It's done! Finally! I thought this project would take a couple afternoons, but it managed to drag itself out over two weeks! Oh well, it's done now. I think.
One of the things my mother-in-law, Helen, wanted me to do at their house was to help her create a gallery wall in their living room. There was a spot just begging for some pictures of their grandkids!
It also had a super-ugly eyesore of an air vent smack dab in the middle! Why do people stick things in such inconvenient places!!! Helen had a huge empty frame and we eventually came to the conclusion that it could frame the vent and we could hang something inside the frame that wouldn't block the air flow.
Here's how it turned out:
See?! Unless you already knew it was there, the smiling grandchildren and trio of wreaths really disguise the vent! (Sorry about the weird sun spots. After finally getting this done, I didn't want to wait around for the perfect lighting to get after shots!)
Helen and I spent a couple afternoons just collecting pictures and putting them in frames. She already owned some frames, others came as gifts at Christmas, and Helen picked up a few cheap ones at Walmart. You know those $3-$5 frames that are actually plastic? They're awesome! You totally can't tell they're not real wood and the plastic makes them really light. Perfect for command strips! I was able to use command strips for the light/cheap frames, but for the larger, heavier frames I used nails.
After we collected an assortment of frames, I played around with the overall layout of the collage. This step took me forever! I don't know why either, because I always change things as I hang them!
I liked how this layout looked, so I started hanging things. But as you can see, some of these frames, most noticeably the huge one, aren't black. I hung a few on the wall, then spent another couple of days painting frames. I just used black acrylic paint off-the-shelf.
During that step, we realized that there were more pictures just waiting to be included to the collage! So I had to monkey with the layout again, but I'm glad I did because we all like it so much better now.
Next, I hung up all the painted frames. There was one missing that still needed to be purchased, as well as the wreaths to add over the air vent. So it sat (or hung) unfinished for a few more days...
Finally, we got the last frame, filled it, and made three little wreaths. The wreaths aren't exactly what Helen wants to fill that space, but they live in a small town and resources are limited. I couldn't find anything better at Walmart, so I asked my father-in-law, Jon, for some wire, snipped off some sprouts from a bush in their landscaping and twisted the twigs around the wire frames. I used string to tie the sprigs down in places. It's an evergreen plant, so I'm hoping they'll last a few months before they need to be replaced.
Helen always asks for 5x7 pictures of the grandkids, so there weren't any to fill the top row of frames. I used some black scrapbook paper and chalk to create art for the three empty frames. In one I wrote "est. 1971" for their wedding anniversary. In another I wrote "our hearts full of joy", and the last one simply says "LOVE" with a heart instead of an O. I like how they flow with the other frames, don't take away from the sweet faces of grandkids, yet aren't precious enough that they can't be changed out when new SMALLER pictures are added.
It sure looks nice and it's great to have the project done at last! Here's a comparison shot again, just for fun! See the impact a gallery wall can make?
Helen can add to the collage if she wishes, as the collage is centered over the piano, not in the middle of the wall. It could grow upwards too, but it's getting pretty hard to add new frames any higher. Besides, you couldn't see the cute kids way up there!
One more thing before I sign off: Do you think we should add a verse or phrase above the large frame?
Oh dear, I totally like how it looks. Sigh... Maybe the project isn't done after all!