July 30, 2012

Photo Gallery Wall

I HATE the white walls. Whoever thought that the best color for walls was white had to be on crack! Not only is it boring, I tell you it is actually a magnet for dirt and grimy little fingers. And even though our new house has some really excellent architectural features they are unfortunately all white. Ugh! But I trying to make due with the awful white, and this is what I came up with for our very blank wall leading up the stairs.

Other than the pink being way, way more pink than I had imagined, I am very happy with how it turned out. I think the spacing and other items other than frames helps keep it from looking cluttered. And I even like how the colors pop against the white wall.

Picture wall - Mix pictures, items, keepsakes, etc.
Again, my inspiration came from Pintrest (don't you just love Pintrest!). What I loved most about this was the fact that it wasn't just pictures. I also loved the mix and match eclectic feel. It feels more causal to me than your traditional black frame walls that you typical see (not that I don't love those too). And the best part about using a mix and match of frames is that I could use all the frames I already had and only had to buy a fraction of what I needed new.

As soon as I pinned this I started collecting little items here and there while I worked on finding pictures. This was quite a task due to the fact that they were a jumbled mess thanks to our little external hard drive mishap. So I spent days and days of sorting through thousands and thousands of pictures (to put this in perspective I had all my grandfathers photos along with mine and he had pictures from over 40 years). Finally I had selected all of the photos I thought might work and put them in one folder on my computer. Next I laid out all of the frames I had on hand out on the floor and started deciding what pictures would go in what frames. I have a tendency to take mostly landscape photos, so I had them laid out so I could make sure I was getting somewhat of an even distribution of orientations. I maked the picture and orientaion on a small post-it and stuck it to the frame so I could keep track of things. I of course did not take a picture of this, but you get the idea.

The next step was to trace each frame/object on to paper. I used some very old wrapping paper for this (we are talking over 5 years here). The best part of this process was the spontaneous paper tube fight that broke out. J was victorious of course.

 I marked the picture and orientation inside the trace and cut all the pieces out. I also marked the placement for the nail by laying the cut out piece on the back of the frame and marking an X over where the nail needed to go. This was the smartest thing I did! It made hang the frames so very easy. You will notice the ampersand has some neon pink on it. I found it at Hobby Lobby and it was broken. I didn't really like the way it was and knew I was going to paint it anyways, so I bought it 50% off and used playdough to create a small extension. I would ideally have used clay, but I just used what I had on hand. Worked great and you can't argue with 50% off. 

The next step wast to start taping to the wall. Quick tip. If you are using painter's tape like I did, tape the crap out of your papers. They kept falling off the wall which was quite annoying! You will notice lots of empty space. This was all the frames I had to start with. I went ahead and started without having all my frames so that I would know how many more I would need to get. 

At this point we went to get paint. My original plan was to spray paint, but we went to two different stores and were not at all pleased with the spray paint selection. So plan B was get the sample wall paint from Home Depot. In the end, I think this was an even better idea. For one, I'm not that great with spray paint. And I love the texture from the brush stokes on the frame. It gives them a lot more character. And the even better part is that it was cheaper. These bad boys are only $2.54 a jar.
We did not really have any idea what colors we were going for, but we new we wanted bold colors that were not too bright (missed the mark on the pink... oops). We ended up selecting these colors from Behr: Brown Mustard, Kingfisher (blue), and Pottery Red (which is actually very very pink). We went with Behr Premium Plus Ultra which is their one with paint and primer in one. If you have not tried this paint, I highly recommend it. We have used it many many times on the wall. We once painted a deep dark blue (much like the Kingfisher we used on the frames) with light pink in only two coats! Amazing stuff I tell ya!

When we got home with our three colors we went to are wall of paper (replacing the fallen ones first). We marked the color of the items that we were going to leave first and then went through and decided what color we would paint the remaining items. This is were having the paper on the was was super helpful. You can see this in the above photos with the red sharpie markings. To add a little something extra to my frames, I used this distress ink on the edges. It adds some really awesome character to them and the really pop on the wall. My favorite piece that I did was my ampersand. Isn't it great?!

We put up some nails using the marked X's (I'm telling you this is a must do step if you take on a similar project... saves SOOOO much time!) and hung the frames.

So then it was off to find more frames. We had to run to Target and I found an awesome deal! I found this set of 6 frames for $20. Twenty bucks people! The only way I could have gotten them cheaper was to find them at a flea market. And we all know about my need for instant results so that was not an option :) We took home my great find. And repeated the steps of tracing, cutting, and taping, deciding on color, painting, and hanging using my X marks the spot method. I of course forgot to take photos again, but this photo is after I had added the 6 new frames and decided on my final frames to get.

And after my final trip for frames and hanging, this was it. A gallery wall to be proud of. I think I spent a total of about $80 including printing the pictures. And I know you could get the frames cheaper if you tried.

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