Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Finally! My Very Own Gallery Wall.

I spend a lot of time in my living room.  Especially this winter, with the crazy weather we've had...the couch, a quilt, and Netflix have become dear, dear friends of mine.  When I spend a lot of time in one room, my DIY wheels start turning and churning on what I can do to make it better.  Couple that with a trip to Europe and some fantastic art finds, and you're looking at a girl who wanted to create a super amazing gallery wall above her couch.

Yes siree bob, I caught the gallery wall bug.  For months, I've been typing in "gallery walls" into the Pinterest search box just to sigh and yearn over the beautiful walls pictured, hoping for one of my own.  You know what those sites don't tell you about gallery walls, though?  Unless you've got some serious DIY to do, they are E.X.P.E.N.S.I.V.E.  You really need a lot of art to occupy even a smallish wall if you want to have any type of dramatic impact.

You, dear readers, all know by this point that I'm going to create a gallery wall if I decide that I want one.  And I wanted one.  I won't make you read through my step by step process before showing you the finished product.  I'm too excited to wait.  Here it is!!!



WOW, right?  I'm so in love.  I keep standing in the doorway to the living room, just sighing with love.  If I could hug this wall, I would.  Yay!!

Ok, now for the deets.  Here's how I got this party started:

First, I gathered all of the art I was going to put on the wall.  Several pieces were ones I had just bought at a small antique book/map shop while in Amsterdam.  I had them framed, knowing they would be hung together on my living room wall.  I decided not to frame them in the same frames, as I wanted a look that said, "I've been gathered lovingly over time".  So, I chose frames and mats that complimented each other without matching each other.  

Once I got these home, I began the hunt for other pieces to include on the wall.  I pilfered a piece from the dining room, and replaced it with a new piece of art that deserved its own spot not on the gallery wall.  I also printed off a few snapshots from our travels to Napa Valley and South Korea, and chose one that complimented the rest of the art once it was all grouped together.  I had a plain wooden frame in the basement that got a quick coat of gold paint, and it was ready to go.

Painted gold with charcoal grey underneath.
Pretty much the same process that I did for my travel boxes.

At this point, I only had 6 pieces- I still needed more art.  Off to JoAnn's I went.  Not to buy ready-art, but to buy some canvasses.  All canvasses were already 50% off, and coupled with my 20% off the total coupon, AND the $20 discount I asked for because one canvas was slightly frayed on the edge- I got three deep mount canvasses for less than $20.  The 2'X3' canvas alone was $60 full price!  I don't play when it comes to craft discounts- that's serious business.

Never hurts to ask for a discount!  The most they'll do is say no!

Now, OF COURSE I already had acrylic paints at home- what DIY'er doesn't?  Using a few online pieces as inspiration, I got to work.  At this point, I am willing to straight up admit that I did not just dream up these pieces of art.  I'm creative, but sometimes starting a whole art piece from scratch is too tedious, even for me. There's sketches that have to be done, mock-ups, etc.  I just don't have time for that.  I was on a gallery wall mission. So, I used my inspiration pieces, my paints, and got to work on those canvasses.


And layers...

And layers.  Here's where I put down the camera and really got to work.
No more pictures til the finished product.

Sorry, no step by step DIY instructions for this.  If you want some, go to a Painting with a Twist or Paint Party event. They'll let you sip wine and paint a canvas in the adult version of paint by numbers.  This isn't that:)

While my canvasses were in the process of being painted, I began to lay out my frames to see where I wanted them to be hung.  Before doing this, I measured the wall space that they would fill.  Several sites told me that nothing should be hung less than 10" from the top of the couch, so that was my starting point.

In order to keep my frames out of harm's/feets way, I used what little floor space I had in the guest room to lay out my pattern.  I used a few stand-ins for my big canvas, and began moving things around.  It probably took me two hours of moving pieces, walking away, coming back into the room with fresh eyes, moving things around again, etc, before I got everything where I thought I wanted it. 

Now, I needed a way to transfer this jigsaw puzzle of frames onto the wall.  I took a shower curtain and put it under the frames (with some cutting and taping to adjust it to the right gallery wall size).

Frames with a few stand-ins for sizing.

Next, I took a black marker, and traced the outline of each piece onto the plastic, and then hung the plastic on the wall with painters tape.

Be CAREFUL...don't get that marker on the frames!!
If you're wondering, this piece is a child's textbook map insert from Holland.
 It shows, in small picture form, the natural resources of the country:)

Using the black outlines as a guide, I was then able to make nailholes in the appropriate spots in order to hang each piece with minimal fuss.  Even with this step, I still ended up making one or two small changes once everything was up on the wall.  The plastic and outline tarp definitely made things MUCH easier, though.

Can you (barely) see those outlines?

So, here's my wall again.  Isn't it lovely??  I just can't stop staring at it.

Margot is becoming quite the little camera diva.

Sending a special shoutout to my "took five minutes to paint this" canvas of the Detroit skyline!

All of this art were less than $100 total.  The framing I didn't DIY?
Shh...we won't talk about that, alright?  My love for oddly sized pieces apparently knows no bounds.
A little lamp light romantic glow for you...I'm going to go blind from reading in this room in low light!

This is becoming a bad habit to leave you with a picture of Margot, but I'm going to do it anyway...she's my fur baby and I love her!  While she may appear to be giving you, dear readers, a disapproving look, she's actually beaming inside with pride for having had her picture taken in front of such a pretty gallery wall.  Seriously.

Yep, that's a piece of rawhide stuck on her nose.  Not classy, Margot, not classy.