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Kids' Artwork Gallery Wall (The Lazy Way)

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My family/play room is one of the places in my house that have been the most neglected.  Mostly because it is always a hot mess of toys and shoes and clutter.  It is also the room that houses the TV and the room we spend most of our time.  

I have updated the fireplace and built-ins, but that is about all that has been done.  I have a bunch of cheap IKEA furniture (since I love the washable covers in bright colors), but it isn't really a cohesive design. It is definitely very kid-friendly with lots of toys and colorful artwork above the fireplace:

Because the room is really intended to be the kids' playroom, I decided I wanted it to truly reflect them. I have been collecting their art work for a while and frequently taped it to the sliding glass door in this room.   After a while I got a little sick of scraping tape residue off the glass and I decided that it was time for a gallery wall. 

I mean, come on.. with drawings like this how could I resist? 

Because I was going to be using all sorts of random art and photos, I knew I wanted the frames to be one color.   I have previously done an all black gallery wall (with black and white photographs) in my dining room, so for this space I settled on white. 

Inspired by this pin on Pinterest I knew I wanted to use the girls' initials, and also wanted to do something other than all rectangular frames like I did in the previous gallery.

Enter the thrift store:

I picked up these lovelies for a steal:
And although they were FILTHY dirty, a little bath in the kitchen sink made them look as good as new.  

I removed the embroidery and sprayed them white.  A quick trip to Ikea (where I spent about $25 on cheap frames of various sizes) and I was ready to start my gallery.
I know there are a ton of tutorials out there on "how to make a gallery wall" and most of them require all sorts of templates and measuring and blah blah blah.    And if you know nothing else about me, you know I am BUSY and I am LAZY.   Which means, no templates or fancy markings.  A little chalk and I am good to go.

The first thing I did was collect up my frames and laid them out on the floor until they were basically a large rectangle. 

I measured the length and width of what was laid out on the floor and drew it with chalk on the wall:

Starting in the outside corners and working my way around, I added all the frames to the wall, eyeballing them as I went and making sure they aligned with the chalk line.  

Eventually I got them all up on the wall.  You can see how some frames (which previously held photographs) were turned on end.  I re-used the large black initials that were previously in the girls' room, and I also added in my fabric 'home is where the heart is' art. 
 You will notice that the frames aren't all perfectly straight at this point, since they are all going to come down and get filled with artwork.  That also gives you a chance to tweak the nails if you need to.

And after the art is added I made sure all the frames were level and used a small square of double stick foam on each frame to make sure they didn't rotate (especially in a room with two kids constantly banging into stuff.)

I used some of my favorite drawings and pages of homework that I have been collecting:

Some of the art is a little more abstract than others, but that is because one of the little artists is only 3! 

 I also considered the idea of constantly upgrading the art as I get new favorites.  This little guy reminded me that fall would soon be here:

I have a sofa table pushed against the wall, and I set up a vignette with some fruit, a plant and a little ceramic rabbit that the girls picked out during that same trip to the thrift store.  They love her (she is a she since she has eyelashes) and eventually I have big plans for her, but for now she can hang out in the playroom. 

Not bad for a couple thrifted frames and a quickie trip to Ikea! 
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