the room have warm fiery tones of yellow orange, red, and accents of blue. In the end I settled on painting this piece a rustic copper colour. The rustic copper look does well against a bare white background. Okay enough of my vision, let’s get to the DIY!

SUPPLIES

1- paper supplies

  • Canvas (24×36″)
  • Paper (Use thick paper- I used the mixed media paper shown above)
  • Mod Podge- Matte
  • Thin paintbrush
  • Rustoleum Copper Hammered Spray Paint
  • Rustoleum Satin Black Spray Paint

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cut paper into squares. You will need to make different sized origami triangles. I used the following sizes of paper (shown in the picture above). Do NOT use origami paper if you plan on painting the art piece as it will compromise the form and will most likely droop. This is why I opted for mixed media paper and then cut the rectangles down to size. Try and make about 2-3 different sizes.
  2. Fold triangles. There are many different types of origami triangles you can make. I used this tutorial for making my triangles. You will need a lot of triangles… so keep folding away!
  3. Map out a rough design. To see how many and what size of triangles you will need, place them on the canvas as you go. Add more triangles and move them around until you are satisfied with the overall design. Once you finalize your configuration, take a few pictures as reference for later. It’s also a good idea to make some extra triangles of each size in case you want to alter parts of the design later or need a replacement.  9- map out design
  4. Glue folds down. After folding all of the triangles, I noticed that the flap on the crease was a bit lifted. Seeing as I wanted the paper to appear metal-like, I thought it was best to glue this down. I used a small paintbrush and some matte mod podge to do this. Using small amounts of mod podge at a time I went in and moved my brush back and forth along the inside of the fold. Press it down for about 15 seconds and then leave it to dry. I put heavy items on top while they finished drying so that I would have a complete seal. In the pictures below, you can see what a difference it makes to glue the crease down.
  5. Paint base coat. Use the satin black spray paint and apply a thin layer of paint. They don’t need to be perfectly covered, so don’t fret if a few corners are not completely black. I found that it took about 1 can of spray paint per 24 x36 inch canvas. Let it dry for 24 hours (check dry time on can to ensure it fully sets and dries).
  6. Apply copper coat. Go in with the copper spray paint and cover each triangle. For my design I wanted the large triangles to fade to small as well as for them to fade from dark to light. So I made sure to leave some of the large triangles with more black. Coat with spray paint to the desired look you are going for. I added a thicker coat to the smaller triangles so that they looked like newer copper. As well, I concentrated more of the paint on the top of the triangle so that the sides would be darker. This gave more dimension to the shape. For extra texture I went in with my gloves on a few of the triangles and touched spots to lift the copper paint and expose the black. Alternatively you could use a sponge to get a similar effect. Let dry for another 24 hours.
  7. Organize triangles on canvas. Once the triangles have all dried and you are happy with the way they look, place them back on the canvas in the design you like. If you took pictures in step 3, use these to help recreate the design you previously chose. Having a design before will hopefully ensure you have just the right amount of triangles in each size. Otherwise you may find yourself having to go back to fold and paint more.

    17- map out painted triangles
    When planning out a design with more than one canvas, keep continuity in mind. As your triangles come close to the edge of the canvas, continue them in the same pattern on the next canvas.
  8. Move triangles for gluing. Shift triangles slightly away from where you want to glue so that they don’t get in your way. I tried to shift them all collectively to the right (as shown below). This way you won’t get any glue on the top side of other triangles and you won’t mistakingly glue any other triangles down in the process of gluing a different area. 18- move pieces and glue
  9. Glue triangles down. Turn the triangle over. Dab and spread mod podge on the edges of the triangles using a paint brush. Place down on the canvas and hold firmly for about 20 seconds. Slowly remove your hand. Corners of the triangle may slightly lift from the canvas. If that is the case you can add small amounts of glue to seal it. Don’t count on all the edges sealing perfectly though. Because the canvas has some give to it, there will always be sections that are slightly lifted. Just focus on keeping the gaps to a minimum. When on the wall you won’t notice these lifts anyways. 19- glue bottom
  10. Wipe excess glue. The mod podge will dry fast so as you go along, use a small piece of paper towel to wipe away excess glue that has built up near the edges.20- wipe between triangles
  11. Touch ups. I used a plastic bowl (one that you don’t plan on using again) and sprayed some black spray paint directly into it so that it pools. Find areas where there are large gaps of white of the canvas peaking through. Use a paint brush to apply spots of black paint. This will look a bit odd at first, but you will then use a clean piece of paper towel to remove the excess and blend it together. This step is shown in the image below. Once this is done let it dry and find a place to hang your creation!

Here are a few pictures of my finished art project from different angles. If you have any questions about this DIY, feel free to ask me in the comments below. If you are interested in getting a custom piece made for you, you can inquire on the contact page of my site.

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