Monday, January 31, 2011

Empty Frame Gallery

Last week I shared my 10 Tips to a Perfect Empty Frame Gallery, and this week I want to show you mine. Are you ready?! I hope so, I love this!! Hope you like it too!




Almost a year ago I started collecting lots and lots of frames. I got some big and some small, some ornate and some basic, some wood and some metal. You get it, I wanted a variety. It took me over a year to get together a little collection from various thrift stores and garage sales and I just kept setting them all aside. (Which is also why I often start off a post saying, "I've had this frame for a while now, but I just finally...")


We got all of the frames together in the basement, and I started grabbing my favorites and laying them out to get a general idea of which frames would look good together and what groupings would work best.

We then primed and painted them. I was insistent on priming because I had several metal and plastic frames, and I wanted to be sure that the paint would stick. However, I was painting them a dark color, so the white peeking through ensured that the frames each needed 2 coats of color. Ugh. So many steps when I was just so anxious to get them on the wall!!


We took the painted frames upstairs and laid them out on the floor again. There were 2 gorgeous golden frames that I chose to leave as they were and went with a monochromatic color scheme for the rest.


When it came time to make the templates for each frame, I decided to use something that I had plenty of laying around - Christmas wrapping paper. It was so thin that it kept tearing as I cut it, so I switched to a thicker roll of brown shipping paper. Let me just say, DON'T DO THIS! Both types of paper immediately rolled up after they were cut, as pictured above. Trying to make paper lay flat on the walls that just wants to roll up is INCREDIBLY annoying, and it took several pieces of tape to secure down, which ruined the ease factor of being able to move the templates around on the wall. Save yourself the trouble and find some flat paper to use as a template (paper bags, newspaper, etc). You will be much happier.


My sister helped me take the paper to the wall and started taping it up until we found the layout that we liked best. We hammered nails into the templates, removed the templates and started hanging the frames one by one.


Now, a note on the layout that I chose for my walls.

I have always loved the look of framed photo galleries, but one of the major things that held me back from starting one in my home is my darling little 2 year old. I was nervous about him bounding down the stairs one afternoon, running his hand lightly along the wall, hitting a frame, and it (and possibly others) tumbling down on him. Sharp edged-picture frames, pictures matted behind glass, glass that could crack or shatter, the potential domino effect of knocking down one in a series of can see why I never moved forward with this. But an empty frame gallery, without the potential danger and weight that glass panes would add, that was much more up my alley.


That said, I still decided to hang my frame gallery entirely on the top half of the wall. This would remove the temptation for my little guy to touch the frames every time that he walked past. Out of sight out of mind, right?


Also, my home has an open floor plan, so as soon as you walk in, you see this.


I didn't want all of my beautiful frames and arranging efforts to be hidden behind a sea of white spokes. Hanging the frames above the line of the railing kept this from looking too busy and cluttered from the downstairs, and added some much needed color and interest.


I wanted to maximize the look of the frame wall up close in addition to the view from the rest of the room, so I focused on bringing out the great details in each of my frames.


The color of my frames is Green Bay by Sherwin Williams. I loved the fun turquoise color, but on the walls and amidst the color scheme of rest of the room, it was just a bit too bright. So I turned to one of my favorite things, Valspar's Antiquing Glaze.


I added a light layer to each of the frames and then wiped them off with a dry cloth. This darkened the color just a bit and added some depth. I used an old terry cloth rag which gave even my plastic frames the slight appearance of wood grain - just perfect!!


I also used it to draw out the details on some of my more ornate frames. I brushed it on heavily, let it settle into the recesses, and then very gently wiped it off.


For the more ornate frames where the details were fairly prominent, I highlighted them using this gorgeous DecoArt Metallic Glaze in Olde World Patina. I dipped the edge of my cloth into the glaze and lightly ran it over the details. The color is similar enough that it doesn't take away from the newly darkened color, but there is just enough shimmer that it catches the light perfectly and helps the details pop.


I used a similar technique on the gold frame with DecoArt's Metallic Glaze in Luminous Gold. See how the little details pop?


