Jun 29, 2016

How to: Mount Posters and Art to Plywood for an Affordable Modern Look

Mounting odd-shaped posters on plywood

In my hometown there's a poster shop that makes letterpress posters for every band that plays at The Ryman Auditorium. The fun part is you never know what size the poster will be and you can count on the size being something that could only be framed in a custom size.     Custom framing is expensive! Here's a simple way to mount gig posters or any oddly-sized art you might want to hang. 

What You'll need:

  • A poster (read on to see what kind you can actually use)
  • A container of Mod Podge (matte finish)
  • Paint Brush
  • Craft Paper
  • Ink Roller (like what you'd use for block printing)
  • 1/2 sheet of birch plywood cut to the dimensions of your poster
  • Frame mounting hardware

Before you begin, it's very important that your poster is able to withstand water-based Mod Podge. The poster I'm using is about 100# (thick) paper and the ink is an oil-based ink that will not bleed when wet. If your piece is acrylic, water-based or washable you need to research methods for applying a polyurethane glaze.

Before you begin gluing, measure and cut some birch ply to the exact size of your poster. I used the high-end birch because the edging of the board is more consistent and clean, whereas cheaper ply can have dark gaps and cracks that won't look as nice around the edges.

Mount an odd-sized poster on plywood


First, I put down some craft paper to keep my workspace clean. Then, I applied Mod Podge to the back of the poster. This will wet the poster and keep it from bubbling up when you place it on top of the plywood. Work quickly, this stuff dries fast.

Mount an odd-shaped poster to plywood

Quickly pour some Mod Podge on the face of your plywood and spread it evenly. 

Mound an odd-shaped poster to plywood

Place the poster onto the plywood surface. If you put enough Mod Podge, you will be able to shift and slide it around to line up with the edges of the poster. 

Mount an odd-shaped poster to Plywood

Next, smooth out the poster and get as many bubbles out as you can. I used an ink roller to smooth everything down. Any kind of roller would work just fine.

Mound an odd-shaped poster to plywood

Now, cover the top of the poster with a liberal amount of Mod Podge. You'll likely have to use your finger to smooth out some of the edges where the paper bubbles up, just hold it down for a few seconds to let the paper soak in the glue.

When everything is covered, go back over with your brush and make uniform vertical strokes. Allow everything to dry for about an hour. You can add more coats and sand to a smooth finish if you'd like. I personally love the textured look after it dries.

After everything dries, add some mounting hardware like hooks and wire or route a keyhole in the back. 

Mound an odd-shaped poster to plywood

And you're golden! I really love the modern look of the plywood edge and how it offsets from the wall like a decent frame does. Sure beats the college days with thumb tacks! 

Mound an odd-shaped poster to plywood



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Mark on Apr 10, 2020:

Just a thought, here, to prevent the plywood from warping at some point. I would paint the back of the plywood, or even apply the same mod podge. When one side of a wooden piece is sealed (in this case with mod podge) and the opposite side left bare, the plywood will absorb humidity unevenly, and eventually warp. Even indoors. Seal the back side with anything, doesn't really matter. This is a common method in woodworking, veneering, etc., to prevent warping. Thanks

Anonymous on Jun 05, 2018:

I read a fantastic easy way to apply your poster and it works!
Brush on the modge podge to the wood and let dry. Then put the poster on the wood and a piece of parchment paper on top of that. Press with an iron. It reactivates the modge podge. No mess no wrinkles.

Jeff Berger on Nov 19, 2017:

I just went to Hatch today (11/19/17). They are selling posters mounted on plywood. Of course! The obvious solution to the problem of how to frame a Hatch Show Print. They told me to use 3M spray, but I like your idea better. Thanks!

Christopher on Oct 16, 2017:

Cool idea ... my only concern is with the acid content of plywood and it's effect on the poster. Afraid you will soon see acid-browning of the poster. Apart from the look of the plywood edging, which does look nice, not sure this is really easier or cheaper than buying an acid-free foam board.

jennifer on Jan 09, 2017:

I tried this on a large map I had, and I just wanted to share my experience with others. First, I must say that I loved the Bon Iver poster that the blogger used. My map was 50x32, so it was much larger. There was no way to "work quickly", so I decided to try and work in sections. I ended up with a LOT of wrinkles and bubbles, even thought i used the credit card trick and a roller. I was so upset initially--wasted a $40 piece of wood. However, I went ahead and finished it out, including a coat on top. What do you know--the bubbles disappeared after it dried! I don't know how this worked or why, but I'm not complaining. My huge map ended up shifting a bit, and so it wasn't on exactly straight. There wasn't any ability to re-position since i was working in sections. So my advice to others is not to worry too much if you have bubbles after attempting to smooth it out--they may disappear! I'm pretty happy with the end results--a few wrinkles, but only visible if you look very closely!

Joshua Hickey on Dec 11, 2016:

I have a lanscape of the west coast and will be using Ash board to get the grey/driftwood effect. I was thinking of having 1/2" - 1" of the ash board showing around the edge of the print. Has anyone tried oversizing the wood board slightly to have a border ?

Anonymous on Apr 17, 2016:

Do you think this would hold up outdoors? I'd like to have some of these for our partially covered patio.

Anonymous on Mar 11, 2016:

You could use spackle or wood filler on the edges if you want a neater more finished look.  Better to do this before mounting the artwork.

Chris on Jan 26, 2015:

@Cody - you're correct. That tool is definitely an ink brayer, and you can find them at any art supply or craft shop with the printmaking supplies.

Cody on Jan 25, 2015:

If you can't find the roller searching ink rolled, I'm pretty sure the official name is a brayer. I'll have to remember this when I get more posters

bryson on Jan 22, 2015:

Hmm, tough question. I am afraid to say yes because I'd hate to ruin your map. If there's a way to practice on a simimar piece of material that'd be a good idea before you commit. There's no going back once you get the glue on the paper! 

Anonymous on Jan 21, 2015:

Do you think this would work for an antique map? I picked up one from an old cottage in Maine.