This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Devine Color. All opinions are 100% mine and I’m excited to share this DIY project with you!
I have this dream of learning how to decorate. It’s up there with my goals of learning how to take great photos, reading books every day, and being able to do pull-ups. (I’m making more progress on some of these goals than others. 😉 )
If you’ve been reading for a little while, you may recognize my old room. It was the dream room for my 16-year-old self – black, white, and pink all over – but by the time I entered college, I was ready for a change. Here’s the before picture:And here’s the after shot:My room got a major makeover last summer and it now has more of a light, neutral feel with gray walls and white/silver accents. I’m just now putting the finishing touches on it because most of the walls were still pretty bare.
The final thing I wanted to add was a gallery wall, which I’ve seen all over Pinterest and in tons of home magazines. Photos are absolutely my favorite thing to use to decorate since they hold so many good memories, so I decided to do a DIY photo gallery wall project. I bought all of my supplies (other than frames) from Target, including my Devine Color spray paint.
You can buy “gallery wall sets” that come with frames and a suggested layout, but all of the sets I saw were anywhere from $60-$100+ dollars, which seemed crazy to me. And that’s just the frames- it doesn’t even include the cost of the photos or any additional elements.If you’re interested in creating your own DIY photo gallery wall, I’ll walk you through the steps I took, and how I saved money from thrift shopping, finding good deals at Target, and using things I already had.
Step 1: Gather frames
All of the frames I previously had were black. For my gallery wall, I decided to mostly use the frames I already had and paint them to create something that looked totally new.
I also picked up several extra frames, in different sizes, at a nearby thrift store for a dollar each. I went into the thrift store with a rough idea for my gallery wall, and there were way more frames to choose from than I expected. I actually bought 7 frames, knowing I wouldn’t use all of them, but I wanted to have options, plus backups in case I messed up (and I can give the rest of the painted frames as gifts!). Also, it’s important find frames that have some type of “hanging” element on the back, whether it’s a wire or a little piece that pops out to hang on a nail.I originally used this picture below on Pinterest for inspiration but once I got started, I realized that the style was all wrong for my room. My room is modern, with a lot of white and neutrals and these are old fashioned/vintage with lots of color. For a different type of room, though, I love this idea. Frames cost: $7
Step 2: Pick out primer and paint
To keep painting as easy and quick as possible and to avoid dirtying up paint brushes, I picked up a can of primer ($4.99) and white spray paint ($5.99). Devine Color + Target made this project really easy- the spray paint I used is actually exclusive to Target, and it worked great.You can find Devine Color in the home improvement section near the lightbulbs, and this spray paint happened to be on sale for buy one, get one 30% off. It comes in tons of different colors and also different types of paint like chalkboard paint, metallic paint, etc. It’s so fun to use! You can find Devine Color on Instagram to see more of its awesome products.
Spray paint and primer cost: $9.50
Side note: Target is absolutely the best one-stop shop for DIY projects and especially for this gallery wall project. It has a photo center, lots of different spray paint options, and tons of other decorations you can pick up while you’re there. Like this cute, fluffy gray pillow from Target!
Step 3: Choose non-photo objects to include in your gallery wall
Gallery walls with only photos look a little too busy to me, so I decided to include a framed quote (“Choose joy”), as well as this white porcelain flower from Target. The porcelain flower was the priciest part of the whole wall, but I thought it really helped tie the whole gallery together and it coordinates with the rest of my room, which has a lot of small white flower details.I downloaded a free calligraphy font, and created my own “Choose joy” frame. The frame I found at the thrift store was a funky 9×9 inch size (which I liked because it was unique), so I printed the quote at a local printing store on an 11×17 sheet of paper and cropped it down since a typical sheet of paper would’ve been too small. It was just $.50 to print there. Tip I learned from my dad– many shipping/printing stores will print just about anything, and the employees are willing to help you figure out how to do it!
Cost: Flower ($18) + “Choose Joy” printable ($.50) = $18.50
Step 4: Prime and paint frames
Lay newspapers on the floor of the garage or another space that’s safe to potentially get a little bit of spray paint on it. Use pieces of scrap wood or boxes to elevate the frames off the ground to make it easier to spray them.I sprayed each frame with a coat of primer, let them dry for 15 minutes since spray paint dries quickly, and then came back a few minutes later to do a second coat of primer. Then, I did the same thing with the spray paint. Afterwards, I left them overnight just to be safe, although they were dry much sooner. I learned two big things while painting. First, use a sweeping motion while spraying and avoid getting too close to the frame.And the other biggest tip? Wear old clothes and old shoes. This may seem like a duh statement but I learned this one the hard way. I didn’t put on shoes since I was just in my garage, and when I walked across the newspapers, I ended up with spray-painted feet!
Step 5: Order photos
I ordered photos online in a variety of different sizes and I’ll say that between different photo websites, you can almost always find a good photo discount, typically up to 40 or 50% off. And if you’re heading to Target to get spray paint anyway, Target’s a great place to get them printed!
Cost of photos (40% off): $8
Step 6: Hang frames
Now, this was definitely the hardest part because I wanted to make sure that the frames were level and spaced apart well, and my dad was a huge help. First, we set the frames on the ground in the layout I planned to hang them. My dad taught me to 1) hang the center frame on the wall first (it makes life soo much easier) and 2) to make tiny pencil marks on the wall once I measured where I wanted each frame to go so I could hammer the nails in the right spots. A few of my frames had “kickstands” for sitting on a desk, so I just gently pulled those off so the frames would lie flat against the wall. And that was it!
Tips & Tricks:
• Include 2-3 visual elements other than photos in your gallery wall. To me, gallery walls with only photos can look a little too busy, so I included the porcelain flower and framed quote to help break up the photos and tie the gallery to the rest of my room.
• Include photos of similar styles. I love light and airy photos with lots of white, so those are the types of photos I tried to include. As long as you keep the photos styles consistent (or all black and white!), it’ll look great.
• Keep it simple. The gallery wall is a big focal point of my room now, but it’s still just six frames. If it had been any more, I think it would’ve been too much. I chose to use frames including 5x7s, 9x9s, and 8x10s, so no 4x6s or anything smaller. Smaller = more frames needed and more of a “cluttered” look.
Total cost for photo gallery wall: $43
When I added the cost of the frames, photos, and the non-photo decorations, my total project was still only $43, which is super inexpensive for this type of thing. And I definitely got a sense of accomplishment out of doing the project myself– it was absolutely worth the time I spent doing it. I hope that was a thorough explanation and I’d love to answer any questions you have!
So tell me…
Have you done any DIY projects? What are your favorite things to buy at Target?