how to: DIY frame collage wall

Rae and I are up to our elbows in all kinds of crafty goodness this week, making pretty stuff for Mighty Swell’s storefront windows. Gathering ideas and inspiration for our displays and then seeing them to fruition (while sticking to a bare bones budget!) is one of our favorite things about owning our own shop. So, I figured I’d start sharing some of our favorite projects and DIYs with y’all here on the blog! Sound good? Cool. Without further ado, here’s Rae on how to make a collage wall with thrifted frames and wrapping paper.

This DIY project served as the background for Mighty Swell’s spring sneak peeks as well as pretty décor behind our checkout table. We got so many compliments and inquiries about them (and even a few offers to buy them off the walls), Meghan asked me to write up a little how-to. I’ve been collecting vintage wrapping papers since who knows when… YEARS. I’ve wrapped many a gift in them, but I still have a lot leftover. This project was the perfect way to use up some remnants and display some of my favorites patterns. Like most of the DIYs we undertake at the store, this project is multi-purpose, affordable, easy to accomplish in a short amount of time and when it’s all said and done, super cute!

-Rae

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

Miscellaneous frames in different sizes. I like to gather as many different shapes, styles and textures of frames as I can. These were all thrifted for 50 cents to $3.00! Think about where your finished pieces will live after you’re done so you can choose frame sizes accordingly.

Spray paint in your favorite color. Ours just happens to be YELLOW!

A variety of vintage wrapping papers. (Vintage fabric would be cute too!)

Hanging hardware, glazier points, needle nose pliers, hammer and nails.

Spare cardboard (optional)

HOW TO MAKE

1. Prep your frames. Carefully remove all artwork, glass and paper backing, leaving just the naked frames. Hold onto glass, cardboard, mat boards and backing boards as you will use these in the assembly proccess. You may find it necessary to remove nails, staples and other things that are holding the glass in the frames…This is where the pliers comes into play.

2. Spray paint! Make sure to do this outside of possible or in a well-ventilated area. Lay down plenty of old newspaper or a drop cloth. Give your can of paint a good shaking, and be sure to get sides and inside of frames while you’re spraying. Pro tip: It’s always tempting to spray on one thick coat and call it a day—resist this urge! Several lighter coats of spray paint will yield a MUCH better final product with fewer unsightly drips and uneven patches. Let the paint dry completely before moving onto step three.


3. When your frames are totally dry, start playing with the layout and configuration of your frames. This will help you decide which paper goes into which frame and will result in a perfect collage wall. When you find a layout you like, snap a pic so you can remember what goes where before you start hammering nails into the wall.

4. Assemble! This is where those materials you saved in step one will come in handy. To cut your wrapping paper  down to size, trace the backing board that came out of the frames. This will ensure a perfect fit! If there is no backing board, you can trace the glass (very carefully) onto a piece of cardboard and use that. When you have your paper cut, use a glue stick or spray adhesive to mount the paper to the backing boards. This step is crucial in preventing bubbles and other unsightly blemishes in your artwork. Finally, place your new wrapping paper covered boards into the frames and secure. If you removed the securing parts of the frame, you can use glazier points to hold them in. Refer to your pic of the layout you liked and start hanging!

Ta-da! You’re done! Now you have a lovely wall collage to call your own!!

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