Ballard Knock-off

by Sherry
I am joining Happy to design  for Sunday Favorites which is a chance to re-run your favorite post. I chose the Ballard Knock-off post because it seemed to be my readers favorite. This post received twice the comments of any others.

The first two photos below are of a print in Ballard’s catalog which sells for $349.00 plus $100.00 in shipping cost.  I knew I could replicate the look for a lot less.

First I searched the free sites for a antique style document I could download. I could not find exactly what I was looking for.  I then found this copy of a french birth certificate dated 1816 at and purchased the digital image for my project.

My local copy shop was able to enlarge the print to poster size, approximately 24 x 36. Make sure the printer quotes you a price for a poster rather than an enlargement. The enlargement is normally significantly more expensive. I selected a matt finish since I wanted the print to look antique. Lowes had the perfect board in their scrape pile and they cut it to size for free.  I had the board cut 1.5 inches longer and wider than the actual poster.

I then stained just the edges of the board and burned the edges of the poster with a match. Yes, I am doing this on my kitchen counter. It was a really cold and rainy day and I wanted this project done now.  We just won’t tell Hubby I started a fire in our new kitchen 

I applied Mod Podge to the board and the back of the print and then used a credit card to smooth out the wrinkles. Once dry I applied a coat of Mod Podge to the front of the print and added two hangers. Here is the finished product and a cost breakdown.

My cost break down for Ballard style print:

Digital download   $ 3.75
Enlargement          $12.00
Board                   $12.00
Total cost             $27.75

I had the stain and Mod Podge left from another project .          

I love the results and it was a really easy project!  Thanks for looking and I hope this has inspired you to try
your own knock off.


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Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality December 4, 2009 - 1:34 pm

Hi, Sherry, thanks for stopping by & first, welcome to blogging! So nice to meet you.

And second, WOW, I'm loving this Ballards look-alike project you did. That is totally awesome. I was just in the Ballards OUtlet in ATL last week & love their stuff, but not their prices. I just may have to do this one. Your board looks smaller than 24×36, is that close to the finished size?? I would love to try this!

chandlerguera December 5, 2009 - 2:38 am

Wow, your project really turned out great!

Gina December 5, 2009 - 2:53 am

Wow, that's amazing! You've done an excellent job.

Sandra December 5, 2009 - 3:48 pm

I love this project…it turned out beautiful. Ballard prices are ridiculous and your piece is just as nice if not better. Thanks for sharing.

Sweet Bee Cottage December 5, 2009 - 6:52 pm

You ROCK! What a great idea and I LOVE the cost. It looks so good. You should definitely be patting yourself on the back for this one. Thank you for sharing.

[email protected] of Homemaking December 5, 2009 - 7:37 pm

This is such a great knockoff! Beautiful job on this – it really is gorgeous!


Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions December 5, 2009 - 8:51 pm

That. Is. Fabulous!!!! I love it! Being a fan of Ballard myself I love to find a way to "interpret" their expensive items into my own home.

Rhondi December 5, 2009 - 9:22 pm

Hi Sherry
After reading Manuela's post I had to come over for a visit. You did a fabulous job! I see that you are a new blogger, so let me also welcome you to blogging. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

[email protected] December 5, 2009 - 10:14 pm

that is awesome! You have inspired me to attempt to make my own (I too fell in love with that picture in the ballards caty). Welcome to blogging, its so much fun (and addicting). Can't wait to see what you come up with next!

Brenda @Cozy Little House December 6, 2009 - 12:28 am

Wow, this is fantastic! Manuela sent me over. Welcome to Blogland!

Audra December 6, 2009 - 2:20 am

First of all, welcome to blogging! Happy to have you here, happier to have found your blog and the beautiful picture you created. I have been needing something for a wall where my sofa sits and I believe this could be just the thing! Wow! What an amazing job you did…I am inspired.

Wendy December 6, 2009 - 2:31 am

That looks great! You did an awesome job!

