Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Kids' Art Wall

I've been wanting to turn one of the walls in our upstairs landing into a wall for the kids' artwork for several months now. The kids' bedrooms and the playroom are all upstairs, so I really want it to feel bright, cheery, fresh and youthful up there. But ever since we moved into the house almost four years ago, on the main wall in the upstairs landing lived this painting:

which has a decidedly "Grandmother's Attic" feel to it. We bought it when we were selling our old house and needed something big and generic (i.e., mildly pleasing to the greatest number of potential buyers, but passionately adored by no one) to fill a large wall in our bedroom. I never liked walking upstairs and seeing it, as it is not remotely "bright, fresh, cheery or youthful. {Incidentally, while it is still none of those things, I moved it into our living room/library, and actually like it much better there.}

Anyway, I got the idea to do a gallery wall up there months ago when I saw this post on one of my favorite blogs. I love gallery walls in general (we have a wall of black & white photos in our den) and LOVED the white frames they used in their hallway. I thought that filling that wall with white frames would improve the landing's current dreariness. We are loaded with not-currently-being-used frames around here, so I painted some of them white, and added a few cheapo ($5!) frames from Michael's to round it out.

In terms of what to put in the frames, the kids' artwork was the obvious choice to me, because (1) they have a whole lot of it, and (2) we never really had a good spot to display it. Plus, what is cheerier and more youthful than kids' art?

I scoured the web looking for ideas for kids' art walls, and pinned them with abandon over at my new obsession, Pinterest. I loved the way that this one just stuck some of the art right to the wall in between the frames. I loved the chalkboard wall underneath this one and for a millisecond considered trying that. I totally drooled over this one, but was certain that I lacked the talent needed to come even close to pulling this off.

I started off by using newspapers as rough templates to figure out where I wanted the frames to go:

But in the end I pretty much ended up winging it. And I have the extra holes in my wall to prove it. In the end, I ended up with this:

I hung the frames a little bit wider apart than I often do with frame walls, because I wanted room for smaller pieces and "fillers" (think pipe cleaner caterpillars or popsicle stick snowflakes). I picked up a few 6x6 canvases ($2 each on sale at Hobby Lobby!) and commissioned a few handprint paintings to fill in a few of the gaps for now:

I took the glass out of several of the frames and backed them with white foam board to serve as "mats." This makes it REALLY easy to swap out the art. For the frames without glass, I just used painter's tape on the back of the pictures to stick them onto the foam board.

I also stuck a few of the masterpieces (Cat in the Hat, Yellow Bird and Balloon) directly onto the wall using painter's tape, a la my first inspiration wall.

I love this wall, and the creativity, imagination and fun that inspired it. It makes me happy every time I walk upstairs. I can't wait to see how their art changes along the way.


Amanda said...


Mom to 3 C's said...

Wow, I love this!

Heather said...

i love it! I am curious, where did you get the white frames? believe it or not, I am having a hard time finding white frames bigger than 5x7. thanks!

Brooke said...

Very Cute!!

Cathy said...

Hey Heather! A couple of the frames were black frames that I already had and just painted white. Then I found a few new white frames at Michael's. I forget the brand, but the bigger ones are 10x13 overall (matted for an 8x10, if you leave the mat in) and Michael's regularly marks them down to $4.99. I got a few smaller white ones in the same brand (8x10 matted to 5x7, also regularly marked down to $4.99). They also come in even larger sizes (16x20, I think) which I think run at about $12.99 when on sale. Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

Love this! Gonna pin it!

elegraph said...

Thanks so much for posting - I have an idea for a gallery wall for my son's art but needed a super-simple way to swap out art as necessary. I've tried my hand at making my own cork board and I didn't really care for the results. Foam board + painter's tape = genius.