Carport + Patio DIY Decor

HOW TO WEATHER-PROOF INDOOR ART FOR OUTDOOR USE

How to Weather-Proof Indoor Art for Outdoor Use // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Over the past few weeks, Greg and I have been on the lookout for wall art to go over our semi-DIY console table in the carport.

Semi-DIY Console Table / 7th House on the Left

Obviously, the above photo was taken before the floor was painted, but this is the table we’re talking about. Since the table is so big and chunky (94 inches long) and it’s a huge wall (about 18 feet wide, including the door to the laundry room), we wanted something big to fill up the wall. We thought about hanging some lanterns from the ceiling, but while that would fill up the space visually, the extra long chains might look silly and they’d constantly be swinging around in the breeze. We also toyed around with the idea of building a giant chalkboard so we could change our artwork with the seasons. Having a chalkboard out in the elements didn’t seem like a smart idea, though, even if the area was covered. Then, we thought about a “living art piece” (something like this), but with my reputation as a plant assassin, that didn’t seem like a good idea either. So, wall art it was.

Outdoor Art Options / 7th House on the Left

Even though the selection for outdoor wall art has vastly improved a lot over the past few years, the pickings are still sort of slim. During our search, we kept finding pieces that were not the style we were looking for, too small or well over $500 – more than we wanted to spend for this part of the covered patio project.

Once we realized we weren’t going to find what we wanted in the small world of outdoor art, we abandoned the “outdoor” part of our search and just looked for big wall art to weatherproof ourselves. We knew this might be a little bit of a stretch (ability-wise) but we were up for the challenge. Before we get to the weatherproofing, let’s talk about the art…

Tandem Bicycle Stretched Canvas / 7th House on the Left

I found this giant piece of wall art and quickly declared that it had to be ours. Coming in at a massive 96″ long and 48″ tall, it was the perfect size for filling up the big brick wall over the huge table. It was originally priced at $349 and marked down to $278 (although it’s since been priced back up to $349). Our inner semi-DIYers wondered if we could create something similar, but then I realized that if we bought four 24×48 blank canvases, that would only be $78 cheaper – not including paint and the key ingredient: talent. Taking all that into account, and the fact that we’ve never seen a piece of art that large for that low of a price, the $278 price tag wasn’t too shabby.

How to Weather-Proof Indoor Art for Outdoor Use // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Now for the weatherproof part. After doing a lot – and I mean a lot – of Googling and asking a few friends who are way more handy than we are, we came up with a weatherproofing process that would protect our new art from the elements. Even though the carport is covered and there won’t be any rain, sleet or snow falling directly on it, we still wanted to protect it from the humidity and the “outdoors” in general.

How to Weather-Proof Indoor Art for Outdoor Use // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Step one of the weatherproofing process was to seal the artwork to protect it (and the frame) from water and general humidity. In order to do this, we needed a can of deck sealer (we used Thompson’s Water Seal Waterproofer plus Clear Wood Protector) and an inexpensive 1-gallon multi-purpose sprayer.

How to Weather-Proof Indoor Art for Outdoor Use // 7thhouseontheleft.com

We laid the canvases face down on a brand new drop cloth. At this point, we were really nervous about how this was going to work, so we started on the back.

How to Weather-Proof Indoor Art for Outdoor Use // 7thhouseontheleft.com

The sprayer had a tendency to drip when you first pushed the trigger, so Greg started off the artwork in the grass, then quickly waved the wand from side to side over the artwork. We didn’t want to completely soak it; we just wanted to get a nice, fine mist of waterproofer onto the art. In an attempt to make sure we captured exactly how we did this, I snapped a super quick, lighting-flashing-before-your-eyes iPhone video (complete with wonky lighting) of Greg applying the sealer.

I told you that was super fast, haha. We totally owe you guys a real video sometime.

How to Weather-Proof Indoor Art for Outdoor Use // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Once the canvases had a while to dry (about 30 minutes) we lightly wiped them down with a paper towel to remove excess waterproofer. The splotches you see on the canvas were actually just shadows from a nearby tree – there weren’t any splotches at all after we wiped them down.

