On making cheap wall art.

I’ve been wanting to do a gallery wall going up our stairs for um… forever. Mostly inspired by the one Amanda has in her house, which manages to look cool and modern rather than cluttered and mom-ish (my previous opinion on gallery walls). See?

(her post on updating her wall here)

So cute. I got started with a lot of motivation, way back in October. I scrounged through my decorating closet upstairs (the closet where all home decor type stuff I am not currently using goes to live) and found a bunch of frames that I thought were paint-able for the wall. I laid them all out on a piece of plastic in the driveway and painted them with oil rubbed bronze spray paint. I love a nice dark frame against a light colored wall. Then I made this awesome heart-art to hang on the wall.

And then… nada. I got really overwhelmed with the idea of actually filling all of the frames I had painted. I didn’t know really how many frames I needed, or what I should put in them, it was just too much. So I stacked all the frames behind the bench in our living room, and they have lived there for the past NINE MONTHS. I could’ve grown a child faster than the time it took me to get re-motivated to finish this project.

But, the important part is: I got re-motivated!

I decided to just fill the frames I had, and if I needed more I could buy more. In terms of what to put in them, I really wanted a variety of stuff. B is not huge on personal photos, so I didn’t want the whole wall to be 21 photos of us. To be honest, B was a little skeptical about this whole project– he is the epitome of the anti-clutter guy. So I wanted to be sure I put stuff we would BOTH love on the walls.

I talked it through with him and in addition to SOME personal photos, we also scrounged around the house for some mementos. We found some ticket stubs from events we have attended together, and some photos that B bought for me on his first trip away after we started dating. I’ll give the full tour in the next post, but this post is about the “art” I made.

Once I had filled the frames with everything I had and loved, I still had two left to fill. I’ve been really loving the graphic word-art prints I’ve been seeing all over the web, so I decided to give it a try. The first one was easy to decide. I LOVE those date posters I have been seeing everywhere. I wish I had an example, but I feel like I see them often enough I didn’t even bother pinning one.

And it was incredibly easy. I used Word to make a color block, and then picked a font I liked and typed away. The day we met, the day we got engaged, the day we moved into our home, and our wedding date. In the font I used to create our wedding invites.


This print turned out so well I was immediately inspired to make a print for my home office as well. There is a quote I love that seemed perfect for the space:

The woman who helped me print these at FedEx/Kinkos loved this one so much she saved it to her own file so she could print one for herself to take home!

Two prints down, but I still had one large frame to fill and nothing to fill it with. I wanted some sort of meaningful quote, but it had to be something that wasn’t too cheesy and that B and I both loved. We have a very low threshold for “cheese” (ironic considering our love of nachos) so this was quite a task.

Eventually, B had an awesome suggestion. He said we should each pick a favorite music-related quote that kind of go together, and do a his/hers thing. It took us only about half an hour of thinking/googling before we each found something we loved.

Mine is Dave Matthews. His is Nikki Sixx. I love how they look together, and more importantly, I love the message. I feel like they’re each saying, in their own way, that we should enjoy each day. Which is really something we could both use to hear because as super-planners, we are both guilty of forgetting to “stop and smell the roses.”

Once I had my three word docs created, I converted them each to PDF. This is an IMPORTANT STEP if you download your own fonts to use because places like Kinkos only have standard fonts and will convert your carefully-chosen font into something super boring like Arial Narrow.

Next, I took the files to the Fedex/Kinkos and got them each printed on 11×17 superbright white card stock. The total price for each print was under $3! Amazingly cheap, and super cute (if I do say so myself). It would be even cheaper if you were getting 8.5x11s printed, but most printers don’t print edge-to-edge so I wanted a bigger page to be able to get my blocks of color big enough (the blue and pink are 8×10, the grey is 12×14).

I still need to get something to mat my quote art, and I’m waiting for one photo in the mail, so a full gallery wall update should be coming later this week. So far though, I have to say I am super impressed with how easy it was to make my own art, and how well each of the items came out!

Anyone else make art for their walls? Feel free to leave links below to your favorite projects. I have a feeling I will be dipping my toe into these types of projects again!


4 thoughts on “On making cheap wall art.

  1. I really love these prints! I wish I had a good wall to turn into a gallery wall, but unfortunately there’s no appropriate space in my house. Instead I’ve printed out a bunch of quotes/prints that I have either saved in a drawer or displayed on shelves/tables around the house. I love the heart art you made!

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