Tuesday, 3 March 2015

DIY Fantastic: Gallery Wall

Gallery walls are EVERYWHERE! (My Pinterest account is the PROOF! It's littered with them!) Who doesn't have one?! ME! That is until now...

There are hundreds of great gallery wall DIYs out there, including this one from the magical Emily Henderson and this from the gorgeous Homey Oh My. So I am not going to repeat all their words of wisdom! But, since moving into our new pad, I have been hankering to start getting things up on the wall. Going from bare white walls to fun filled colourful walls makes a MASSIVE difference. I've worked out THE most cost effective, fun way to get stuff on the walls. This is find the frames FIRST and then fill them SECOND. May sound the wrong way round to most people, but this way I don't have to pay through the nose to get custom frames for my photos, instead I just print out my photos to fit the frames I've picked up. Let me tell you more...

I've spend months hoarding up photo frames from car boot sales, charity shops, sales...in fact ANYWHERE I could find them at reasonable prices. This is part of my hoard:

I don't think I've spend more than £8 on a single frame, and that particular one was HUUUUGE and already had a great useable mount inside, so it was basically a two-in-one. Bonza! Most of the frames I've picked up have been in the range of £3-5 each. I'm looking for style, size, character, sturdiness and anything with an acceptable mount included is a great bonus. Anything in oak or a lovely wooden finish is also high up my list, but I'm also open to pale or dark frames that just need a little lift to get them looking pristine again.

First up we took all our frames apart, decided on which needed a facelift and set to it with some high-gloss spray paint. We started with a satin finish, but unless they are going straight from floor to wall (and I mean STRAIGHT, with no loitering on the floor or kitchen table as you pick out photos etc!) then it's a high risk strategy. Our satin finishes didn't make the original cut and had to be re-sprayed with gloss.

Some went white.

Some went black.

And the rest stayed wood, gold, distressed etc.

To fill these we had been collecting photos, greetings cards, post cards, posters, prints...aka anything we actually like LOOKING at. Once they're up on your wall we'll be doing a lot of that! :) the Pinterest worthy gallery walls are mostly highbrow art and prints, but I love a mix of family photos and fun graphics. It keeps it interesting and meaningful to us and our visitors. I love to have pictures of friends and family up on the wall, they are the people you've made all your memories with and it's a lovely gesture to be able to show them how important they are to you. 

Here we started playing withe layout on the floor of the livingroom to pull together a suitable arrangement. It took a few goes until we were entirely happy with it. I scoured the house for a few extras to break it up a bit - the mirror and ampersand I found worked a treat! :)

We kept the boldest colours and biggest frames central (i.e. the blue mount and the black frame). We mirrored the gold frames and yellow prints evenly around the gallery. The non-frames we kept to the periphery to soften the edges. Did I just make that sounds like there was some method in the madness?! ;)

First one up, the 'anchor' at the bottom centre of the whole gallery. Then we simply worked outwards from there adding in all directions. We didn't measure, use templates or a spirit level, we just went for it. Crazy maybe, but we got it UP. BIG WIN! 

So there we have it, Granted it's not perfect, to make it more dynamic I'd like to add a few larger frames into the mix and a few more prints/graphics. But it is a great start and our first gallery wall, so I for one am celebrating! :) You can also see it in real life action here.

What's going up on your walls next? 

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