The Creative Mama » inspiring art, encouraging women

An Art Gallery of Your Very Own – Recycled

We’re on blogcation, & will be back with all new content
August 2! Until then, please enjoy some of your favorite articles
from the last year. Originally published March 22, 2010.

I often create sample wall displays for my clients, to get them inspired to hang their family photographs on the wall and really encourage them to give their images the “artwork” status they deserve.  Don’t get me wrong, gorgeous albums are a wonderful place to keep photos, and they are actually the number one selling product in my photography business.  But sometimes images need to be seen on a daily basis, and bring a smile to the family inside that home, whether it’s as they’re eating breakfast, lounging on their living room sofa, or playing in the children’s rooms.

If you’re like me, you have several (okay, hundreds of) photographs printed, and thousands more still living on your hard drive.  Today I’m going to show you some inspiring, yet simple and fun displays you can recreate in your own home, using those images!

So let’s get those images onto the walls, shall we?

Line Them Up | A Balanced Gallery Wall

Some of my favorite arrangements are calming, orderly, linear, and precisely displayed.  If you’re looking to bring a calm aesthetic to your space (such as over a bed, in a hallway, over a sofa), then this display idea may be just the ticket.

Photo courtesy Apartment Therapy / Southern Accents

Photo courtesy Apartment Therapy / Southern Accents

I love the above example of a stairway display.  The white mats draw your eye directly to the photos inside the frame (even though they’re small prints), and it gives off a very clean and airy presence.

Photo courtesy Martha Stewart

Photo courtesy Martha Stewart

Love the horizontal line of space running between the rows in this hallway gallery.

Photo courtesy Domino Magazine (via Apartment Therapy)

Photo courtesy Apartment Therapy

Photo courtesy Pewter and Sage

Photo courtesy Pewter and Sage

What drew me to these galleries was the calming order and the sense of peace they seem to bring to their space, whether the images are black and white or vivid color.

Here’s a fabulous method to recreating a pleasing gallery on your own walls, without any unnecessary nail holes.  You will need:

  • kraft paper
  • hanging hardware for your frames (including hammer and nails)
  • painter’s tape
  1. Arrange your framed photos on the floor or large table.  Take your time, and create a display you love!
  2. Once you have a pleasing arrangement, trace each frame onto kraft paper.
  3. Carefully measure the hanging hardware on the back of each frame from the top of the frame – mark in pencil on the corresponding kraft paper.  (Measure twice, nail once!)
  4. Tape the kraft paper to the wall to match your arrangement, and drive a nail through the mark you’ve made.
  5. Rip the paper off the wall and hang your frame in its place!

Be Flexible | Photo Ledges and Shelves

If you are more indecisive about your display or you’d love the freedom to change it out regularly (as I do!), then photo ledges would be a wonderful option!  Pottery Barn and Ikea have great options for these!  I have three in my home and I swap out favorites-of-the-moment whenever the mood strikes.

Photo courtesy Pottery Barn

Image courtesy Pottery Barn

Photo courtesy Pottery Barn

Photo courtesy Pottery Barn

And an example from my home…

This hangs above my kids’ desk / art space.

This hangs above my kids

I’ve simply used a few inexpensive Ikea pieces (the ledge and the towel-rack-turned-art-paper-holder)  and represented each of my kiddos in a framed piece above it.  Their own artwork gets changed out on a regular basis in the frame below, and they love it.

Modular | Change It Out

These are fun little display ideas for kids’ rooms, the kitchen, or even little nooks that don’t allow for much wall space.  The below display can be recreated using this little set from Ikea.  Or, you can go as simple as some kitchen twine, rustic clothespins, and a couple of nails like I did.  Don’t be afraid to try different materials, such as a wide grosgrain ribbon and some pretty decorative tacks!

Photo courtesy Apartment Therapy (love them!)

Photo courtesy Apartment Therapy (love them!)

Here is my warm and rustic version of the above idea…

SWP-polas

Some of these images are polaroids from the early 1970s, taken from my grandfather.  I have them hanging by wooden clothespins from ordinary kitchen twine in front of my home office window.  I love glancing up at them, and I always smile when I see him and remember his stories about taking these photos… some several hundred feet in the air. ;)

Another easy solution for those of you who like to frequently rotate your favorites is a simple little piece I picked up at a childrens’ store a few years back.

SWP_clips

Talk about a super easy DIY!  Just a plank of wood painted to coordinate with your space, four bulldog clips, and 4 screws.  Almost as easy as the kitchen twine project! ;)

Want more inspiration and a few more “how-to’s”?  Check out these links:

Pottery Barn | Create a Memory Wall (Printable templates and several display ideas to get you started!)

Martha Stewart’s Picture Wall Photo Project

Apartment Therapy’s Photograph Cubby

I hope these have inspired you to get those family photos off the hard drive and on proud display! Whether you dedicate an entire wall to your most recent photo session, or devote a tiny space to some antique family images, the point is to highlight your sweetest memories in a visible way.  Personally, I have a lovely little spot over my sofa in need of a makeover… I’ll come back here and post my finished wall soon! I’d love for you to do the same and link back to this post. Have fun with it, and I can’t wait to see your results!

Stacey Woods

Co-editor, Stacey Woods is an on-location, natural light lifestyle photographer for the Tampa Bay, FL area. Her favorite subjects are expecting mamas, the tiniest of babies, and children of all ages. Her online photo journal can be found at Stacey Woods Photography. Stacey’s own husband and children (a 6-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter) are her greatest source of inspiration… and laughter!

About Stacey Woods


Stacey Woods is an on-location, natural light lifestyle photographer for the Tampa Bay, FL area. Her favorite subjects are expecting mamas, the tiniest of babies, and children of all ages. She believes that the small moments are really the biggest ones, that photographs are legacies that we leave to our children, and that authentic love is beautiful. Her online photo journal can be found here.

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