A lot of art is just doing the work. I wasn't confident that I could paint so I started out small, having some masonite panels cut up at Home Depot into 12"x12" panels, gessoing them and having a go at it. When I decided that indeed I did want to use the paintings, I had to retrofit and put frames on the backs to hang and display them. Don cut 1-inch strips, and I glued them to the backs, painted them and installed hangers.
For the rest of the 12"x12" panels, he cut the strips for me and we fitted each panel individually, gluing them on in realtime. Next came sanding, I love my little Ryobi Orbital Sander. Then I'll gesso each one front and back, paint and varnish. I'm estimating that each one will cost an average of $1, not including my time. I just priced Ampersand Cradled Gessobord in the same size in a price range of $15-$20 each.
Learning to do things yourself can be such fun and suits my frugal little heart.