Friday, January 4, 2013

A Blank Slate

We moved into our house a year and a half ago. Since then, I've been staring at this blank wall pondering what to do with it.


I knew I wanted to fill it with photos.....photos of my family, photos of my everyday, photos of my experiences. But the exact "how" was where I was struggling. I thought about filling the wall with nothing but square instagram photos. I thought about making a collage of frames of all different colors and sizes. I thought about creating 2 or 3 row of exactly the same size and color frames but varying the photos inside. I thought about creating a wall of canvases. But with all the photos I have from 2012 alone, I needed something more.

So after months of thinking and pondering and a little more thinking, I finally decided to take the plunge and go in a different direction.

I built three large black frames, backed them with burlap and will be filling them with all the photos I love. The project took me several days to finish, but mainly because I had lots of other things to accomplish in the same time frame. But if I had the uninterrupted time, I probably could have completed it in a day or two. And here's how I got from start to finish:


I decided to make the frames 72 inches by 40 inches. I purchased 6 - 10 foot, 1"x4" MDF pre-primed boards. I was able to get one 6 foot piece and another 40 inch piece out of one 10 foot board, so I used 2 boards for each frame. 

  1. I made 45 degree cuts in all the boards. Although my husband owns a skill saw, he does not have the set up to make 45 degree cuts, so I had to purchase a miter box and my husband graciously agreed to cut all the boards by hand for me! 
  2. Once all the pieces were cut, I painted them. I used rustoleum oil rubbed bronze spray paint. I find that spray paint gives a much more even and smooth coverage than a paint brush or roller.  I went through about 3 cans of paint to sufficiently cover the tops and sides of the boards. 
  3. After the paint had dried (and do make sure that you are painting in temperatures that are >50 degrees F, otherwise the paint does not dry), I went about assembling the frames. First I glued the boards together at their 45 degree angles. Do this with the painted sides lying face down. Once the glue was completely dry, I attached L brackets to each of the corners. If I had a nail gun, I would have also nailed the pieces together from the tops and the sides to give the frame more stability. 
  4. Next I laid out the burlap over the frame and cut it to size. At this point, it's fine to do a rough measurement and allow a bit more than necessary as you can trim it later. 
  5. Once the burlap had been cut, I then hot glued it in place. I ran a strip of hot glue about an inch from the inside edge of the frame. The first two sides I glued, I just glued them as is, but on the second two sides, I made sure to pull the burlap tightly before gluing it in place. I then trimmed any of the excess burlap.
  6. After the glue dried, I flipped the frame over and began placing my photos. Although the photos were randomly placed, I did want them to be neat, orderly and evenly spaced. I used small foam mounting squares to attach the photos to the burlap (the kind you can find in scrapbooking stores). 
  7. I then attached the hanging hardware to the back of the frame. 
  8. The final step was to hang the frames on the wall, which my husband graciously agreed to helped me with again! 


The final product! I think they turned out great and can't wait to fill in the other two frames.






I hope this little DIY project inspired you to try to something new and then share some photos in our flickr gallery! 








20 comments:

alajamie said...

Wonderful Idea!!! You have inspired me for a similar space.

Carol said...

So creative, and so cleanly done. Without the perfect spacing and care you took, this could look a mess - but I feel like it looks besutifully " high end". I can only imagine being your guest and spending the evening looking at all those wonderful photos! Such a great way to display your work and your family's heart!

heyjudephotography said...

These are wonderful! When you have all three finished all of your guests will spend their whole time there browsing through your photos! I know I would! As I read your DIY I couldn't wait to scroll to the end to see the finished product. You did a great job - and as Carol said, the neat, organized design looks very nice. Thanks for sharing Stephanie!

kelly said...

holy cow this is so awesome! such a great idea. love the overall design and the burlap background. plus it's so great that you'll be able to switch out photos if you want. so, so great! thanks for sharing!!

Kate said...

Great project and result, but I'm afraid you're far too crafty for me. I'm lucky if I can get a photo in a frame straight! ; )

Dotti said...

FAB-U-LOUS!!!! Love this idea, Stephanie, and you did such a professional job with it. I love that you left yourself room to grow more photos ... that might be the best part. I'm always conniving for more display space so now you've got me thinking how I can clear a wall (after 28 years there are no blank slates around here, I'm afraid!) and do something similar. Well done, my friend ... and a terrific inspiration for all of us. Thanks for sharing.

Deanna said...

Oh wow, Stephanie...I am indeed impressed, not only with the final result but with your skills and foresight. Like Dotti, I wish I had a spare wall or two to indulge myself with a wonderful project like this, but alas no walls are left. Hmm, maybe I could just take some things down. Great project!! And thanks for sharing the step by step!!

LeanneS said...

Stephanie-such a great idea with a fantastic result! It's nice that you can continue to change out the photos! You are an inspiration!

terriporter said...

Oh, yippie, now I know what to do with the blank wall I have! This is perfect because, unlike individual frames, it will be easy to change out photos as you want to. Such a wonderful conversation piece for people as they enter your home. Like Judy, I kept wanting to scroll to the end to see the finished product! And I agree with Judy -- I wouldn't leave your front entry hall until I had seen each and every photo. You have inspired us all with this, my friend!

Elisa said...

this is fabulous! What a great use of space, and an even better way to display your treasured photos! I wish I could stand there and look at them! :)

AFishGirl said...

You are simply a marvel! What an amazing creation. Uber cool, uber cool.

Cathy H. said...

All I can say is "WOW!!" This is a wonderful idea for your wall space!! I would love to be standing there looking at your pictures!

Corinna said...

Beautiful idea Stephanie, and so perfectly done. As Terri mentioned, I did not want to leave your front entry hall until I had seen each and every photo!!! Such a great inspiration!

Kim Stevens said...

What a great post and idea Stephanie! And how much fun and anticipation filling up the other two. But you might want to put a bench or chair or something there, you many not get your guests past the hallway! haha :)

Viv (modifica) said...

A fantastic project and it looks so good ....

Leigh said...

Such a great idea Steph! Can I pay you to make me some? ha ha!

Angela said...

Great inspiration! Sometimes I have to let those ideas stew for awhile until I come up with the thing that clicks.

Roxi -Coppercurls Designs said...

Superb idea. Your wall looks great!

Claudia@DipityRoad said...

Look at you being so DIY :) I love, like all the others, the look and sleekness of it.

Your family will have such a great time reminising through the year! Grand idea!!!

Diane said...

I really love what you did. And I love that it allows you to display a myriad of photos that delight you, including those of your family. Great idea and it looks fantastic. I bet when guests come over they want to hang out a bit and go over the photos. I sure would.

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