I was in love with the look of my frame wall, but decided to take an extra step for some additional security. I pulled out my 3M Command Strips and trimmed them into 1 inch strips. Starting from the bottom of the gallery, I applied my strips to the bottom 2 corners of each frame. I leveled each frame, and then pushed the bottom corners until they were secured to the wall. Then I let out a big happy sigh!! This satisfied my "Mom Paranoia" about the frames falling on my little guy, and my perfectionist side that I was sure would always be standing back looking at the frames, trying to determine which of them were crooked. Now I could be assured that they were all level, and wouldn't shift if a troop of 2 year olds came bounding down the stairs.


Sigh! I'm so happy with it! What do you think?


Have any of you braved hanging a similar gallery? We'd love to see it!! And if you put up one of these beauties in your home, be sure to add it to our Flickr page so everyone can enjoy photos of the fruits of your labor!!

I'll be linking this to these great parties. Swing by and say hi!

Have a great week!!

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Jessica January 31, 2011 at 6:26 AM  

Simply beautiful Erin!

Lynn January 31, 2011 at 6:35 AM  

This looks absolutely beautiful!! I love the colors.

silly eagle books January 31, 2011 at 8:09 AM  

Beautiful--I've been thinking of doing this, but wasn't sure how to pull it off--thanks for all the tips!

Tiffany January 31, 2011 at 8:17 AM  

Absolutely gorgeous! Great color scheme and the frames are fabulous! What a statement it makes. Nice job!

Anonymous January 31, 2011 at 9:39 AM  

Bravo!!! It looks great! Love the wrapping paper-template idea too.

Eileen January 31, 2011 at 10:11 AM  

I beyond love this!

Erin Sansotta January 31, 2011 at 10:58 AM  

I've wanted to do something like this for a good long time, but my house just doesn't have the wall space for it! Yours, however, looks fabulous! I can't wait to see it in person one day!

Natosha January 31, 2011 at 12:07 PM  

I love the colors! Great job!

Allison {A Glimpse Inside} January 31, 2011 at 12:19 PM  

Looks fabulous!
I have been collecting frames to do this in my bedroom above our bed. I now just need to figure out what color to paint them and get to work!

Martha Carolyn January 31, 2011 at 2:07 PM  

It looks great! Your first post on this inspired me to start my own empty frame collage, and I've already made major progress!

c. January 31, 2011 at 2:08 PM  

i LOVE it! (=

bichonpawz January 31, 2011 at 10:58 PM  

It looks fabulous on your wall!!! Really terrific...should be a feature on HGTV!!

Jen January 31, 2011 at 11:52 PM  

I LOVE it! It looks absolutely fantastic! I want to make one now because your's turned out so great.

Patrice February 1, 2011 at 8:11 AM  

I love the paint finished Erin! And that circular gold frame, what a find! Looks great!

Jana February 1, 2011 at 10:04 AM  

Love it! So cute!

Would love for you to come link up:

Michelle@ A Full Cottage February 2, 2011 at 8:19 PM  

That looks great! I love the color you chose and the 3m strips are a great idea.

Thanks for sharing.
:) Michelle

Blue Ridge Altered Art February 2, 2011 at 9:49 PM  

I love this and the color is amazing. ~~Sherry~~

Jeanne February 3, 2011 at 9:03 AM  

Awesome project. I have the perfect spot for this. Must do.

xo Jeanne.

The Single Nester February 3, 2011 at 10:30 AM  

Looks fabulous! Great idea of using old wrapping paper.

Krista February 3, 2011 at 1:03 PM  

Really beautiful!!! Love the tips you shared.

Cherie February 3, 2011 at 1:24 PM  

Fantastic! I would of never thought of that! I am a new follower!

Chrissy @ the Pearl Blog February 3, 2011 at 3:21 PM  

I took the plunge and made my frame wall too check it out and let me know what you think

{oc cottage} February 3, 2011 at 8:07 PM  

Completely FABULOUS!!!

m ^..^

Allison@FabRehab February 3, 2011 at 9:51 PM  

I saw this on another link party last night and didn't comment. I thought about your frame gallery ALL night and got up and went to thrift stores today...found some fab frames! Thanks for the inspiration!

