Finally! Family photos on our wall!
There have been absolutely no family photos in our house until now. Honestly, I held off… Do I really want these lovely portraits displayed in our home? I decided to choose a hallway on the second floor, away from our main entrance. Number one reason being that I personally don’t think family photos should be displayed as the main work of art in a home. When I first walk into someone’s home, I love seeing art — something inspirational. Yes, portraiture is an art form, but it just seems so self-centric. Although, if you have wacky, funny family photos at your main entrance, I’m sure this will definitely spark a conversation with guests! But, you know, this is from one artist-photographer’s perspective
I knew that whatever ended up on our walls or served as decoration, I wanted it to be special, handmade — and affordable! A family photo gallery wall tends to… multiply quickly. So, this method of displaying gave me some legroom to expand. It’s a little kitsch, yet modern[ized]. The inspiration began with, of course, my idol, Martha Stewart. Her craft idea for Prints with Custom Patterned Mats looked oh-so beautiful. Then I thought of just removing the frame altogether, therefore eliminating cost and another aesthetic factor.
- plain pre-cut mats or matboard
- patterned paper
- craft knife
- bone folder
- masking tape
- adhesive (Martha used spray adhesive)
- 3M Command Damage-Free small hanging strips
- Follow Martha’s directions for assembling the patterned mats. I went for pre-cut mats to save time and managed to get a set of 6 mats in varying sizes for under $6 at Jo-Ann’s (with coupon, of course). If you have specific sizes, I suggest buying matboard from Dick Blick and either cutting it down yourself or letting them do it for you.
- For an adhesive, I first tried using Modge Podge (just trying to use what I already had). It sort of worked, beautifully for the thinner paper and not-so-much with thicker paper. So, try the spray adhesive. It’s super tacky, so once you place the two together, there’s no going back!
- Use a bone folder to smooth out any edges, making them nice and crisp. Neatness is key here since the mat is all you’ll see.
- I waited at least 24 hours for the mats to dry.
- Print your photographs with at least a 1/4″ allowance all around. Note: I chose to make all the photographs black and white to create cohesiveness.
- Place the photograph on the back and use masking tape on all four sides to adhere the photograph to the mat. Note: I am still trying to think of a better way to do this. But, at this point, it works!
- For the last step, I used a 3M hanging strip on each corner, making sure that it wasn’t sticking to the patterned paper and just to the mat. This is important if you ever want to change out the photograph later. (Love, love, love 3M’s Damage-Free products. They are EVERYWHERE in my house.) Also make sure that the tab part is facing downward so that if you ever have to remove the mat from the wall, it’s easy.
The lovely patterned paper used in this project is from Paper Source: Fuchsia & Gold Paisley Fine Paper / Gold on White Metallic Floral Fine Paper. I printed my photographs with Red River Paper’s Polar Pearl Metallic paper. Love that the photo pops out and adds some dimension. Although, don’t put your fingerprints on it! (It’s glossy.)
So, I’m off to a pretty good start. (The husband thinks I’m done. Yeah right!) Off to find more paper, mats and rediscover photographs lost on my harddrive!