The latest project to get ticked off the list in our pad has been to finally get some art up on the walls in our master bedroom. And you guys? Not only do I have some tips for how to hang a gallery wall, but I also have THE BEST tip for getting super bright white DIY photo mats for IKEA (and non-IKEA) picture frames… with no fancy mat cutting or pricey materials!
Keep reading, you don’t wanna miss this one.
DIY Photo Mats
Let’s rewind for a sec. Here’s a reminder of how the room looked after we had painted it a soft green gray and added in bedding…
And the opposite wall, which had a whole lot of nothing going on.
We had those old white dressers as a stand-in, but I found a thrifted dresser that was a better fit and for the space. More info on that find in a future post!
Back to the artwork.
I had hummed and hawed about hanging either just a few really large statement art pieces here or doing a gallery wall. I ended up going with gallery wall, as we had a lot of smaller frames already on hand.
My tried and true method for hanging a gallery wall?
1 // Cut out some sheets of wrapping paper to the size of each of your frames, or use the sheets from within the frames if you have them.
2 // If you already have the artwork you’re going to use, write down a quick description on each cut-out sheet of paper so that you make sure you don’t have too much of one thing too close together. For example – when doing a mixture of art prints and photos, you want to make sure that they are spread out appropriately and not all the photos on one side, or all the black and white things clumped together.
3 // Hang up each sheet with painter’s tape on the wall, continually stepping back and re-assessing and adjusting as you go, until you eventually get the layout you want.
4 // Once you have the layout, simply take down each sheet one at a time as you hang the frames up on the wall.
How to Choose Artwork:
You can go in tons of different directions for a gallery wall.
For this particular one, I wanted to do a mixture of art pieces and photographs. I have been swooning over so many of Minted‘s pieces lately and knew I wanted to incorporate some of them. Have you guys browsed Minted before? Warning – you will get lost in there for WAY too long. So much gorgeous work, it’s crazytown.
I chose several pieces in a few different sizes —
And now for the BEST trick for budget-friendly, bright white DIY photo mats?
Are you ready to have your mind blown?
If you’ve ever used the IKEA Ribba frames, you’ll know that the mats are more of a cream than a pure white. It drives me caaa-razy. Especially when the mat doesn’t match the bright white of the frame. HELLO! Match your whites, dawgs!!
In addition to that issue, I was also working with some art sizes that didn’t actually fit the mats – they were square, or just off the usual size – AND mixing in some vintage frames which didn’t have any mats at all. So I needed some way of getting all matching mats in a bunch of sizes.
White bristol board.
Yep, the same stuff you used for your projects in elementary school. The stuff you get from the dollar store. GOLD MINE.
I grabbed a stack of pieces from the Dollarama and brought them home.
Tip: Be sure to go through them to make sure you are getting pieces with no marks or bends.
Then it’s just a matter of cutting the bristol board to fit the frame. Take the frame apart and use it’s existing mat as a tracing guide. Then, instead of cutting any additional hole for the art piece to sit behind, I just use double-sided tape to stick down my art piece right onto the bristol board itself (centered, obviously). Once it’s framed, you really have no idea that it’s sitting above the white mat instead of behind.
The result? A gallery wall with matching, bright white mats. All for less than $10. Halle-frigging-lullah.
Need more artwork ideas?
Here is my DIY abstract canvas. I get compliments on this beauty ALL.THE.TIME.
I’m also obsessed with engineer prints.
And I have rounded up some of the BEST original art on Etsy that is all under $100.
I’m also over on Pinterest constantly pinning DIY artwork ideas… join me over there!
Have you guys been hanging any artwork around your house lately? Ever done a gallery wall? Have any tricks and tips to share?