Anonymous December 6, 2009 - 3:01 am

LOVE IT! I'm gonna have to try that!

licha20 December 6, 2009 - 3:13 am

nice to meet you. i loove your board and I'm going to make one! I have been looking for something to place over the fireplace for sooo long…well here is what I'm going to make!! I purchased the image and I agree it was the best choice.Thank you sooo much.Evelyn

Barbara Jean December 6, 2009 - 4:17 am

you did an awesome job!!!

love it!!

glad i found you.


barbara jean

A Dusty Frame December 6, 2009 - 4:39 am


I can't imagine paying over $400 for something like that though;0!

Kelley December 6, 2009 - 4:53 am

Love it! Believe me, I am inspired!

Jen R. December 6, 2009 - 3:39 pm

This is the coolest! Great job!

dee dee December 8, 2009 - 2:25 am

Amazing! Looks fantastic! Dee Dee

nannykim/spindlecottage December 8, 2009 - 2:45 am

Beautiful–I can't believe how great it looks!

Melanie December 10, 2009 - 3:06 am

I am blown away by your creativity. I am going to copy you and do this in our new home. I found you through another blog and I am going to add you to my RSS Feed.

Suzanne December 10, 2009 - 8:09 am

Wow! It looks so awesome! That is a very clever project!!!

Gale December 28, 2009 - 11:51 pm

Absolutely love this!!! My 85 year old mom finally divided up some family documents including a few from the mid 1800's. I'm going to take one and do this to it. I'm loving not keeping it in a drawer, but seeing it every day..

jabee January 7, 2010 - 12:32 pm


Jelly Girl January 15, 2010 - 11:31 pm

Great idea! Love all of the blog links, too!

A Jelly Girl

Kelly Howard January 24, 2010 - 5:02 am

I love this! And, personally, I like yours much better! Awesome job and great blog!

[email protected] January 24, 2010 - 5:32 am

Nice job, it really looks like the real thing!

Stephanie Lynn January 24, 2010 - 5:51 am

This is fabulous! You did an amazing job – Thanks for the inspiration!

Becca January 24, 2010 - 12:38 pm

WOW !! I LOVE this … I've seen this before in Ballards and, like you, couldn't justify the price !! I may have to try this myself. I look forward to following your blog to see what other creative projects you conquer. Stop by sometime, Becca (Adventures in Decorating)

Tracy's Trinkets and Treasures January 24, 2010 - 4:42 pm

I love when people can figure out how to recreate expensive items and share how to do it. You did great. Thanks for sharing.

Maggie January 25, 2010 - 3:54 am

Fantastic Job!!!

JJ January 27, 2010 - 5:19 am

wow! your ballard knock off is amazing! i am definitely going to have to try this one!! it looks even better than the original, especially the price!! thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting:) i have your page bookmarked and am looking forward to reading your blog! thanks again for the wonderful idea!!

Laurie at The Turner Farm January 30, 2010 - 1:06 pm

Found your blog from Funky Junk Interiors. Wow! Love this project. Will have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing!

Frugal Home Design January 30, 2010 - 2:54 pm

That is awesome. What a great job. I am going to have to try this. Thanks for the inspiration.

A Touch of Country January 30, 2010 - 2:56 pm

i love ballard but seldom can afford the ideas I see. Thanks for such an amazing tutorial. I love it!



Kelley B January 30, 2010 - 4:18 pm

I just love your project. I have my grandmother's wedding certificate and want to try it with this idea. Thanks for the tutorial.

~ RM January 30, 2010 - 4:29 pm

Wow. THis is terrific. I have been looking for something like this to hang in the guest bath, Thankyou so much for the tutorial!

Crystal January 30, 2010 - 6:49 pm

Hello Sherry and welcome to Blogland. What an inspiring idea. I will definitely have to keep this project in mind. I never thought of try to replicate a pic idea before.
I will definitely be back and will add you to my blogroll.
Have a blessed weekedn.

Kim January 30, 2010 - 11:48 pm

This is just stunning and I would like to copy it. I'm so glad you did the leg work for us and found a great document to work with. I have a question. Did the copy shop give you any problems with making a copy? I've had problems with them even punching holes in copyrighted stuff. (I realize it's an old document…)

[email protected] January 31, 2010 - 12:08 am

What a fantastic knockoff! I love it!
Welcome to blogging!