How to Weather-Proof Indoor Art for Outdoor Use // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Before we moved on to the next step, we left them alone for a few days to make sure they were bone dry.

How to Weather-Proof Indoor Art for Outdoor Use // 7thhouseontheleft.com

The second step in the process was to seal the back of the stretched canvases. To do this, we cut a piece of Tyvek the same size as each canvas (this was done simply by tracing the canvas with a Sharpie and cutting slightly inside the line) and attached it to the back using a thin bead of Liquid Nail to completely seal it. This will prevent any small bugs from making nests, and because Tyvek is waterproof, but not water vapor-proof, it will let the inside “breathe”.

How to Weather-Proof Indoor Art for Outdoor Use // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Even though this is a covered patio, a gust of wind can sometimes blow things around a bit, and this particular artwork is extremely light. We needed a way to hang it so it would be protected from being blown off the wall. We don’t have many progress photos of this step because, really, we were deciding what was best as we went along. In fact, we went through three or four different methods before finally landing on the one we used. We ended up using two pieces of L-shaped aluminum as picture brackets. We hung the top piece to the mortar using concrete anchors, then mounted the artwork to it using screws (making sure to drill pilot holes first so we didn’t crack the frame). At that point, we hung a second piece of aluminum along the bottom and screwed the artwork to it just like on the top. After that, the artwork was completely secure to the wall. This baby ain’t going anywhere! If we need to clean it, it will be easy enough to do so with a damp rag and we won’t have to worry about knocking them around or making it uneven.

How to Weather-Proof Indoor Art for Outdoor Use // 7thhouseontheleft.com

We wanted the canvases to look like one giant piece, so rather than hanging them with a gap between each one like the catalog photo, we decided to hang them as close together as possible.

How to Weather-Proof Indoor Art for Outdoor Use // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Greg and I are both really happy with how much the art fills up the wall. I’m also really digging how the black artwork brings out the darker bricks on the wall. We’re going to be adding lots of color to the space by way of plants, planters, lanterns and such – then, the space will come together even more. So excited! I’ll be back later this week to dish some more of those details.

Outdoor wall art options found here, here and here.

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47 Comments

  • Reply
    Ashleigh
    August 12, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    The piece is down to $237 on Pottery Barn now!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      August 12, 2013 at 12:49 pm

      Yay! Hopefully it stays that way : )

    • Reply
      Deb
      April 26, 2016 at 11:32 am

      You are too funny! Very much enjoyed your explanation and process. Does this protect the art from sun fading? We have an inexpensive piece that we’d like to hang that will be semi covered under the eaves but it will be in full sun. Your thoughts?

      • Reply
        Ashley
        June 26, 2016 at 10:18 pm

        So far, we haven’t had any sun fading at all. I’d say go for it, however keep in mind that there could be different reactions in different climates.

    • Reply
      HolliaG
      April 27, 2016 at 1:47 pm

      Hi
      A question about waterproofing. Love the idea!!
      Would this work with a canvas print?
      I usually do my prints thru Costco
      Thanks! Have a great day!

      • Reply
        Ashley
        June 26, 2016 at 10:15 pm

        Thanks! I’d suggest testing it on the upper rim of the canvas (where you won’t see it when it’s hung.) to make sure the ink doesn’t run, etc.

  • Reply
    Gloria K
    August 12, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    I LOVE the bicycle art! Looks fabulous!

  • Reply
    Hannah C.
    August 12, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    I so wish I had a table that size on my patio. It would be perfect for buffet entertaining. It would be perfect for any type of entertaining! And I’m always drawn to a restored finish.The artwork you chose balances out the massiveness of the table so well. I look forward to seeing how you finish it off the look.

  • Reply
    Brady and Kym
    August 12, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    Great piece of artwork!!! A bicycle is a perfect subject for an outdoor piece! My husband and I recently worked on some living wall art for our bedroom balcony. I thought it was a total flop but 3 weeks later it’s looking more beautiful by the day. I was thinking I would do it again but I may now try weatherproofing some art from HomeGoods. (Love their stuff.) I’m a new reader and am enjoying your blog!

  • Reply
    Debbie Gartner aka The Flooring Girl
    August 12, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    Wow, I never knew that you can weather proof canvas art. I love the end product, the carport looks great. Nice job!

