Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Gallery Wall with Wire and Wood

Gallery wall built with wire and wood using instagram pictures
PBJstories.com gallery wall with wood and wire
There’s something about having actual printed pictures in hand and on display in your home.  It makes the moments that were captured come to life and be daily reminders to enjoy life.  It has been years since I’ve taken the time to print pictures.  My hard drive is jammed back with thousands of pictures of Jackson moments over the last four years, but not too many printed pictures of our family unless they’re the ones we got developed from our family photo sessions. 

It’s interesting how pictures have changed since we have become to dependent on our cell phones.  Over the first three years of Jackson’s life I have folder after folder of digital pictures capturing every little moment with my camera.  But with Kenzie I barely EVER grab my camera and am just capturing those giggles and smiles with my phone.  The quality of the images almost seems like we’ve gone back in technology light years compared to how crisp and beautiful images from cameras can be.  But I noticed because of my photography for blogging I no longer capture the simple moments of my kids.  I’m concentrating on the perfect lighting, the perfect aperture settings, the perfect soft focus.  It no longer becomes about what they’re doing, but about the story I’m trying to tell with my camera settings. 

That’s what is almost great about using my phone for capturing the simple perfect moments.  Most of us all use Instragram (would love you to follow me if you don’t already!) and I love the filter effects, the unique square shots, and the classic white border of those pictures.  I finally got up off my buns and sent off a small collection of pictures to Persnickety Prints to get my pictures developed.  When I received them in hand I was obsessed, I LOVED having pictures in hand again.  The quality is unique, it’s not professional pictures, it’s almost the quality that we’re used to seeing from our own childhood using disposable cameras.  But it’s simple, the picture becomes about the moment again.  So with my prints in hand I made a new gallery wall for our living room to have these moments be daily reminders to LIVE, LOVE AND LAUGH. 

This is a super easy and inexpensive way to create a gallery wall without the high cost of frames, and creates a larger piece of art that becomes a conversational piece.  Here’s my make-up-as-I-go how to for my gallery wall piece.

First grabbed some 8 foot long planks from my go to place for timber – Lowe’s.  Jackson was enjoying the ride.


Then I gathered up my materials for cutting my wood to length.  I always use a circular saw for cutting wood, and use a table base, t-square, measuring tape, clamps, safety goggles, and my Kreg-Jig Square Cut (such a great little gadget for cutting wood with a circular saw!)

I always use a measuring tape to measure out the necessary length (I was cutting my boards down to 7 feet long) and then use a T-Square to get my straight cut line.

DSC_9659bThen to assist with getting straight cut lines I use the Kreg-Jig Square Cut.  It’s inexpensive and has been such a great purchase, I highly suggest buying it if you use a circular saw often.

Then I just did a quick sand down of the boards using a palm sander with 120 grit and wiped it down to remove the left over dust. 

Moving on to staining – I always use a staining pad with a lint-free cloth nearby.  I smooth on the stain and quickly go back over it with the cloth.  You can let the stain sit for a few minutes to get a deeper color but I was doing this outside in 95 degree weather so if I let it sit on the wood at all any detail would show in the stain like my strokes or unevenness.  So instead I just do a few coats to obtain the deeper color I want to achieve with adequate dry time in between. 

Once I did that to all four boards (by the way I totally cheated and only stained the front and sides of the board, didn’t bother with doing the back.  Shortcuts people, they’re so great!

So next I knew I wanted a little more to my piece than just the wire and wood.  I initially thought of making my big yellow heart sign as the background, but decided to go with just an oversized word “love” as the backdrop.  I pushed all the boards together and sketched out my word.  I always write on wood with chalk and then just remove any mistakes or unnecessary lines with a wet cloth.  Works GREAT!

writing with chalk on wood

Then I just went over my chalk lines with a thin lined paint brush and white paint.  Once the paint was completely dry I wiped down the whole word with a wet cloth to remove any left over chalk lines.

I took another short cut and just found the studs on my wall and directly screwed the wood planks into the wall and kept two inches apart of each plank to separate the word “love” out.   Once my boards were up I just used simple screw eyes and steel wire to create the hanging line for the pictures. 

I pre-drilled the holes for the screw eyes and then just screwed them in.  Super easy.  I followed that up with wrapping the steel wire around the hoop part.  If you’re not familiar with cutting wire, or using needle nose pliers – here’s a tip.  That part that the wire is clamped in between in the picture below actually cuts wire.  Everyone may know this already, but maybe you don’t… and I just helped you learn something new.  See that – we make a great team. 

tip for needlenose pliers
Next I just used little clothes pins that I purchased from Michaels for $2 a bag and hung up all my pictures. 

What do you think?  Do you think the love is too much of a distraction or does it work?  You may have noticed that I moved our toy bookshelf and it’s no longer along the side of the couch.  I just needed a change and trying to find a layout that works with two toy-obsessed kids. I moved the bookshelf under a different window to make it stand out more. 

I am excited that it’s super easy to change out pictures so every few weeks I can get more pictures developed and just swap them out for an up to date gallery wall without the fuss of taking the fames down and changing out the pictures.  Easy Peezy is my middle name ya know.

The art above our couch has been changed out a few times since we’ve moved in, you can see the original art here, and then the pallet frame art piece here.  (By the way I may be selling that pallet frame piece to someone on my Facebook page if anyone may be interested so if you think you are – be sure you’re following me on Facebook when I post about it)


  1. Thanks for the great tutorial, Pamela! This is a great way to display all those wonderful photos.

  2. I love it! It turned out awesome. I love the simplicity of it and the big impact it has on the room. It is a great focal point.

  3. So creative! What size Instagram prints did you order?

  4. Love this! I am so glad I have a phone that takes good pictures. I wouldn't have half the pictures I do if I didn't have my phone!

  5. Love this! I am so glad I have a phone that takes good pictures. I wouldn't have half the pictures I do if I didn't have my phone!


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