Denise January 31, 2010 - 12:25 am

great project–great price!

I am very impressed!

[email protected] January 31, 2010 - 1:26 am

great knockoff! you did a super job.

Dede Warren January 31, 2010 - 2:08 am

yeah, yippee, golf clasp!!!!!! You are one smart girl, coming up with this… knock off or not! Thanks ever so much for sharing, this is THE BeSt!!!!

artteachergirl January 31, 2010 - 5:05 am

I am so glad I saw your project on Funky Junk Interiors! I can't wait to try this for over my mantel. I have one of those mantels that nothing seems to look right over. Right now I have a huge lime green mirror over it, but I am tiring of it. I think I might be able to use some letters from my grandfather's journal…would have some meaning to me. I love the Ballard catalogs! But its much more fun to copy your idea.

AM from White House, Black Shutters January 31, 2010 - 6:25 am

Wow, I love what you've done here! Can't believe the price difference between yours and the Ballard… AND I like yours better! Great work, consider me a follower!

~ Kelly Ann ♥ January 31, 2010 - 7:05 pm

Hi Sherry-

Oh my goodness this idea- is brilliant!!! Thxs for posting!!

~ Kelly Ann ♥ January 31, 2010 - 7:08 pm

By chance- are you willing to make another one? If I pay you for the cost & shipping. I just have so many projects on my plate- being pregnant and all. Maybe we can do a even exchange- I'm a photographer and you can take a look at some of my prints I have for sale on my website– Let me know when you have a chance- Thxs Kelly Ann
Click enter website
Click gallery
click prints available

annie January 31, 2010 - 7:27 pm

What a fantastic project!
I am forever in the land of Ballard/
Pottery Barn/ Anthro. accessory envy!
THANK YOU for so easily breaking all of this down—I SO appreciate it!

FleaMarketTrixie January 31, 2010 - 10:28 pm

Amazing, this looks so great!! I love it, yours looks even better than the Ballard Design one.
Thanks for sharing this one 🙂
I'm now a follower

Krista February 1, 2010 - 4:30 am

This is absolutely gorgeous and you MAY have even inspired me, a very NON crafty kind of girl, to make this!

C'est Magnifique February 1, 2010 - 4:21 am

Beautiful! I am in love with Ballard design too!


Angie @ The Country Chic Cottage February 1, 2010 - 9:25 pm

That is gorgeous!!!!

Tamra February 2, 2010 - 1:35 am

Love, love, LOVE this!!!!!

How did you age the other areas of the print? I see the burned edges but what did you do more to the inside of it to give it that brown aged look?

Thank you so much for this!!

The Gilded Barn

Gaye February 3, 2010 - 12:15 am

I love, love, love your project and would like to do something along these lines. I wanted to ask you when you download your image, do you put it on a cd and then take it to somewhere like Kinko's to enlarge and what type of paper do you have them put it on.

Thanks for sharing your project with us!

dustyperle February 4, 2010 - 2:34 am

So I think I already posted and told you what a great idea you have here. However I just found a site that you might like. I noticed that you paid for your download of the print. I wanted to tell you about a free site that perhaps would help you in the future. It's called Vintage Printable and the link is I am in no way affiliated with the site but you made my life better so I thought I would share the love and hopefully show you something that would help you in the future. Have a wonderful night!

Room to Inspire February 19, 2010 - 5:16 am

LOVE this! Great project and yours looks amazing.


Lenore March 7, 2010 - 2:29 am

I just found your blog and LOVE this re-post….I'm going to try it myself with a family genealogy record….thanks for the tutorial!

Diann @ The Thrifty Groove March 7, 2010 - 3:30 am

This really is a wonderful do it yourself project! You are one smart cookie to create this! I love trying to create things I see in the overpriced stores! It is so fun!

Alicia March 7, 2010 - 3:45 am

Wow, How clever are you! That came out better than the Ballards version. I can see why you received so many comments. Thanks for re-sharing this.