  • Reply
    corrie
    August 12, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    hi! i’m following you from the Toronto area, Canada and i love, Love, LOVE the wall art! it totally rounds out the space! (and i’m a complete bike geek, so i’ve put this on my short list of next purchases!) thanks!

  • Reply
    Allison
    August 13, 2013 at 9:14 am

    I am so so so jealous of your outdoor space! We live in Winnipeg, Canada and could never get away with some of the things you’re doing because of how cold and snowy it gets in the winter.
    I am living vicariously through you guys!

  • Reply
    Miss Charming
    August 14, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Oh, I love how stylish this looks! Anxious to see the finished space!

  • Reply
    Rachel
    September 12, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    What a great idea! And I LOVE the way the black looks against the brick. I would also love to link to your how-to in The Daily DIY if you didn’t mind.

    • Reply
      Ashley
      September 12, 2013 at 7:23 pm

      No, not at all! Thanks a bunch!

  • Reply
    Vanessa
    October 11, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Great idea! Love the idea of permanent outdoor art! Looks great against the brick! Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply
    cathy
    January 25, 2014 at 8:46 am

    Thank you for posting. I am preparing raw canvas to use outside. Your process looks pretty cheap and fast…just what I need. I wondered how your piece was doing now after a few months outside. Would you change your process? I may prep both sides and hang it without the tyvek…

    • Reply
      Ashley
      January 25, 2014 at 9:09 am

      It’s still doing very well! No complaints! : )

  • Reply
    Ann
    April 16, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Okay, LOVE your brick carport, your huge wonderful table and also the weatherproofed bicycle art. I really mean ENVY! I now realize the big wall on our back deck needs art. Thank you for sharing your creativity, and giving me a kick start.

  • Reply
    Kathleen
    April 25, 2014 at 10:29 am

    I love all the thing you guys have done to your home! I live in Wilmington, NC and have the same brick on our house. I was searching for shutter colors and came across your blog. Well done!!! I am in awe at your creativity…and energy. I used to have that energy when I was your ages! We have the same open bathroom design and have been thinking of ways to redesign it. I love what you’ve done! Enjoy and all the best!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      April 25, 2014 at 9:11 pm

      Aww, thank you so much!

  • Reply
    Cissy
    May 1, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    Please respond by email if at all possible. Did you spray both sides of your canvas or just the back side?

    • Reply
      Ashley
      May 3, 2014 at 10:12 am

      Both sides : )

  • Reply
    Ann
    May 29, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    Can u pls post and email if you r still satisfied with doing both sides as some sites said the canvas needs to breath in back and sealed with polyester paper which I also don’t know what that is or where to get it? Where do you get “tyvek”? R u in a high humidity area? Thanks so much.

    • Reply
      Ashley
      June 1, 2014 at 11:01 am

      We’re definitely in a high humidity area (Richmond, Va) and the artwork still looks as good as the day we hung it. We’re really thrilled with this method.

  • Reply
    Daphne Williams
    June 26, 2014 at 10:03 am

    How creative you are! I’ve been shopping for canvas art suited for the outdoors. I have found a few pieces on Hayneedle, Wayfair and Pier One, but all are too small and a little too expensive. I love your idea of weatherproofing art. I have a large brick wall that is NOT covered and, like you, I will kill anything “living”. Do you think your project would hold up under Dallas, Texas sun, rain, wind, etc…? Thanks. By the way, your patio area looks great!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      June 26, 2014 at 10:28 am

      So far, our artwork has help up great – and we had a pretty hot summer last year. There are no absolute guarantees, but I’m thinking it would hold up to Texas weather just fine (even though it can be a ton hotter than here in Virginia).

    • Reply
      Sandy
      July 3, 2014 at 11:36 pm

      I just found this post because I’m also looking for a way to weatherproof my own art for Dallas, Texas (I’m a photographer). πŸ˜€ Have you tried this yet, Daphne?

    • Reply
      Elizabeth Willett
      October 8, 2015 at 12:41 pm

      If it’s of any consequence, I use it on pallet artwork when I lived in Killeen, Texas and it did it’s job (though it’s meant for wood. I am guessing it would be similar that I had to reproof more often than the suggested 5-10 years of other sealers, I had to do it every 3-5 years.

