Gallery Wall – How To Start (And Finish) Your Own!

Gallery Wall – How To Start (And Finish) Your Own!

Like an impatient child, I’ve been looking forward to the end of this school year for many reasons: beginning of vacation, relaxed schedules and so much more. But there is one reason that I bet you would never think of.  And that is that the artwork done at school throughout the year is FINALLY coming home, so I can finish decorating my long empty hallway!

This is what the hallway has looked like since we moved into the house.

Long Hallway

On my fourth grader’s classroom walls, I saw some pretty amazing art pieces.  Most are the outcome of studying and reproducing famous artists paintings which look absolutely amazing! It’s been a while since my nine year old has been in the mood for drawing at home. But thankfully, the art lessons done in school, along with the volunteer class-mom and the help of many other parents (tight school budgets in California!) gave our children the opportunity to create and express their artistic talents.

Although my wall gallery was completed in just one afternoon, it took me some time to gather everything I needed.  For the last months I’ve been buying frames of all shapes and sizes in order to have enough to fill one of the three parts of this long, long hallway.

All the frames (and their content) that I bought were bargains ranging from almost free to maximum $10 each except for one:  this silkscreen from a famous Greek painter, George Stathopoulos, with his original signature on it.  It was professionally framed and given to me years ago. So I used this one as the focal point of my wall gallery.  With some bronze craft paint I retouched the frame that used to be black and gold.

George Stathopoulos - My Dear Irene

To give warmth to the empty, cold space, I added many more frames around it.

This big and modern frame was the most expensive of all. I paid $10 for it and $5 for the smaller matching one. They are from Marshalls and were full of scratches, but I liked how deep and thick the frames were.  With a bit of sanding and a coat of satin white spray paint they both look brand new. The large one hosts an orange and green flower inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe, while the smaller one holds a poem written this year in school titled “The Life of the Color Black”.

Marshall's Frames

All four of these simple but classic frames were from Pottery Barn, on sale for less than $5 each. The mat alone would cost more to buy separately.  They, too, were also scratched but spray paint acts like magic! I still see them selling at Pottery Barn for about $30 each, so I got quite a deal! The black and white prints are cut out from a book about human anatomy for artists.  I buy good quality books at yard sales, my local library sale, and even Barnes & Noble in early January where expensive illustrated books can go for as low as $4.

Group Of Pottery Barn Frames - My Dear Irene

More of my son’s art pieces fill these totally inexpensive Goodwill frames which were originally a dark brown color. Even though they were brand new and still covered in their plastic wrap, they were only about $2.50 each. This one hosts a piece of art inspired by Victor Vasarely.

Victor Vasarely - My Dear Irene

And these three cupcakes (yes, these are cupcakes!) are modeled after Wayne Thiebaud’s colorful work.

Wayne Thiebaud - My Dear Irene

This one is another Goodwill purchase, a little more expensive for $6.50. This is what it looked when I bought it.Angels - My Dear Irene

I totally discarded the angel picture that came with it, but kept the mat which I might paint a nicer color and use in the future. I decided to leave this one empty as I felt it was a good transition from the black and white prints to the color one. Hanging it vertically worked better than horizontally.

Frame Empty - My Dear Irene

This is a frame that we’ve had forever.  It used to be white and gold and I just painted its exterior white and spray painted the whole glass with Mirror Like Paint that I had leftover from my Mirror Mat Frame DIY project.  I then added some re-positionable/re-usable letters to form the French quote “A QUATRE EPINGLES”.  My mom often uses this expression when referring to someone who’s dressed in a tailored, impeccable manner. It literally translates to “at four pins” and has the same meaning as the English idiom “to be dressed up to the nines”. The mirror paint works so well that you can actually see the reflection of the closet that is opposite to the wall.

A Quatre Epingles - My Dear Irene

And finally, this was the only frame that was hung in our previous home. I bought it for a few cents from a Connecticut yard sale.  It’s from my daughter’s high school newspaper where her name appears as the Webmaster of the school’s online newspaper. Her experience with websites was what made her set up Once Again, My Dear Irene for me, and I will always be so thankful to her for spending so much time and effort!

Webmaster - My Dear Irene

 Here are a couple of more tips:

(a) I decided on the color white for the frames to keep a uniform look. It is the color of the frames that ties together all the different shapes. Modern and classic frames, real artists’ and kids’ work as well as a mix of various prints, all go so well together!

(b) I first laid down all the frames under the wall and moved them around to figure out how I liked them best. I then took a photo with my phone to remember the distances and heights between them. I made a couple of small modifications as I was hanging them but overall the original layout is there.

Photo - My Dear Irene

(c) Since I had to take apart most of the frames, I figured it was a good opportunity to also clean the glass. To get it nice and sparkly, I washed it with a sponge and dish soap.  It works so much better than using a glass cleaner!

(d) Even if a hole is placed incorrectly on the wall, no worries!  Follow my instructions for Spotless Walls to easily fix the mistake!

This is my new hallway and it’ s now a nice and happy place to walk through.  It definitely needs a long piece of furniture to go under my wall gallery but since this house is a rental, it will have to be something almost free!

Wall Gallery After - My Dear Irene

 Is there a wall in your home that you can fill with some pretty frames, too?

Live Your Home - My Dear Irene


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Hi! I'm Angelica! For the last ten years I've been sharing my cooking, home projects and ideas with my sister Irene. "Once Again, My Dear Irene" is just an extension of our daily chats. Moreover "My Dear Irene" Continue Reading