Chari at Happy To Design March 7, 2010 - 5:57 am

Hi Sherry…

Ohhh…this may just very well be my favorite crafting project that I've seen! I could see a beautiful antique french document like this on my fireplace mantel! Sherry, thank you sooo much for sharing this fabulous project with us for Sunday Favorites! I'm definitely going to try my hand at this! Wow…love, love, LOVE how your finished piece looks on the wall…and what a beautiful vignette to go with it!!!

Okay…I just have to say it! Can you even begin to imagine spending $450 for this? Eeekkkss…I guess I'm just too cheap…ur..I mean…frugal! Hehe! So happy to have you join in with the fun of Sunday Favorites, my friend…what a great post!!!

Warmest wishes,
Chari @Happy To Design

Treasia Stepp March 7, 2010 - 5:58 am

Yours is so much nicer than the Ballard one. Really it looks wonderful. Excellent job on this.

Chari at Happy To Design March 7, 2010 - 5:58 am

Ooops…just lil' ol' me again! I just wanted to let you know that I saved your photos to my computer for reference when I do my project! Wow…I just love this!!!


Carol at Serendipity March 7, 2010 - 11:52 am

Yours is better. How clever. I am doing Pottery Barn Easter Postcards this weekend. Great job!


Keetha Broyles March 7, 2010 - 12:10 pm

Yours is way better besides being more thrifty!

silk purse March 7, 2010 - 10:29 pm

What a fablous project!~ A keeper for sure! Thanks so much for sharing and (re-sharing this with us also)!!

This is my first week partaking with dear Cheri's, 'Sunday Favorites' blog party and 'wow'; what fun I'm having!!..,

You have a lovely, very highly creative and informative blog and I simply cannot wait to return to see what you'll post next my dear!

Do kindly accept my warm invitation to also visit my blog where this week I have posted my art fork as my chosen , 'Sunday favorites' theme.

~There is also a wee tour of my Bed and Breakfast via a link on my blog; (as I've also shown my painting this week of my own home and B. and B. that I share with my hubby)..,Enjoy!

Cheers from Wanda Lee @ The Plumed Pen

Frugal Life Pro May 7, 2010 - 4:17 am

very nice!

freckled laundry September 1, 2010 - 4:30 am

This is gorgeous!

Heather September 1, 2010 - 5:41 pm

Ok, that is the most gorgeous thing I have ever seen! Love it!

Halo Hill September 2, 2010 - 3:52 am

I love it! Good for you, and thank you for sharing!


clustres September 3, 2010 - 4:27 am

This is absolutely great! Thanks for posting!

Gloria Fox September 3, 2010 - 4:16 pm

Wow! That is awesome. I am so doing this!

Visiting from Finding Fabulous. Going to look around some more.

Ann @ makethebestofthings September 3, 2010 - 4:49 pm

This is genius and it came out wonderfully! Thanks for posting, it has inspired me.

Shannon @ {aka} | design September 4, 2010 - 11:50 pm

Hi Sherry! LOVE the knockoff! WTG! Linking it on our DIY links.

Chris September 5, 2010 - 12:16 am

This is an absolutely genius idea! I love every inch of it! Great job!

Abigail Prescott September 5, 2010 - 1:17 am

Bravo, Sherry! It looks terrific and I love the vignette you created. Gorgeous!


Jaclyn Beith September 5, 2010 - 2:03 am

I like yours so much better!!! Great work!!! 🙂

Anonymous September 5, 2010 - 1:10 pm

Very creative. Your print looks much better than Ballards. Love it!


Dayla September 5, 2010 - 6:13 pm

Fantastic! I'm beginning the project now!!

[email protected] September 7, 2010 - 6:43 am

This is absolutely amazing! Totally beautiful! I am featuring this at Grab my "featured' button. My viewers will definitely be visiting your site for this tutorial!

Ali @ Honey and Maple Syrup September 7, 2010 - 8:33 pm

This is such a great project!

bayleigh September 7, 2010 - 10:51 pm

I love this! I've been thinking of doing this with some of the letters my grandpa wrote my grandma in WWII. I saw something similar at a craft show, and knew I could do it for less! This is the incentive I needed to GET TO IT! Thanks! 🙂

Reply September 8, 2010 - 2:31 am

Saw this on Someday Crafts – I absolutely love it!
What an amazing job you did – I hope you don't mind but I am posting a link to it on my Facebook fan page – again, great job!