  • Reply
    jules
    July 9, 2014 at 7:16 am

    how can i weatherproof an old gold look picture frame to be put outdoors, any ideas

    • Reply
      Ashley
      July 9, 2014 at 9:17 am

      I’d maybe try some weather-resistant polyurethane. We’ve used it on a few outdoor projects in the past and it’s worked great.

  • Reply
    Charles
    July 10, 2014 at 1:20 am

    Hi did you spray on the surface of the painting as well or just the back? πŸ™‚ thanks

    • Reply
      Ashley
      July 10, 2014 at 8:31 am

      We did the front and back. No problem!

    • Reply
      Amber
      July 30, 2015 at 8:16 am

      Thanks for asking, Charles! I was looking for that answer myself. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Sherry
    April 3, 2015 at 9:59 am

    I’m guessing that your art was some sort of print – not an actual oil painting? I’m wondering if the Thompson water seal would work for an oil painting.

    • Reply
      Ashley
      July 2, 2016 at 7:20 pm

      Yes, ours is a canvas print… I’m not sure about oil paintings. Maybe try a bot on a tiny corner (or on the top edge if it’s a stretched canvas) and see if it doesn’t discolor, damage, etc.

  • Reply
    Kristi
    July 24, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    I’m so excited I found this post!! I’m a photographer as well, living in Dallas and have wanted to weather proof a couple canvas’ of images I’ve taken on vacation for our patio. So thankful to find out how! Many thanks!!

  • Reply
    Marsha
    August 20, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    So happy to find this information! It’s difficult to find outdoor art that interests me for my patio area.

    Now that two years have passed, is it still holding up? I live in South Florida, and may bring my piece in during the super hot/humid summer months. We mostly use our patio during winter season.

    Would love a pic of your completed area! You chose a beautiful art piece. Thanks so much for sharing your idea. I will be duplicating your process.

    • Reply
      Ashley
      August 25, 2015 at 10:39 am

      It literally looks as good as the day we hung the artwork! We’re so pleased!
      There are photos of the finished covered patio on the House Tour page : )

  • Reply
    Brenda
    October 18, 2015 at 1:33 am

    Hi, I have just discovered your blog and love it πŸ™‚ we are Canadians who moved to the Southern Hemisphere about 10 years ago and enjoy outdoor living all year. Your link (where you purchased the bike picture) isn’t active – does anyone know where (or if) this print can still be purchased? I have a very long dark grey brick wall along our outdoor pool that will look fantastic with some art – thanks so much for sharing this technique πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Ashley
      October 28, 2015 at 10:07 am

      Unfortunately it looks like it isn’t available anymore at Pottery Barn – which is such a shame because it’s an amazing piece!! I’d also check art.com for large canvases. Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    Lynette Miller
    October 19, 2015 at 10:48 pm

    Check out Urban Lifestyle Designs – The team can customise one of 40 million images for you to hang outdoors. Great service from a great team.

  • Reply
    Andrew
    April 23, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Looks great! I came here after a random google search for “indoor poster for outside”.. I want to hang a poster in my backyard, fully aware I’d need to coat it with something and glue it to a wooden plank the same size.. I was thinking of just melting wax over it, but also worried the image willl darken from the moisture of the wax or gesso, which i assume would also happen with the Thompson’s water seal. Anyone have any input? And yes, we’re just talking about an average 30×42 poster, and making it weather proof for outside. Surely its been done before?

  • Reply
    John White
    June 6, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    Great inputs.

    Like Kristi, I am a photographer and use PhotoShop to resize photos, while maintaining the detail. Most recently, I have used Costco for photo canvas in size 30X40.

    There are a number of commercial products available for sealing the photo canvas–that work/bond with the inkjet colors.

    I really appreciate your inputs on how you handled the back with Thompson’s, etc.

    Thanks,

  • Reply
    Mindy
    June 16, 2016 at 8:04 am

    So you just water proofed the back, not front?

    • Reply
      Ashley
      June 26, 2016 at 9:56 pm

      We did both the back and the front – and it still looks as good as it did the day we hung the artwork!

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