Wednesday, December 3, 2014

How to Make a Framed Children's Art Wall

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for my dining room makeover! One thing I've been dying to do for months now is create a place where I can display my favorite child art that isn't the fridge. I love how it turned out! Let me tell you how I did it.


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Step 1: Plan

Trace the outlines of your different frames onto large scrap paper. The paper in my photos is wrinkled because I used paper that had been used as padding in a package I received. Paper bags or wrapping paper work great for this as well.

Once you have a piece of paper to represent each of your frames, you can take your time rearranging them on your wall using masking tape to hold them in place

Step 2: Prep Frames

Start by removing the glass and any artwork from your frames. Recycle the artwork and matting but save the glass for later.

Paint all the frames with one coat of  Pure White chalk paint. The great thing about the Chalk Paint from Annie Sloan is that not only is it low in VOCs, but it sticks to just about anything without the need to pre-sand or use primer. Once the frames are dry add a second coat of white paint and set aside to dry.

(pro tip: wrap up your paint brush with cellophane to keep it from drying out between coats)

Step 3: Paint Grey

Once the white paint is dry, add 1-2 coats of french linen and allow to dry.

(that big frame with white in the middle was a cork board - so I didn't remove any glass. I just painted the center white with the frame and then painted the edges with the french linen paint)

Step 3: Cut Centers

While the paint is drying, take the glass pieces you removed earlier and use them as templates to cut out one piece of cork and one piece of foam core board per frame. To do this, I just laid the glass on top and scored it with a craft knife down the side.

Step 4: Paint the Cork

At the very least, paint the cork with one coat of  Pure White chalk paint. I wanted the frames to be able to be stand-alone art as well if there weren't any child art pieces on them so I used the large Arabesque stencil pack from Martha Stewart and added blooms and circles using Emile and a yellow made of one part Arles and one part Pure White.

If you're new to stenciling, see my tutorial here for a stenciled bee towel which explains the technique.

Set the cork aside to dry.

Step 5: Distressing (optional)

By now your frames should be dry. If you would like to distress them, now is the time to do it. Take some sandpaper and skim over the edges, corners and details on your frames. If you'd prefer a more pristine look, you can leave them as-is.

Step 6: Wax

Whether or not you sanded your frames, you'll want to seal them with wax. I chose the clear soft wax because I didn't want to change the shade of grey (there is a dark wax available but it will alter the finished color of what you painted). 

To apply the wax, dip your rag into the wax, bringing out a small amount. Rub it into the painted frame. Think about it like applying lotion - you just want a really thin layer. Don't glob it on! After you've rubbed the wax into the frame, use a clean spot on your rag to buff it and get it really worked in. Set that frame aside to dry and move on to the next one until you've waxed all your frames.

Step 7: Centers

The first step to inserting the centers is to make a sandwich with the painted cork and the foam core board. First, lay the cut pieces in the frame to be sure they fit and do not need to be trimmed down. Trim as needed and then use your hot glue gun to glue the cork to its corresponding piece of foam core board.

To glue the cork boards into the frames, run glue around the inside edge of the frame and then press the board in cork-side-down. Press to be sure it holds firmly all around. It's ok with the foam core board sticks up beyond the depth of the frame.

Step 8: Hang

Even if your frames still have hanging hardware attached to the back, I find that using the 3M Command Picture Hanging Strips works so much better for keeping the frames level as well as for ease of installation. Follow the instructions on the package for placing the strips on your frames and using them to hang the frames. 

It's looking pretty good now! I think that even if you didn't have art to add to these, they look nice on their own.

Step 9: Add Art

The final step is to add art! Pick your favorite pieces that fit your frames and pin them up with thumb tacks. As your child makes new art, you can swap pieces out or change the whole display with the seasons.

Not sure what to do with the artwork once it comes down? By all means, don't let it clutter your house! Turn it into an art journal like I did here: Turn Kids Art into an Art Journal.

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Project supplies disclaimer: Annie Sloan Unfolded kindly provided me with Chalk Paint Decorative Paint by Annie Sloan as well as soft wax for the purposes of using those supplies in this project.  All other supplies used for this project were either from my stash or purchased by me. I have not been compensated for creating this project or writing this post. I only endorse the use of products I genuinely enjoy and think you will, too.

1 comment:

  1. This is such a great idea Carissa! I love the Chalk Paint® colors you used to make this art gallery wall. I may have to do something similar in my home for my kiddos too! Thanks for sharing. :)


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