Sandra {sawdust and paper scraps} September 8, 2010 - 1:23 pm

I LOVE this. So cool and so many smart tips. Like the document download and enlargement to poster size at a copy store. Who know. I just FB'd this.

Creations from my heart September 8, 2010 - 2:45 pm

You have got my head spinning. I love Ballards catalog, just not the prices expecially when you add in the shipping. I have seen many prints that I was trying to figure out how to duplicate (I have them in a file on my computer). I am re-doing the masterbedroom and just purchased two prints from Marshals that I was not totally in love with, and know they are going back to the store. I am ging to try this idea out. Thank you so much for sharing. I am marking you as a favorite!

Maryann @ Domestically-Speaking September 8, 2010 - 4:16 pm

LOVE it Sherry!!! Thanks for the great tute… my mind is swirling with ideas 🙂

Jan @ bobbypins boardwalk September 8, 2010 - 10:40 pm

Sherry, I wanted to let you know that I have featured your project on my blog for my post on last month's bookmarked projects. Wonderful creativity.

Christine September 10, 2010 - 10:28 pm

I love this…

Jess @ Frugal with a Flourish September 11, 2010 - 12:49 am

Beautiful! Such a great project! I love it!

Theresa September 11, 2010 - 7:49 pm

I HAVE GOT TO TRY THIS!!! Wow it is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing all of the great info… Theresa

michelle September 13, 2010 - 2:19 pm

That is so great!! I love it!! It looks better than the Ballard Design one! Thank you for sharing!!

Jackie September 24, 2010 - 11:31 am

Love the look, in fact, I think yours is much nicer than the Ballards version. I go to Paris each year and get little things to sell at my shop and on etsy. I have several of these original documents. Great job!
bliss farm antiques

Amanda October 3, 2010 - 1:44 pm

I just wanted to stop by and let you know that I linked to this post today from the Home & Garden channel at Craft Gossip. 🙂

Your feature will appear in the main Craft Gossip RSS feed, on the main home page and can be found directly here

If you would like a "featured by" button, you can grab one here!

Teri October 26, 2010 - 3:17 pm

So awesome!!! I just ran across your blog just in time! I just moved to a home with very large blank walls and I do look (notice I said look only) through Ballard Designs for ideas. I love your version!! Thank you!

[email protected] December 30, 2010 - 11:00 pm

This is AMAZING!!! I love it!!!

Jennifer @lifecraftsandwhatever December 31, 2010 - 2:10 am

Sherry, this is uh-maz-ing! I too often peruse thru the Ballard catalog to see their products and figure out how to make my own version, but I would have never some up with this. You have some talent, lady! I'm new to the blogging world, thanks for giving me something else to add to my to-do list!

Melissa February 3, 2011 - 11:01 pm

Sherry- First off… I LOVE this project. I did one myself and it came out wonderful. You should submit this ballard knock off to It's such a wonderful tutorial and I think people will go crazy over the end product. Great job!

Tania February 11, 2011 - 9:28 am

wow stunning! don't know if anyone mentioned this, but you would find similar images at Graphics Fairy for free – I love what you did, really great work!

Junker Newbie Stephanie February 11, 2011 - 3:06 pm

This is brilliant! LOVE it 🙂

Leslie @ goodbye, house! HELLO, HOME! February 11, 2011 - 6:44 pm

Knows what she wants–gets it done!
You go, Sherry!!

Elizabeth February 23, 2011 - 2:34 pm

That's beautiful! Thanks for sharing your idea.

Jenspire March 19, 2011 - 11:14 pm

Looks so authentic! Great job!

Dee March 26, 2011 - 1:02 pm


Very clever! It's a beautiful work of art.
I love your talent.


