Tuesday, March 13, 2012

DIY Photo Wall- $36

I have been working on this project since August and am so excited to finally share it!
I am such a slow mover! It really only should have taken one day, but I kept taking my time and getting it done in pieces.
While this post is titled DIY Photo Wall and is technically about how to make a completely customized wall of awesomeness for $36 (see below), the real star of the show is the chaise lounge.
That gorgeous, stunning, beautiful chaise is hundreds of years old. It has been passed down in my family from generation to generation and about 10 years ago, my grandma gave it to me.
I have no idea how I got to be so blessed. She says that I always lounged about on it as a child (which, sounds like me. It's devastatingly dramatic) and played pretend. And she says that when I was a little girl, she promised to give it to me.
God bless my childlike 'may I please have...' fearlessness. 
Because I hadn't a place to live and then didn't want to move it until it was reupholstered & restored, it has lived with my parents for many years. However, this past summer I finally settled on a color for reupholstering it and my dad had it done as a present.
I am absolutely in love.
Not only is it fantastic, but it has been in my family for so many generations that I can't help but become a bit sentimental about it. Think of all the homes it has been in, people who thought of me (not specifically...) long before I ever existed. I wonder if the original purchasing (my great-great-great grandparents) family even knew it would become a family heirloom!
So when it finally made it's arrival in our home, to my little "inspiration room", I knew it needed proper display. That's when I decided to make this photo wall. The idea was to celebrate family (and what an incredible gift a good family is) by making an entire wall about my relations (plus a few friends who have become like family). Don't pay too close of attention to the pictures in the frames, those are just place savers... I'm really working to compile a perfect set of pictures to go in these frames! 
Ok- so we have the inspiration, now it's time to make it happen. When I started googling frames, I was appalled at the price. I didn't want to spent $20 per frame! It certainly wasn't in the budget. I couldn't find grey frames anywhere for a decent price. That meant it was time to do what 'la vie' does best- improvise. 
The secret to this wall is Wal-mart. I got these wooden frames from Wal-mart for $3 each. That made the entire frame purchase $36... which is less than the cost of TWO from any other store. It's hilarious because when the idea to paint them in my shade originally came to me, I looked up "unfinished" wooden frames thinking they'd be a steal. Not so. The cheapest was $10 and it didn't even have glass!! Wow. What I like most about these frames is that you can use the included mat and fill them with 5X7 or you can take it out and they hold a 8 X 10. That gives an option. It's also a lot of frame for three bucks! Let's get to the steps.
Buy a set of four here- image from Walmart.com

(1) Paint them. I used acrylic paint which I already had and matched other pieces in the room. You can go that route (2 coats) or you can spray paint them which is most likely ten times easier. Plus the weather is warm enough for all of that now! I love painting these frames because it's the best way to make the color completely customized. If you're talented, you can always add some stenciling. Don't forget about the super cool metallic spray paint sold these days, either! 
(2) Fill them. Choose your orientation, picture size & photos and get those frames ready to rock!
(3) Mount them. I laid them out on the floor and spaced them the way I liked it. Then I used a yard stick to mark off where the nail holes should be based on that. For example, I liked them to be 4 inches apart. The frames are 12 inches across, that means the center is at inch 6. Therefore, the first hole was 10 inches in and then from there on it was every 16 inches after that (6 to the edge of the frame, 4 between and then 6 more to the center of the next frame- 6 +4 + 6). 
I wish the room was big enough that I could get a really great shot of the final product. It really has a presence and makes an impression. I love lounging in this room and thinking about my family- those who have gone before me and those who aren't even born yet. I wonder what our tree will do. 
I hope you're inspired. I'll probably do a follow up post about this chaise again. I saved the original upholstery (from my grandma's time) to make a pillow for my grandma and one for myself as well. I thought it would be nice to have it sit on the chaise, and for her to have the match set at home. I'll post about that soon and then give you some close up shots of the chaise. The detail and carving work is out of this world.
It's a gorgeous day! I wish you all the best, and as always, thanks for reading. Oh! Don't forget to sign up for the current contest HEREPin It


  1. Hi Auna, nice DIY I will give a try next weekend. By the way congratulations on the design of the header. I also wanted to ask you the name of the font you used for the "LA VIE EN" part.


  2. Love the project idea.. and don't you think you MUST be photographed on that beautiful chase? ;)


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