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8 Easy Steps For Planning A Gallery Style Art Wall

I’m working together with Minted to present a series of posts on decor8 about planning and installing affordable, beautiful framed art at home with prints by artists far and wide. This is the first of three posts where I provide quick and easy advice on how I plan gallery style art wall because there is a rhyme and reason to it regardless of how many times you hear designers instructing you to just wing it. That may work, but only after your wall has a ton of nail holes and spackle marks.

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To be fair, yes designers CAN wing it. But that’s only after installing dozens of art walls for clients — after awhile you can eyeball stuff and intuitively know where it should hang.  But there are still some ground rules that are followed in the selection and arrangement whether the designer realizes it or not. Because that designer had to learn in the beginning and you can believe they learned art wall 101 – the importance of balance, telling a story through the work, hanging the focal point piece at eye level, etc. And they learned through a ton of trial, error and spackle paste.

HOW DO YOU PLAN AN ART WALL? 

I don’t know about you, but I rummage through what I currently own that hasn’t been hung yet, or in this case, I go and buy it all at once because I have a deadline and need to get my work studio finished by the end of November. No time to build my collection over time. And I see no problem with that. I’m buying prints, not fine art originals, so there doesn’t need to be a lot of thought behind each piece other than, Do I love it? Yes. Do the colors work? Yes. Does it work with what I’m already planning to use? Yes. Then it’s onto size, type of framing, with it be matted, etc. So when it comes to planning, the first step is to love the work and find the right spot for it in your home.

HOW DO I SELECT THE RIGHT WORK?

My first thought for this particular project was: what do I want this room to convey? Energy and joy. This is quickest to achieve through color and works that don’t take themselves too seriously. So no portraits of people, no black and white city views, nothing that makes you think too hard. I wanted a wall that you would look at quickly and simply feel energized and happy. Not much more. No story telling or deep emotional tales of love and war. I guess if you call my wall a person, she would be Cameron Diaz. Peppy, happy, fun, not too deep, a twinkle in her eye, feminine, free-spirited, energetic as all hell.

WHAT IS YOUR THEME OR MOOD?

Questions worth asking when choosing art for a salon style wall include: Do you plan to show favorite patterns and shapes, colors or a theme -like that you love to travel? Are you showing only family photos? Do you want to mix paintings with photography? Will you mix original works with prints and even three dimensional objects, like porcelain objects, old keys, rulers, etc.? For my wall, I’m going to mix in three dimensional objects after I install the wall, but for now I’m simply planning out the art and I’ll fill the spaces after everything is up. I like to work backwards sometimes. My theme is around patterns and shapes but beyond that, it was a mood I was going for: energy and joy.

WHAT ABOUT FRAMES?

As far as frame colors go, neutrals all tend to work well together – white, natural wood and black. When you introduce metallics, stained woods, colored frames, etc. things can start to become visually distracting. In most cases, you don’t want the frame to be the focal point, but the artwork inside. I believe the frame shouldn’t contrast with the art too much, unless you are working with a monochromatic scheme (black art, white frame). So if you have a dark plum-color painting then having it framed in natural wood or black is more complementary and warmer – a stark white frame would make the contrast too great in my opinion.

For my project, I wanted to mix and match the frames, mostly white since I thought they’d stand out nicely against the slightly gray walls in this space and I wanted some with wooden frames to complement the sideboard. Frame width is also important. Do you want it super slim, a few inches wide, or wider? Lots of country-style frames tend to be wood and very thick – almost like four barn floor planks made into a frame. Modern art galleries favor super slim frames for works-behind-glass. Like pencil width. It’s your choice and really about preference more than anything. If you like it, who cares if it’s not typical or common.

HOW ABOUT MATTING?

I like work that is framed and matted but I also am happy with just frames. For these works, I went with just frames. I like the look of work filling the entire area.  Mostly, when I do go with matting I go with pure white or linen. It depends on the print and the room, but either works very nicely. White shows off the work 100%, linen adds texture and warmth.

