DIY Kids Art Gallery Wall

In February, P started at his current daycare. It is mostly a preschool, but provides child care for toddlers that are 18 months or older.

I don’t know if it’s because it’s a preschool, or if all daycares begin artwork at such a young age, but he started bringing home art. He brought home art every day, and he brought home a lot of it: coloring pages, paintings, pages with things pasted on them, and booklets that he had made (with help from his teacher).

Maybe it’s silly, but I couldn’t — and still can’t— bring myself to throw them away. I have given some to his grandparents, but other than that, I have every piece of art he has made at school.

I wanted a way to display them (or at least some of them) without sticking them all on the refrigerator, so I decided to make a gallery wall.

 

Materials Needed:

  • frames: I used five old stained wooden frames I found in my grandmother’s barn
  • sandpaper
  • damp cloth
  • paint: I used Martha Stewart multi-surface satin and glitter acrylic paints from Michael’s in various shades of aqua
  • paintbrushes (I used foam paintbrushes)
  • nails and a hammer
  • thumbtacks
  • jewelry making wire
  • 3M picture hanging strips
  • plastic sheeting to cover work surface
  • mini clothespins (I ordered mine from Amazon.com)
  • a wood “create” cutout in white from Michael’s (optional)

 

These are the steps I followed:

1. I sanded down the frames a little bit so that the paint would go on smoothly.


2. I wiped with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or dust from sanding.

3. I painted the frames. I didn’t prime before painting, but I did put on two coats of paint. I wanted to preserve the wood look and liked that the frames looked a little rustic. If you want a more polished look, you can use frames of different materials, prime first or apply additional coats of paint.

4. After the frames were dry, I applied two coats of the glitter paint.

5. I painted the “create” cutout. It took several very thick coats to achieve the look I wanted.

6. After the glitter paint and the “create” cutout were dry, I decided on the layout I wanted for the frames. I originally wanted to attach all five frames together, but I couldn’t decide on a layout that I liked that fit my space. I ended up attaching two frames for the top sections, leaving a single frame for the middle section, and attaching two frames for the bottom section. I attached the “create” cutout to the single frame in the middle.

7. After deciding on the layout, I attached the two top and two bottom frames to one another using nails.

8. Once the frames were attached how I wanted, I added the jewelry wire. I put thumbtacks on the back of the frame and attached the wire to both sides. On some of the frames, I added two strings of the wire so I could hang two tiers of art.

9. I hung the frames to the wall using 3M picture hanging strips. If you aren’t familiar with these, they are Velcro strips that attach to the wall and to the picture, then stick to each other to hold the picture in place on the wall. If you want to remove them, the adhesive comes off cleanly so no marks are left on the wall.

10. I painted the mini clothespins. This step was easiest when I poured some paint on a paper plate and just dipped the clothespin in the paint. I only painted one side.

11. After the clothespins dried, I attached the art to the wire in the frames.

Now I have a gallery wall for displaying P’s artwork that is easy to change out when he brings home a new favorite piece.

Once you have the basic concept for a gallery wall, you have so many options with frame type, size, color and texture and there a lots of options with the hanging wire, string and pins or clips.

It really could be customized to match any taste or home décor.

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