Joyce across the Pond September 6, 2011 - 10:34 am

This project looks amazing…you have inspired me to do likewise but as I am in Northern Ireland and am a calligrapher I would be just getting a large sheet of paper and using one of my many pens to do the necessary…then I would distress the edges of course and bobs your uncle as they say hereabouts. I am looking forward now to having a browse through your blog. Thanks for sharing this project and I do love your frugality!!

Art Expression September 17, 2011 - 5:23 pm

Hi Sherry,
I have to tell you that I think your version looks better than the original….beautiful

Eliza Freitas October 13, 2011 - 9:10 pm

Oieee Sherry… amei a ideia, irei fazer um pra mim também… rsrs… visite meu blog e me conte o que achou… não é tão charmoso quanto o seu, mas é bonitinho… rsrs!!!

Anonymous January 16, 2012 - 2:41 pm

I'm going to try this!! You are my new hero because I've been looking at this in Ballard's catalog and dreaming about it. Thank you for sharing this tutorial with us.

Roberta in Indianapolis February 7, 2012 - 11:03 pm

This is so perfect! I'm both an amateur genealogist and amateur decorator on a budget. My plan is to represent my husband's family with a Marriage certificate from 1846 and my family with a land grant from 1823. (Copies of both, of course!)

Thanks so much for sharing the idea for what I think will probably become one of my favorite projects ever!!

Roberta in Indianapolis February 7, 2012 - 11:04 pm

This is so perfect! I'm both an amateur genealogist and amateur decorator on a budget. My plan is to represent my husband's family with a Marriage certificate from 1846 and my family with a land grant from 1823. (Copies of both, of course!)

Thanks so much for sharing the idea for what I think will probably become one of my favorite projects ever!!

Anonymous February 17, 2012 - 3:05 am

Love this Ballard Design Knock-off. I will have to try this in the near future. It is a very inspiring project. Thank you for sharing your creativity.

Stacey Merrill March 3, 2012 - 2:03 am

Nicely done!

A hint that works for me when burning paper – I find a woodburning tool or soldering iron (find both at your local craft store)gives great burned look without the flames & easier to control if I want precise spots darkened

Anonymous June 24, 2012 - 9:42 pm

That is so nice, I just started using mod podge not long ago , after hearing a lot of wonderful ideas that can be done with it , and thought I would give a few projects a try , and so far I have done a few picture frames , and now I will probably try this , except I am going to get copies of a black and white picture of my grandpa and his brother , and do something like this for my mom , only without burning the corners . Thanks so much for sharing this great idea . =)

MB September 29, 2012 - 1:02 am

Hi Sherry. This is great! I was looking for ways to frame and give emphasis to my grandparents wedding certificate I recently received… it's a beautiful old & colorful document. After seeing this post, i'm considering doing something like this and preserving the actual document instead of framing it… what do you think?

Euphoria October 25, 2012 - 6:18 pm

Hi Sherry, thanks for this post. You inspired me to try making my own, and it turned out great! Had a little trouble with the photo adhesive I used on the enlargement, but only I can see that flaw!

Anonymous December 3, 2012 - 12:56 am

Made one this morning. It came out great! I used the same birth certificate that I purchased from the website you used. I had it copied in black and white and enlarged to poster size. I bought a piece of old plywood from a recycle center for $1.00 cut it to size. I aged the image with coffee grounds and ink. Used mod podge and in about 30 minutes it was finished. Total cost was $7.00. I will be making more in different sizes. Thank you for sharing!!

Savannah Attic February 1, 2013 - 3:59 am

Hello Sherry
This looks really fantastic, some look a likes can come off like a cheap version of the original but Yours is Amazing I think it's better because you chose your text and finish. Just amazing love it

wintonrosepapercreations April 25, 2013 - 1:30 am

WOW!!! You've done a wonderful job on this project. I must try this now with our own birth certificates and make them look vintage of course. I can image them all over one wall this is going to be amazing. Thanks so much for sharing. Love it! Karen.x

Little Miss Maggie May 2, 2013 - 1:18 am

I just found this on Pinterest. You did an amazing tutorial. I must try this! Thanks so much.

Joya June 29, 2013 - 11:00 pm

Fantastic! I love this and cannot wait to give this a try! Thanks for the idea 🙂


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