Friday, April 19, 2013

Gallery Walls: Tips and Tricks and How-To's

I love a gallery wall.
I love looking at them on Pinterest and love seeing them in people's homes. Every single one is different and unique, and I think they are so inviting... they kind of just draw you in... you want to look at every single thing up close, whether it's a photograph or a piece of art or a silhouette of the family pet.




I've changed mine 32-to-be-exact a couple times.

This week, we had our walls painted and I decided to update and photograph my gallery wall (since the walls are freshly painted and will be without fingerprints or Sharpie markings for a grand total of approximately 2 days.) And I will share a bit about what I've included and hopefully provide someone somewhere with a little inspiration. Or should I say pin-spiration? Hehe. I lurv that word.

Here it is, folks.
(If you'll remember, my walls have been a darker tan color for the past couple years. Yes, shocker, I kept a paint color for 2 years. And yes it really has been 2 years, for those that don't believe me.)
The new walls are Benjamin Moore's Linen White and everything is so much brighter and happier around here. Including me.

First of all, if you love gallery walls but aren't sure where to start, or are afraid of messing up, I'd suggest starting in the middle with a sort of focal item like an initial or something. My friend Lauren has
some great ideas on hanging the frames and she has an awesome mossy initial for a focal point.
I'm not the world's most patient person, so I usually just hang my center item where I want it to go and then work outward from there. But I wouldn't suggest that. Unless you like nail holes. Lay it all out on the floor directly in front of the wall where you want it to go, and then you'll have an idea of placement.


I like to include a variety of non-photo items on this wall, mainly because it's a pain to change out the photos and changing 5 is much easier than changing 22. But I love photo gallery walls as well, and if you want to do that I highly recommend you read Lauren's post! She has some great tips.


Most of these items I pick up at the thrift store.
This frame and this cross stitch, for instance - straight from the Big Saver. (Frame was dark wood; spray painted yellow. The cross stitch I bought separately and it happened to fit.)
I love this because we had one in my home growing up and you usually can't find one like this that doesn't have the owners' last name (i.e. "The Smiths") sewn into it somewhere. This one was nameless and so now it is mine all mine.


Here's another yellow frame (again a re-do). And since we are a family of 5, and since that's kind of the Pinteresty thing to do (you know, include your number somewhere on a wall if you want to be cool), and since I needed something besides a photo to fill the space, I added that here.
I bought the navy and white quatrefoil scrapbook paper at Hobby Lobby and put it behind the glass of the frame. The #5 is one of those cardboard letters that you get for a dollar or two, also at Hobby Lobby. I painted it brown with regular acrylic paint. Then, for an added touch, I used the other end of the paint brush and added yellow dots around the outside. Then I simply hot glued the painted 5 to the glass of the frame.


Here's an up close and personal shot.


Plates are a fun way to add something different and can also break up the square-ness of the frames. Adding something round to space (whether it be a mirror, chalkboard, etc.) can really make a lot of difference. (Plate from America's Thrift Store.)


My kids' silhouettes are another favorite. Frames are once again from a junkin' trip.
I bought burlap scrapbook paper at Hobby Lobby (yes! burlap paper!) and cut it to fit behind the glass; the silhouettes are glued to the scrapbook paper and are also behind the glass.
I made my own silhouettes by taking a picture of each child facing to the left (their whole body needs to be facing that way; it helps having someone to distract them while you take the picture!), then print those photos out in whatever size you want your silhouettes to be. Very oh-so-carefully cut out the profile of the child, then lay that cut-out down on some black card stock and trace it with a pencil. Cut the profile out of the black card stock that you traced it on, and wah-lah! A silhouette! They do not have to be perfect. You and everyone else will know that they are your kids. :)


Another cardboard letter from Hobby Lobby, this time our last initial.
This might be my favorite idea and guess what? It might also be my greatest original craft idea ever.
Paint your letter whatever color you want. (I'm guessing a darker color might be better here, but I haven't tried a lighter color with this project yet so I have no clue how it would turn out.)
Then, take some Scotch tape (preferably the cloudy kind and not the perfectly clear kind) and tape stripes onto your letter going all around the edges. Some pieces you will have to cut to make the lines straight as you go around the edges (depending on your initial.)
Then just paint stripes on it - JUST KIDDING!
GUESS WHAT?
JUST LEAVE THE TAPE ON and HANG THAT SUCKER on the WALL!
Seriously. I taped my entire letter with the intention of adding stripes to it (I was out of painter's tape so I used Scotch), and when I looked at it I was like, "Ummm, this looks really good. It looks like I painted it and then distressed it. I'm leaving the tape."
And I did.
So yes, this is a brown cardboard M wrapped in Scotch tape.
And no one will ever know, except for all of you. :)



 These butterfly prints I picked up a few years ago at our local thrift store. I love them because they are old and they are French.



I get a lot of questions on these frames, and here's a little secret: I buy them here. 
They come unfinished. I prime them with Zinsser primer and then paint them by hand, adding a gel stain for that distressed antique look... like I did here.  They won't have the silky smooth finish that you get with the studio-type frames, but you can sand them to your liking. 
These frames are so inexpensive compared to the popular frames that you see in many galleries these days. I love them. They have all sizes and they start around just $8.00 for a 5x7 (which is a steal!). 


Alrighty folks, that concludes this post, and you can thank my husband because he just got in from a business trip and allowed me 30 minutes to upload pictures AND write all of this.
Now I need to go explain why our kitchen is white. Be back soon! (hopefully??)

Happy weekend, everyone!

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