Saturday, May 11, 2013

Living Room Gallery Wall (Part 2)

So tonight I will be sharing with you the second post about my living room gallery wall, as promised :) I will cover how I completed some of the detailed aspects of the gallery wall, including painting the frames and making the burlap matting around the photo in the largest frame. I will also go through how Eric and I finally hung everything on the wall after planning everything out on the floor first.

First, I'll go over how I created the striped frames like the one shown above. These were the plain oak frames that I talked about in the first post, purchased from Hobby Lobby. They were extremely cheap, but pretty decent quality and I can definitely see myself using them again in the future because of how inexpensive they were. To achieve the striped look, I first removed the glass and backing from the frames and used masking tape to tape off 5 stripes across the frame. I just used 5 large strips of tape so that the stripes turned out pretty much even without having to measure. I started with the middle one and worked outward, which seemed to be the easiest way for me to get the even spacing between the stripes. You could also tape off all 4 sides to get an even stripier (is that a word?) look :) 

After taping everything off, I brought the frames outside and used some Krylon indoor/outdoor spray paint on them. The blue color that I used is called "Blue Ocean Breeze" and is the gloss variety. I just gave them one quick coat and then left them outside to dry for about 10-15 minutes. After they were dried, I peeled the tape off, revealing the pretty new stripes! Then, to get the worn look, I used large grit sand paper to kinda sand down the entire frame, which allowed some of the wood to show through the paint. 

I originally planned on just putting photos in all the frames and not using any matting, however, after looking at several places that print photos, I could not find 10x13 prints available anywhere. And I already had a beautifully painted and striped 10x13 frame! Big bummer huh? Well, it actually ended up being a good thing because I love how to burlap matting that I made turned out! To make the burlap mat, I first went to Hobby Lobby and had a custom paper mat cut with a 10x13 outside and a 7.5x9.5 inside to hold a 8x10 photo that I had printed. Then, using some burlap that I had sitting around the apartment, I cut a rectangle just a little bigger than the 10x13 mat. I placed the paper mat on top of the cut burlap and traced an X with a marker across the corners of the mat onto the burlap so that I could create triangular "flaps" of burlap to tuck and glue around the mat. Then I just hot glued the flaps and the excess around the edges onto the back of the matting, creating the custom burlap matting.

Because I don't have picture of this process (I wasn't in the blogging mindset at the time and didn't think to take "process" photos), I will post the link to another blog that shows how to do this. When I had the idea to do a burlap mat, I was having a hard time trying to figure out how to make it work so I found this blog post from That Mommy Blog while searching. It turned out being really helpful and working really well.

Also, as some of you may remember, the three smaller 4x6 frames in the gallery wall started out as unfinished wood frames found at Michaels and then were painted the pretty blue and green colors that they are now. This was a really easy process, but I'll just quick go over how I did it. First, I sanded the frames down with fine grit sand paper to make them smoother - they were a little rougher than I wanted when I bought them unfinished so this did the trick. The paint also sticks better when the wood is smooth. After this, I removed the glass and backing just like I did with the other frames and took them outside to spray paint again. Unfortunately, I can't find my cans of spray paint that I used on these frames, but after searching on the Krylon website, I believe the blue was called "Bahama Sea" and the green was called "Ivy Leaf". They both match my pillows perfectly so I was really happy with the final product. I did not sand these down at all because I thought they looked good without it, but you definitely could to get a more worn look like the other frames.

The only other thing that I added a little detail to was the keys that I found in the dollar section at Michaels. I thought about just hanging them on nails and keeping them plain, but when I bought them they originally came hanging on colored ribbons and I liked that idea. Unfortunately, the ribbon colors weren't right. I also wanted something a little more "rustic" looking than ribbon to kinda match the burlap from the mat. I rummaged through my supplies, and found some jute that worked perfectly. I just kinda freehanded the lengths when cutting the jute and tied them through the keys and into a knot to hang from - they turned out looking great!

Finally, the hard part - hanging everything! This was a bit of a pain in the butt, but after a few misplaced nails that were easily corrected and hidden, we had our finished product ;) We used thin 1'' nails to hang everything, and nothing was heavy enough to require any extra reinforcement. They just nailed easily into the drywall and are definitely strong enough to hold everything without any problems. Obviously if I had been using something heavy like a mirror, I may have had to rethink that, but it worked for everything I had. I nailed some sawtooth hangers into the backs of all the frames that did not already have hanging equipment and the keys and stars literally just loop around the nails and hang without needing anything else.

The trickiest part was actually getting everything to transfer onto the wall exactly like I had it laid out on the floor. For our arrangement, we thought it would be easiest to start with the HOME sign and work from there since it was the one piece that was centered in the arrangement. We centered it above the couch and kinda just worked from there. We didn't really measure at all, but this definitely took two people. Eric held each piece up and positioned it on the wall before pounding the nails, and I stood back and looked at the full picture from afar to make sure everything looked right. Once I thought it looked okay, we went ahead and pounded our nails in. This worked really well for us. Like I said, we did make a few mistakes and I ended up not liking exactly how something was placed and had Eric move it a little, but the finished project looks great! At least I think so ;) 

So I have one more little thing I have to admit before this blog post can be complete. I am ashamed to say it, but I'm pretty sure my frames sat empty on the wall for at least 2-3 months before this gallery wall was finally complete. It took me forever to decide on which photos I wanted to put in them, but I still had wanted to hang everything on the wall so that it would be ready when I finally printed the photos. And when I say they sat empty, well, actually they weren't quite empty - they still had the pictures in them that came with them when I bought the frames from Hobby Lobby. By the end of the couple of months that they hung there, we claimed to have a new friend to everyone who visited the apartment - he was a big black hipster man with an afro whose photo resided in the big navy frame. There was also a father throwing his lovely daughter up into the air that I occasionally claimed was me when I was young. Haha - that's pretty sad huh? ;) I can't believe I'm admitting this. Anyways...

What do you think? Do you like the gallery wall? Please leave a comment and let me know! Also feel free to ask any questions. I tried to be thorough, but I may have missed something so ask away! 


  1. Love the gallery wall! I'm enjoying reading your blog with every update! I hope to make some of your projects my own in a new house someday! Thanks for tackling the blog world.

  2. Thank you Kristen! I really really appreciate the positive feedback. And thank you for subscribing to the blog too - you were the official first follower of the Weathered Willow! ;)