Laura at Ms. Smartie Pants February 3, 2011 at 9:54 PM  

It looks great! If you do this again there is a much easier way to hang it up. Have one large piece of paper, trace the frames and tape up the paper and nail right thru the paper. Then take the paper down. Easy peasy!

Melanie Bacom February 3, 2011 at 11:32 PM  

I have collected way too many frames. I recently painted some black and some gold. I have not hung them yet, but you have inspired me.

Kait @ The Jones Journal February 4, 2011 at 6:31 AM  

This is beautiful! I've been wanting to do this for a while- I need to start collecting frames! Great job!


Nikki February 4, 2011 at 9:20 AM  

Love the frames! That color is awesome!

We're having a party if you want to link up!


Dear Sweet Home February 4, 2011 at 11:12 AM  

Love it! The turquoise and gold look great together. I am collecting frames to do a gallery wall on our stair case!

Unknown February 4, 2011 at 12:26 PM  

ha! I knew I wasn't the only one who collected old frames...except mine are still all in milk crates waiting for something amazing to happen to them. One day...

My Dream Canvas February 4, 2011 at 1:39 PM  

This is lovely, truly fabulous. I am hosting a Giveaway on my blog. Would love for you to stop by. hugs Anu

The Crafty Hen February 4, 2011 at 7:18 PM  

We did a similar project this past fall that I hope to post about soon. I LOVE your turquoise color -these look great going up your stairs!!

Melanna February 4, 2011 at 8:01 PM  

I love this! You did such a good job. I would love to put one in my house, but my husband's reaction? "There's nothing in them." Ya, Honey, that's the point. Sigh. I'll keep working on him. Thanks for sharing.

Olivia February 5, 2011 at 12:24 AM  

I love the color you chose to paint those frames!

Unknown February 5, 2011 at 7:39 AM  

Love it! And the blue looks so amazing, great job! 8>)

Jessica Morris February 5, 2011 at 10:54 AM  

It looks fantastic! And wise move adding the extra security to keep them on the wall... I had a similar display on my wall and my 3 year old knocked one, which caused the domino effect and 7 of the frames went crashing to the tile floor :(
My son was just fine, but the frames weren't - they're now waiting for one of those glorious afternoons when I have nothing better to do than glue/nail frames back together! {so thankful mine didn't have glass either! tho the boy was running up the stairs and the frames fell down the stairs}

Pudel-design February 5, 2011 at 11:33 AM  

A really nice gallery!
Lovely color!

I`m your new follower;)
Please visit my blog

Lovely greetings...

Sarah February 5, 2011 at 10:38 PM  

Awesome! Love the color choice. I love to hunt for frames too!

Unknown February 5, 2011 at 11:55 PM  

I love the look of the frame gallery and I absolutely love the turquoise and gold colors you chose. I'm going to start collecting frames now!

Beth @ The Goad Abode February 7, 2011 at 7:33 AM  

love this idea! i'm bookmarking it for future reference :)

Shauna K February 7, 2011 at 9:55 AM  

saw this on CRAFT- such a great idea! I have a lot of leftover frames without glass or missing the backpiece from many moves over the years- you've inspired me to make a display like this with them!! thanks for the inspiration ;)

Trisha @ The Sweet Survival February 7, 2011 at 4:29 PM  

This looks great! I love the colors of the frames. I am 90% done with a gallery wall I am working on (but with photos).

Joselyn February 8, 2011 at 10:35 PM  

Like your wall and love the colors. I did my wall a few months ago and I am ready to add to update it. Have a look for yourself.

Miss Chelsea February 9, 2011 at 10:10 AM  

Oh wow - love it! I just tackled some frames, but I went with an Avocado color... however after seeing this I want to run home and repaint them!!

Alison @ Oopsey Daisy February 16, 2011 at 2:36 PM  

This is absolutely stunning! I featured this on my blog today:

Thanks for inspiring!

KarenB April 8, 2011 at 12:20 AM  

It looks really great. Your little guy will be safe and sound. I need to get some command strips. Thanks for the reminder.

Aaron April 11, 2011 at 5:14 PM  

Love the colors you used!

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