HOW DO YOU PLAN OUT AND INSTALL A GALLERY WALL?

If you lack patience like me, you can “wing it”. Planning complicates the process for me. The only real planning I do is that I measure the wall and then use Photoshop to mock up how I see the art (not 100% to scale but somewhat). I usually gather all of the work together in front of where I plan to install it and lay it out on the floor, playing with the arrangement until it looks right. In this case, I used my dining room tables since the art wall will go above the sideboard. If winging it isn’t your plan of attack, here are 8 steps so you can plan it like the pros.

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HOW TO PLAN A GALLERY ART WALL IN 8 STEPS:

 

1.  SIZE MATTERS: Measure the wall area where you plan to install the art

2.  HUNT & GATHER: Gather large pieces of solid paper in white or brown — so wrapping paper, butcher paper, any large pieces you can find, and tape them all together to form one very large sheet of paper. This will most likely be about the size of a bed when you are finished.

3.  GET LAID: Lay all of your art on the paper and move it around until it looks good. Until the arrangement speaks to you.(In my case, I laid all of my art out on the table directly in front of the wall where I plan to install it.)

4.  HOCUS FOCUS: Make sure the focal point of your salon grouping (the boldest piece) is hung at eye level either in the center of the arrangement or slightly off center- and then place all pieces around it from there.

5.  THAT’S TIGHT: For a tight grouping of art, try places them 3” apart. I don’t suggest planning your salon style wall in a symmetrical arrangement – it’s too hard to get right and a bit boring. I think the best spacing between frames is around 4-5” apart because then each piece can breath.

6.  TRACE ELEMENTS: After the art is laid out in an arrangement that you like, trace all of the frames with a black magic marker (quick drying).

7.  I’LL STICK YOU: The next step is to stick the massive sheet of paper* to the wall, in the exact position where the art will go. Tape it using painter’s tape so it doesn’t tear the wall when you remove it. Make sure the art heights and distances between pieces look right.

8.  WELL HUNG: Hang the art directly over the paper with nails and then carefully cut out or tear down the paper when all of the art is hung. You should be left with an art wall with work in all the right places. If not, then lather, rinse and repeat. It may take a little tweaking – my first gallery style art wall was a hot mess.

In my second post in this series, I’ll link you up to all of the works that I selected at Minted along with the frame styles and sizes. My final post of this series will be the big reveal, so stay tuned!

A big thanks to Minted for sponsoring my salon style art wall project.

* An alternative to a large sheet of paper is to use brown paper bags from the grocery store, cut them to be the same size as the art, and move them around on the wall until they look right.

(images: holly becker for decor8)

Posted in diy on November 06, 2014

4 Affordable DIY Home Decorating Projects For Autumn

Looking for some Fall-ish DIYs for your home and patio? I used to LOVE when Anna Malin Lindgren was writing for decor8. Her DIY column was one that I looked forward too and even though it’s been forever ago, I still miss her posts! Since so many of them were warm and cozy, and Fall is but a week away, I thought I’d highlight 4 of my favorites in case you are in need of Autumnal decorating inspiration on a budget.

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1 — Branch Pendant DIY

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2 — A quick office nook transformation

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3 — Creating a cozy dream patio

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4 — Handmade fabric wall hanging

Would you like to try any of these?

(images: anna malin lindgren)

Posted in diy on September 18, 2014

Baby Feet Imprint DIY

Hello dear friends! I’ve been missing from my blog, I know, but man when you have a baby you just want to cuddle him 24/7! Nothing else seems to exist and time stops. We also had guests from London for four days which was wonderful and definitely kept us very active with the little one. It was such a great visit and made us both so happy that our friends traveled all the way to Hannover just to meet little Aidan and spend time with us (thank you Sania, Mark, Luke and Leila!). Baby Aidan had his first zoo visit (6 hours too!), first subway ride, first bus ride, first museum visit (art at the Sprengel where we caught the Michael Raedecker exhibition), first dinner out in a proper restaurant (the same one Thorsten’s family has been dining at since he was little to celebrate special occasions), and he met young children for the first time, a 7-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy (Leila and Luke) whom he just loved so much.

