Friday, October 12, 2012

On my first BIG decorating project: The Gallery Wall.

I'm interrupting my Scotland recaps for a bit because...well, because I can! And I have other things in life to talk about besides my trip to Scotland, believe it or not. But I'll resume really soon, promise!


I've FINALLY finished the gallery wall for our bedroom. The first spark of an idea happened over a year ago, when I crafted some of my very first Pinterest-inspired artwork:

I made these two melted-crayon pieces on 12x12 canvases, stuck them up on the bare wall above our bed, and thought, "Geez, they look so lonely up there." At the time, Joe and I were just beginning to plan our trip to Scotland, and he suggested we would probably have a great photo that we could blow up onto a gigantic canvas, and it would match the green-and-brown color scheme we had chosen for our room. Then I could scatter the crayon pieces on the adjacent (smaller) wall where I had already hung a couple small shelves with some various decorations.

When we came home from Scotland and I began browsing through my photos to see if there were any that might fit the bill, I realized there were a lot MORE than two or three photos that fit the color scheme, and they ALL needed to live on my bedroom wall! I started seeing gallery layouts in my sleep. I had a fleeting thought to send the photos off to Costco to have them printed up on canvases, but then I was like, "Wait a minute. I can do that myself for less money and WAY more fun."

And it was extremely fun. But also a LOT of work, and a little bit of frustration toward the end. Still, it was so worth it, because I am thrilled with the end result. I'm going to show you the whole thing first and then we can talk details on how it all came together.


So yeah, it looks pretty fantastic, right?

Well. There was a minute when I thought it was gonna be a complete disaster. But I'll get to that.

I used a couple different Pinterest ideas for the artwork. This one, where you basically glue an actual photo onto the canvas, was easy and fun, although time-consuming.

I saw a couple different methods for making your own photo-on-canvas, but this one seemed like the easiest, and I liked the sponged-on paint border for an added effect. I also followed her idea to use scrapbook paper on the short edges of the canvas.

Sponge-painted border detail
Scrapbook paper edges

In retrospect, it would've been much easier to just paint the edges the same color as I used for the sponge border, but I do like the scrapbook paper I used, and I feel like it brought everything together  nicely. The only other thing I would've done differently on these photo canvases is using a foam roller to apply the Mod Podge over the top. It would've been WAY faster, and the texture would be a little better than the stripes that subtly come through with the brush I used. (You can really only see this if you are standing right in front of the artwork, which requires standing on my bed, so...yeah. Don't stand on my bed, weirdo!)

The other Pinterest inspiration was transferring a photo onto wood, and I honestly didn't think it would be as easy or AWESOME as it was. Here's the original pin:

Source: via Tabitha on Pinterest

Man oh man, this was SO easy! I think using black-and-white photos might be a little more forgiving than using color (which I did), or maybe I just need to perfect my method. My two wood pieces are not perfect, but I think that's part of what makes them so wonderful. (I also made a few wood pieces for my mother-in-law, but I never took photos of them.)

I knew this photo would be just right for the rustic-looking wood (both pieces found at Michael's). It's hundreds of years old, so the wood gives it that antiqued, historic look, don't you think?

This one was a little iffy, because I wasn't sure how well the blue sky would transfer onto a yellowish-tan background. (I also didn't seal the photo on very well in the dead center, which is where you see a little green blob if you look closely. The picture actually rubbed completely off in that spot, so I had to grab some green Sharpie pens to fill it in and make it less noticeable.) I still love how it turned out, though.

So let's talk about how I set out to plan the layout and get these up on the wall. I saw an idea on Pinterest that had to do with using wax paper to trace the frames and mark the nail holes, but it wasn't until after my little SNAFU that I revisited the pin and saw what I did wrong(ish).

The pin (above) instructs you to lay out the frames/pieces however you want them, then flip the pieces over to show the backs. Then you place wax paper (taped together to cover the whole area) over the whole thing, trace the frames and mark the spots for the nail/hanging apparatus.

Well, here's what I did.

I laid all my pieces out on TOP of the wax paper, traced their outlines, and then painstakingly measured the back of each piece to see how far across the width and down the height the nails needed to be placed. And since I didn't really take into account the fact that my outlines were not exactly the same size as the pieces themselves, things didn't end up lining up so perfectly.

So I got the wax paper up on the wall and began nailing holes into the wall.

And several pieces were just NOT in the right place. I was pretty furious for a minute (especially since I started hammering on Monday morning before work, so I had to admit temporary defeat and spend the day stewing in frustration at work). But luckily, things were lined up closely enough that I was able to adjust a few pieces, hammer a few more holes, and everything turned out to be okay!

This is probably my favorite photo of the bunch. My triumphant husband! :-)

Oh, and here's a terrible shot of the adjacent wall where I have a few more green-and-brown things hung (and where I was originally thinking of putting the first two crayon pieces if I found one giant picture to put on canvas for above the bed).

See the round piece underneath "love"? That's yet another Pinterest-inspired craft. I used scrapbook letter stickers to write "Always be joyful." (1 Thessalonians 5:16), then painted over it with acrylic paint, and gently peeled off the letters. Then I hot-glued a few little brown flowers onto it for an added touch.

Here it is before the flowers went on. (Again, I forgot to take a picture of the final product. Maybe I'll add it here later.)

So, we finally have a bedroom that looks a little bit more lived-in (aside from, you know, the mound of clothes on the floor most days)! I am so excited that this project turned out so well, despite a few little bumps along the way.



  1. wow tabitha you have been busy!! i love the crayon art and always have to have a way to remember a major trip which was to scotland!

  2. Awesome work, Tabitha! Love it!

  3. I totally would have made the same mistake with the wax paper. I always seem to find the hardest way to do something. But the end result looks amazing!

    1. Glad I'm not the only one who would make more work for herself. :-P Thanks!!


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