Lindsay Gill: Guest post by Lauren: 5 steps to a DIY children's art gallery

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Guest post by Lauren: 5 steps to a DIY children's art gallery

A big thank you to Lauren for sharing her experience making a DIY children's art gallery! Lauren is a friend from college who is now a beautiful mama and teacher. Originally, I saw Lauren's Facebook post, asking where to find something to display her daughter's artwork. The next post I saw was her finished product that she had done herself! I was so impressed and asked if I could share!  Thanks again, Lauren!

Hi everyone!  I’m Lauren, mom to a busy 15-month-old and a high school math teacher.  I’m blessed to have the summers off with my little one!  This summer I had lots of projects and decorating ideas (we watch lots of HGTV and it’s dangerous!) and so far I’ve completed one.  I’m pretty happy with that, though!  Plus, there’s still time for maybe one more!

I am a Pinterest lover and a while ago I found a photo of a creative way to display kid’s artwork.  I really liked this idea because even though my daughter is only 14 months old, we’ve already got a bunch of artwork projects to display!  Our daycare is great and she’s made most of them there!  They were starting to clutter up the fridge, and I felt that I couldn’t display too many at once.  Plus, I know we’ll only have more things to put up as she gets older!  Also, we have a big open wall in our dining room that I’ve been searching to fill and once I found this idea I felt it was the perfect fit.  I also liked how I could easily change the artwork (or pictures) out without worrying much about the size or shape of it. See here for photos that inspired me before I began.

1.  I went to Michael’s and got hanging kits (sawtooth hangers), eye hooks (screw eyes), and picture hanging wire (galvanized braided hanging wire).  I also found some really cute mini clothespins – I went with white but they have lots of colors!  


2.  Then I went to Lowe’s and got the wood.  I wasn’t sure where to look, and some very helpful employees found me with the decking wood (Not exactly what I wanted!) and helpfully directed me to the thinner, more crafty wood.  I wanted pieces that were 4 feet long and luckily they had that (although I believe they’ll cut it for you if the length isn’t right).  The wood I got is 4’x3.75”x.75”.  I also picked up some fine sand paper (220 grit), some wood stain (I chose Minwax’s Dark Walnut), and a polyurethane spray (Minwax Clear Semi-Gloss).


3.  Thankfully my Dad is very handy so he helped me with the steps for staining the wood, which was the part I was most nervous about.  It was much easier than I had expected!  I sanded the wood down and stained one coat on each side.  I wiped it off after only a few minutes, but you could let it sit longer or do more coats depending on the look you’re going for.  I really wanted a slightly more rustic look where you could see the knots and grain of the wood so I just did one quick coat.  After that was dry I sprayed about 3 coats of the polyurethane.  The spray was very handy and simple to use!   It was very humid when I did it, so I let that dry for several days before I felt it was completely dry. 

4.  The next thing I had to do was measure where I wanted the different hooks to go.  I decided to mark where I wanted the eye hooks first.   I placed them about 2 inches in from the edge of the wood and centered vertically (they actually ended up a little off center because I measured too quickly, but I did make it even on both sides so it’s not too noticeable!).  I pre-drilled the holes with a small bit on my husband’s drill to make screwing the eye hooks in easier.  Next I put the zig zag hanging hardware on the back of the boards.  I realized this was much easier to do without the eye hooks in so I waited to put those in until after.  I measured the hanging zigzags to be about 2 inches in from the side of the board and about ½ inch down from the top.  I put one on the left and the right of each board instead of only one in the middle, to provide more support and stability for the display.  They were super easy to position and hammer in!  The tiny little nails were a little hard to hold with my fingers so I just used a pair of pliers to hold the nail while I tapped it in.  Once that was all set, I went back to the front and screwed in the eye hooks.  It was easy enough to do by hand and then I just used pliers at the end to be sure they were nice and tight.  


5.  Then, I strung the hanging wire between the two eye hooks.  I had a few extra inches on each side which I doubled back and wound around itself.  I wanted to make it taut and again used the pliers to do the best I could to pull it tight.  I also had to flatten the sharp end of the wire so that it hopefully won’t scratch anyone! 


The last step was to hang them in our dining room, which my husband helped with, and then add the artwork!  I was extremely pleased with how they came out, and I’m excited to have a place to display artwork or photographs for years to come (and help keep my fridge a little neater too)!  It really wasn’t that difficult of a project to complete, I was able to work on it in short bursts while my daughter napped and it didn’t take long at all!  I hope that if you try this you’re successful and enjoy the process too!  



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