Long Awaited Thrifty DIY Gallery Wall Reveal

March 7, 2016


Okay, so maybe it was only long-awaited by yours truly. But I'm pretty proud of my DIY gallery wall just the same. I can't believe it all started back in May of 2015. In November of 2014 we got a new couch (huge sectional) and I knew then that I had to do something about the really expansive naked wall behind it. So I started looking on blogs and Pinterest for inspiration. But there is so much information out there about how to create a gallery wall that I became overwhelmed and essentially paralyzed in the process.


Here's the big, ugly, bare wall. It measures 13 feet across the back of the couch. So to say it was a large space to fill would be an understatement. But I was determined to make this happen. So I started experimenting with various objects to see if they might work. I had read that one way to plan your wall is to trace all your frames and other objects onto paper and then tape the paper cutouts to the wall. This gives you an idea as to what it would really look like before you commit and put those dreaded holes in the wall, making it permanent. So that's what I did.


The entire gallery was built around a large framed collage of family beach vacation photos. They were taken when the kids were smaller, but they're my absolute favorite family photos.


Here you can see where I tentatively placed some cutouts up on the wall. The final arrangement ended up being a bit different but you get the idea. You're supposed to make it look casual and not totally balanced or planned out. I found that to be pretty funny since it took a LOT of planning for me to make this look NOT planned! I second-guessed myself every step of the way. These cut-outs were on our wall for months. My family kept asking me when I was going to finish. It's a "process" I told them, Can anyone else relate? After all that, I ended up actually going with my gut and making it pretty balanced after all. Go figure.

It's also smart to choose some colors you can be comfortable with. I chose a black, gold and white theme. That is, until I decided to add a touch of turquoise, which I'll show you in a bit.


Initially I went with a bit more graphic art than actual photos. There are two printables and a canvas "A" on the left side. But this was supposed to be about family, so I had to regroup and make sure that I was including enough photos. I took away the printables and canvas "A" and replaced them with more family photos and some eclectic wall art in the form of gold arrows. You can see the white antlers here, which I also later switch out for a 3-D deer head. And no, the ampersand (still shown as a cut out) did not ultimately make it onto the wall.


I'll be sharing how I made this 3-D wall art in another post. You can see a bit of the 3M clear hook it's hanging on but I was OK with that since I didn't want to make more holes in the wall.


I also created my own "family established" crest. I printed out the antlers, then picked a font and added the words "EST. 1995" since that's the year we were married. The frame is from Goodwill.


I think this small, gold sunburst mirror adds a nice touch of glam. It's from Goodwill.


This was my son in kindergarten. I love black and white photos.


The gold letter "A" represents our last name. I got it on sale and with a coupon at Hobby Lobby. You can also see where I used a blah-looking mat for that photo. It desperately needed to be changed out. And those antlers would never stay straight!


I first saw this Diana Thorne black and white etching print in a Ballard Designs catalog and knew then and there that I had to have it. But at their price of $169.00 I knew that wasn't going to happen. That is, until I decided to Google the picture and got the image for myself. I just printed it out and was good to go after placing it in another Goodwill frame.




This ceramic deer head ended up being just perfect for the wall. It was a birthday present from my husband back in February. Once I received it it was like the whole wall just came together.


Here's where the turquoise comes in. I added turquoise in the form of 
picture mats and this turquoise framed chalkboard I got at Five Below.




Here's the wall ALMOST finished. I swear, the changes were driving me nuts but I knew I had to get it just right or it would continue to bother me. Here the wall is awaiting the deer head and some writing for the chalkboard.


I chose to go with the number 5 since there are 5 people in our family. I drew the number using my reverse chalk transfer method that I've used many times before. And now are you ready?


Ta-Da! Here you can actually see that there's a large vintage terrier print all the way to the right side, and my DIY gilded chalkboard all the way to the left. To be honest I know their spacing might be a bit off from the rest of the wall but there were already holes there so I took advantage of that.



I think the touch of turquoise on the gallery wall goes well with my other turquoise accents. The blah colored walls were that color when we bought the house. Sigh. But overall I'm quite pleased. Not bad for almost two years in the making! I'm thinking the wall is going to stay like this for a long time to come. But I'm OK with that.

I'll be sharing more detailed tips on how to create your own gallery wall in a future post so stay tuned! 

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Leave a Comment!

My thrift store addiction said...

Kathleen, what a difference! Love your arrow art and all of your thrifty touches!

Tuula @ Thrifty Rebel Vintage said...

Love how your gallery wall turned out Kathleen! So smart to use those cutouts to figure out the placement of pieces. It looks great!

Betsy@My Salvaged Treasures said...

Your gallery wall is such an inspiration, it was worth the wait! Love all your special family photos.

vintageeves said...

I love that you planned it to not look planned! I totally get that ;)

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