Friday, May 21, 2010

Art Wall Tips

Thank you all for the kind words you left about my kids’ play room!  They were so wonderful to read!

As I mentioned in that post, I stepped outside of the box (for me) and decided to behave like a grown up and actually do some preparation when hanging the frames for my kids’ art wall.


This is a big deal for me.  “Preparation” is a dirty word in my book.  “That’s not my bag, baby.”  And that’s why my husband was surprised when I used a level on our kitchen wall vinyl and why I don’t tape when I paint (heck, I don’t even change my clothes when I paint).

But, I’ve been trying really hard lately to do a little prep before I jump in with both feet in the hopes that it will make my projects go smoother (or at least have even better results).  It’s hard for me.  Very hard.

So, you know it must be good when I say that making templates for your wall gallery is worth the time and effort. 


The day I finally decided to do work on this wall, I ran to my local Goodwill and got as many frames as I could find for under $2.00.  Then I ran home and painted them as fast as I could.  (On a side note, I swear I must be the worst spray painter of all time.  I have no patience (see above) and I end up getting my coats too thick and then I get runs and blotches and such.  But, “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful” as the Nester says, which very nicely sums up my philosophy on projects, so onward!)

Once they were painted, I traced each frame onto butcher paper and cut out the template. 

  • Tip 1: I numbered each of the frames on the back and copied that number onto the templates so that once I had the best arrangement on the wall, I’d know which frame matched to which template.
  • Tip 2: I also marked on the templates where the nail would go for each frame.  If you’re using picture hooks, make sure you mark where you’ll actually put the nail, as opposed to where the bottom of the picture hook will sit.

My husband came home right about the time I was finishing the templates and was impressed with my forethought, though he did scoff just a little when I complained that it had taken me a whole HALF AN HOUR to do it.

Once I had the templates, I laid them out on the floor until I found a design I liked.  Then I taped them to the wall in that pattern.  It wasn’t quite right, so I moved the templates around until I found something that worked.

Then I got out my fine measurement tool (my cell phone – what?!) to make sure that the frames were evenly spaced (sort of).

Here’s what I ended up with:


I then stared at the wall for a day or so to make sure I was happy with the pattern.  When nothing was happening FOR A WHOLE DAY OR SO, I decided that it was good enough for who it’s for and started hanging the frames.

  • Tip 3: If you’re painting your frames, you might want to figure out some way to label which inserts go with which frames to make it easier to put them all back together again.  (I actually did think of this before I took the frames apart and decided to just stack the inserts in order of the frame numbers, but the stack fell over and my organization went kaput.)
  • Tip 4: Leave your paper templates up while you hang the frames so you can make sure that you hung the frames where you intended them to go.
  • Bonus Tip: If you have nail holes on your wall that you need to touch up, do that and re-paint BEFORE you put up your templates.  If you do it WHILE your templates are already hanging there, the paper may end up sticking to your wall in an unsightly manner.  (I’m just sayin’.)

I did have to move a few nails, but it was nothing compared to what the wall would have looked like had I gone with my instincts and just started putting frames up where I thought they should go.

And here’s how it ended up:


I’m quite pleased with it and I really think it brightens the room!

  • Tip 5: Start your kids on making artwork for this wall as soon as you start the project, so you don’t have to badger them for days after you’re done to give you something to hang.  (Or, you could actually go through all the artwork that is stored away and use it, but where’s the fun in that?)


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  1. I happened on your blog while leaving a comment at another. This is a great idea and I checked out your playroom too. Beautiful. You are so talented. I'm your newest fan and follower.

    alicia @ a beautiful mess

  2. Aw know I'm a sucker for kids art. This looks fabulous! Sorry to tell you that you can't be the worst spray painter because that title, my dear, has already been claimed by me. (Which is why I use craft paint and a I can do it on the table and it dries super quick.)

    (Did I just say "I can do it on the table??" PAINT is what I was referring to. I can paint on the table.)

    Wanna know a secret? I don't change my clothes when I paint either. Or put down a drop cloth. Or tape. Or anything else that "real" painters do.

    Thank you so much for your sweet award!

  3. Love, love this arrangement! I am just like you - I don't like to measure and I don't like to wait for the spray paint to properly dry. :)

    Your project turned out beautifully.

  4. This looks great. I'm thinking about doing the same thing in my little guy's room...thanks for the tips!


  5. What a fun, beautiful display. I love displaying my child's artwork too. They get so excited seeing it framed.

  6. Found this post on CSI (didn't see it when I was visiting earlier) and I love it! One of my very favorite things to display is my kids' artwork. This is such a cute wall!


  7. ADORABLE! We only have one child and the artwork can be overwhelming! Loving this!

  8. I think kids art is the best art a home can have hanging. Your project turned out great!

  9. This is darling! I've been looking for clever ways to display my girls' artwork. I have to hold my breath every time my 4-year-old get out the tape and starts plastering things up on the walls and doors - I'm so afraid I'll have to patch the paint! She would love a wall of frames to fill. Thanks for sharing!

  10. This looks so good! I've been meaning to do something similar, I just can't decide if I want to do it in the playroom or some other space. BTW, I really like the color of your walls!

  11. yay! These look great. My kids' art is sitting on the dining room table waiting for me to do SOMETHING with it.


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