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Little Leila played with him so nicely and helped me each time I changed his nappy and she even bottle fed him (with supervision of course) and was the perfect little nanny. I loved how she would hold his tiny hand to console him when he cried on the changing table or in his stroller and how she was by his side most of the time over the course of four days. It was lovely to see how children take so nicely to babies. On Friday night, I also had a little first for myself – my first dinner party since having Aidan! I’ve hosted cake and coffee many times since his birth but a dinner party was a big jump but I wanted to do it since it felt like the right time to start living life in a more normal way again as we did pre-baby. So myself, together with 6 adults, 2 children and little Aidan enjoyed a very nice evening in our dining room by candlelight. I can’t take all of the credit for this special time since everyone had a role which made it easier for a new mom and nicer overall for my guests because it felt like a genuine family affair. My friend Tinna cooked the shrimp and asparagus that I picked up from the farmers’ market and mixed it together with saffron risotto (she used this as the base), cream and parmesan cheese, I made a large salad, Christine brought some extra plates and cutlery since I didn’t have enough, Mark brought beer and prosecco, Sania and I set the table and Morten put together a board of his favorite cheeses and fresh baguette paired with coconut and passionfruit jam from Nicholas Vahe for dessert. We listened to French music and spent a beautiful evening together while my baby slept zzZZZzzz and he slept sooo well too.

So that’s what I’ve been up to for the past week or so, how about you? Are you doing well? Today I want to share a mini project that I started with Sania, Leila and Aidan on Monday and continued and finished today – it’s a little baby feet (or in this case, foot!) DIY project that you may want to try with your sweet little bundle of cuteness.

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I remember before Aidan’s birth, I asked my husband if German hospitals do finger and foot prints when a child is born because I had mine done at birth, in black, but he said he didn’t think so. When Aidan came, they definitely didn’t do it (I am still so disappointed!) so I have been wanting to do hand and foot prints ever since. It’s been 9 weeks and I finally decided that I would do it before he hit the double digits. The perfect time seemed to be when Sania and her sweet daughter Leila were with me and we were looking for some crafty projects to do together for our girl’s day yesterday. I figured it would also make for a nice memory – I’d always remember that we made this little footprint together. We waited until little Aidan was semi-relaxed and not crying and removed his pants leaving on only his onesie and nappy. I made sure the kitchen was warm and that we did this little project near the sink so we could quickly wash his feet clean. We used black acrylic paint, which we first tested on Leila (Sania’s idea, a very good one!) to make sure it easily came off, and with a paint brush, I held Aidan in a comfortable position and Sania painted the bottom of his right foot. We were laughing the entire time as he squirmed, it was seriously the cutest thing. I pressed his right foot onto the right side of a 18 x 25 cm sheet of Canson acid-free, archival quality watercolor paper (300 gram) and the first footprint was perfect. We were lucky! We then quickly rinsed his foot under warm water with a little soap and he loved it – so there was zero crying – which was a big relief! My son loves water (he never cries during bath time) but I wasn’t so sure he’d love being part of our craft project — but he actually did just fine. We were really proud of him.

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We then tried his left foot but weren’t as successful. It seemed he caught on to what we were doing so he tried to resist with each little imprint we tried to make. About 12 rounds later (yes really!), we still couldn’t get a good impression because he kept curling his toes the minute foot met paper, so we decided to just be happy with the one footprint and give him a break. We could tell her was getting a bit cranky after 5 minutes of crafting, so we left the good print out to air dry and this morning, I decided to finish the project since Sania and her family flew back to London last night. I took the little print, tore the paper very roughly on all four sides reducing the size significantly, and started to think of how to display this in his nursery in the best way. I thought that on a canvas would be nice, versus framed, and that I could add linen to the frame to somehow make it look more handmade and add that tactile quality and a little warmth that I love so much.

