Making a Gallery Wall from Goodwill Frames

In our first house the first thing we ran out of was wall space.

I had memories, images, ideas... and no where to stick anything else without looking like my walls were hoarders. 

Now I live in a house full of brand new beautiful EMPTY walls!!

And after five months of staring at those brand new beautiful EMPTY walls... the time came to put up some photos.

Yet, I didn't want to go out to Michael's, Pier 1 or Target and buy $200 worth of photo frames. 
Frames can be expensive!

Well, I love thrift shopping and knew I'd want to do numerous gallery walls in my home so for the last few months as I would pick up my normal 8x10 photos for gifts I would buy the biggest whopper frames I could as long as they were under $5. 

Yep. Five bucks.

You would be surprised that giant frames that normally cost upwards of $35 will suddenly be when you find them in Goodwill/Salvation Army/Thrift stores.

Yet, there are a few rules of thumb when buying frames at these amazing prices:

1. Have a purpose in mind. 
Do you want to turn this into a chalkboard? A photo? A magnet board? A fabric Board? See... millions of possibilities. For this post we will just talk about regular photo frames you would need to make a Gallery wall. 

2. Does it have the right glass in it?
If you are using the frame for photos you want glass in it. But when you are buying old frames you need to make sure it isn't frosted glass or some other wack glass someone thought was a great idea 15 years ago. The way to tell is to look at the image underneath and if it looks fuzzy... put it back. 

3. Look beyond it's Look.
I think I'd like a new title as "Queen of Spray paint" Sadly, my sister still holds that cause she is awesome yet whenever I look at something my first thought it, "I bet I could spraypaint it" and that should be your thought too! When looking at frames don't be bothered by the color of the frame. Look at the groves, the textures and judge it by that. An ugly brown frame can become stunning with just one coat of Rustoleum. 

4. Check out it's behind.
Some professionally done frames are sealed. Why someone in their right mind does this... ugh... But even that you can get around. So don't be intimidated if you turn a frame over and see it perfectly smooth with no clue how that photo got in there. If it got in there... it can come out. Unless you are buying a mirror... than that sucker might not be coming out. All you do is take a knife and cut along the edges, peel back the kraft paper and voila! 

5. Set a price point.
Sometimes someone at the thrift shop sees an 8x10 frame and thinks, "Oh this is totally $20." 
No. It's in a thrift shop. It's totally NOT $20. If you can pay the same amount within about five to ten dollars for a brand new frame than it's a bit overpriced. Generally I buy frames if they are under $3 for anything 8x10 and under and than upwards to $10 for giant frames if I really love it. 
Check out your budget and figure out how much you want to spend and how much you love what you find. If you feel like you got a great deal... than you did! 

Once you've assembled your army of frames decide what type of gallery wall you want.
Pinterest is amazing for this. I wanted a gallery wall that would incorporate my flatscreen television.

I used these photos for inspiration: 

Once I had those in mind, my mom and I went to work! Thankfully my Mom was in town for a quick stop and there is no one I trust more with decorating. Plus she is always up for an adventure (Must be where I get that from) so when I mentioned what I wanted to do she was ready to go! 

She's a flat out genius and I still hope every day I have some of her decorating genetic makeup since I definitely have her Do-It-Yourself-Craft-Funness. (Yes, that is a real term. Don't look it up in Wikipedia until later though...)

First you should start by building your wall on the ground. Pick a large empty space about the same size as the wall you are trying to design for. 

We used this toy box as our TV. You though should use items that are actually the same size as what you are trying to build around ... it will help you later. Trust me. 

Than we went to work. It was easy to move frames around, add boxes until finally we came up with what we wanted! 

We took them downstairs and started hanging them up. We didn't bother with the color of the frames or the photos until we had it up on the wall. Hanging them on the wall is the hard part. Filling them with photos is the easy step. 

After hanging them I took my frames that weren't already the color I wanted and spray painted them out back in my color scheme: Black, White and Aqua. 

My big frames were my Goodwill finds! That baby girl is not mine obviously... but the frame was $2. With some black spray paint and a picture of my son inside it became an instant treasure. 

I ordered all my photos from Walgreens cause they have great prices and get them done in an hour that helps my instant gratification needs. 

Mom and I had a trip hanging these things using our photo for reference. We had to adjust because the TV was much larger than our toy box... but the adjustment turned out fantastic. 

I swear by Hercules Hooks. Sometimes they are called Monkey Hooks... whatever.

It's this:

You can get 30 of them from Amazon and they will hold up to 10lbs of frame! You can also get them at Hobby Lobby, Jo-Ann's, Michael's, Wal-Mart, Home Depot ect... yet they will be $2.99 for 3. Buy them online and get them $.33 each!!! Steal. 

No hammer or nail is needed. You just push it in, twist and hang the photo. Than pull it out later on if you need to move it and the hole is super tiny. The only time they don't work is when you run into a stud... than you should break out the hammer and nails. 

Well, here is our finished product!

What do you think? I fall in love with it every time I pass and I have photos on my wall! 

And I had all that stuff lying around because I had been collecting it so long.  

Hope this inspires you to put your precious memories on your walls! 

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God Bless and Much Love,


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