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I had this linen pocket I’d been saving and it happened to be the perfect size, so I glued it to the canvas. Easy. You could do the same but simply cutting a piece of nubby linen to size. Then I busted out my rubber stamps and a black ink pad, other crafty bits, and here is what I came up with below. I really like it because I was able to hide the left footprint that was a bit smeared, but still nice, inside of the pocket — it wasn’t nice enough to display but still gives us a record of the special day and his left foot! I also stamped his first name (Sania gave me the idea to incorporate my rubber stamps), added a little star, and how many weeks old he was when this was made… I was going to date it but I preferred just stamping “9 weeks”.  I glued everything to the canvas, added a little ribbon and a button, tucked it inside of the gray Ferm Living shadow box above his changing table, and here is the result…

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I really hope you like this little DIY. The only word of caution I would like to add is PLEASE make sure you use either kid’s halloween face paint or normal acrylic paint that you’ve tested first (apply, rinse off, see how well it rinses off) before applying it to your infant and MAKE SURE you do not do this alone – have your friends help you so that your baby feels comfortable, safe and his body is supported when you are doing it. I recommend making the prints in the kitchen on the counter, next to the sink, and to wash the feet (or hands) as soon as you get a good print. Use a very soft paint brush on the feet and mix the paint with a little water so it’s not too thick. If you do handprints (which we didn’t, his are still too clenched into little fists given his age), do not allow the hands near the face or mouth. Really. It’s not worth hurting your little baby for the sake of an art project!

Sania and Leila thank you for helping me stamp his little feet and Thorsten, thank you for holding him today while I took the photos above for this post! xo

So now I have a question… Have you ever made HAND prints for your baby? I want to do them for his little keepsake book. At what age do they stop making fists and have hands that are open and relaxed enough to try this???

(images: holly becker for decor8)

 

Posted in diy on April 15, 2014

Make Me: Festive & Easy Candle Holders for Your Table

Hello decor8 readers and Happy Friday! Are you ready to get your craft on and make some festive and easy candle holders for your table this holiday season? It’s Lisa here and I have another simple and stylish craft project to share with you this month. With the holidays coming there is much entertaining to be done and tables and mantles to decorate! Do you have any festive decorations planned yet? Anything that you plan to make by hand? Candles are always a wonderful way to add atmosphere and it’s lovely to tie the colors in to your decorations and table setting. I’m going to show you how to make candle holders for your table that will sparkle and shine. They are simple and quick to make and they look great with or without the sequins added, depending on the look you’re after. Let me show you how I made them.

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WITHOUT SEQUINS

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OR WITH SEQUINS – your choices!

YOU WILL NEED
* Untreated wooden furniture feet from the hardware store. Odd numbers always work best when you group them. Look for different sizes and shapes that compliment each other.
* Sandpaper
* Paint and a paint brush
* Elasticized sequin trim
* A needle and thread, or double sided tape, or a hot glue gun

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Make the candle holders: If the timber is rough give it a light sand and wipe it over with a barely damp cloth. Paint each one in a different color. You may need 2 or possibly 3 thin coats of paint. Let each coat dry between applications.

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Make the sequin collars: Stretch the sequin trim around each holder and cut to fit. You may like to make the sequin collar removable, so you can change the look of your candle holders with minimal effort. To make a removable collar, fold the sequin trim in half with the wrong side facing out and hand or machine sew the ends together. Turn it out the right way and fit it over the candle holder. Or, for a permanent sparkle, run double sided tape or hot glue around the candle holder to adhere the sequin collar to it. I told you it was easy!

I hope you enjoy making these candle holders. You could also try decorating them with Sharpies or painting patterns on them. Different trims would also look great: ribbon, lace, yarn or raffia would all be interesting. I’ll see you back here in December with last minute craft idea for Christmas. In the meantime make some time this month to get creative! – xo Lisa.

FOR MORE DIY PROJECTS, VISIT MY OTHER MAKE ME COLUMNS ON DECOR8.

(text/images: lisa tilse)

Posted in diy, Make Me on November 15, 2013

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