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Since the home repair whirlwind this spring, Matt and I took a break from all things house in order to hang with my family when they were vacationing in Florida, travel back home for a wedding and wedding shower, and just simply take a breather.  And now that I’ve finally washed all the paint off of my fingernails, I’m ready to get back into the swing of home repair/decorating.  We’ve also settled down a bit from all our travel and general busyness of life. So, it’s time put my paintin’ clothes back on and get to work around here!

But, before we break out the paint, I completed a little guest bedroom decor project this week. Matt was out of town for training and whenever he leaves town, I complete a project. I think that I’m self consciously trying to tell him that I am self sufficient and that I can make decisions on my own!  So, when you last saw the guest bedroom, we had just painted it. The walls, although nicer yellow that bright pink, were bare. They needed some life.  Enter Pottery Barn. Pottery Barn catalogs are like design magazines to me. I go through the pages and tear out decor ideas I like and want to imitate. Here’s the most recent one:

Isn’t it fabulous? I’ve wanted to do a photo frame collage ever since I saw this. And the wall in the guest bedroom is the perfect place for one!  Here’s how I completed the frame collage.

1. Frame Colors – Figure out the frame colors you want to use.  Since the bed in this room is black and the bedspread is white, I decided to go with black and white (creative, eh?). The great thing about most frames is that they are very spray-paintable. I had a few that were not black or white, but I was able to paint them to make them fit in with the rest of the frames.

2. Gathering Frames – Buy frames in the colors you desire (or just by frames with designs or shapes you like and paint them!). Thrift stores are an excellent place to find super cheap frames. They usually sell the frames for a dollar or less. I had a bunch of frames hanging around, a couple that needed to be painted, and I also bought a few at  Target and Wal-Mart. I used an array of sizes and designs to give the collage more diversity. But, in general, you want more medium to small pictures than you do large ones.

3.  Arranging Frames – Next, arrange the frames somewhere where they can be easily moved around. I laid out frames on the guest bed. This is the tricky part, figuring out how to arrange the frames so that it looks like a collage. I started with a large frame in the center and worked around it, adding different size frames about the same distance apart (about 2 inches) all around the larger one. Then I just kept adding frames, rearranging them, trying to make the frames I had work together.

4. Take a Picture – Once I was satisfied with the arrangement I had, I took a picture of the set-up for the blog. This turned out to be the most helpful portion of the project.

5. Choose Photos/Frame Fillers – Once layout complete, you will know the size and direction of the photos you will need. I bought some photo mats at Wal-Mart to change up the frames a little bit. It also makes it easier to find/print out pictures if they aren’t all 8×10. I was also interested in getting something besides pictures to put in the frames. I ended up buying some greeting cards with pictures/designs that I liked and then cutting them down to fit in the frame. This also gave me some control of the colors in the photos and allowed me to pull the room colors (yellow, pink, red) into the collage.

This part of the project was really difficult for me. I didn’t want to choose a bunch of pictures of Matt and me because it’s our guest bedroom and I’m guessing that our guests will want to retreat to the room and they probably won’t want to keep looking at our faces. So, I used a bunch of pictures from our Europe trip and a few oldies, but goodies from years past. Only three are pictures of people and one of those people is the pope.

6. Hang the Frames – I then took the large, middle picture, found a spot on the wall, and hung it up. Then, I looked back at the remaining frames and panicked because I couldn’t remember which frame edges were supposed to line up with the big frame. So, I referred to my photo.

Now, I guess you could be really exact in the method that you hang the photos, but I was not. I just held the picture up in the place I wanted it, pressed a nail into the wall on the top-middle of the frame, pulled the frame away, checked where the hangy thing was, guesstimated that location in relation to the nail indention, made another nail indention, grabbed the hammer, and hammered the nail. I only had to reposition one nail.

I did, however, have a little problem with the frames wanting to jump off the walls when I was hammering, so I placed some towels on our floors (we don’t have carpet in this room) to cushion their landing.

Now, you see that P in the middle frame? I made that using these instructions at Young House Love.  I modified the instructions a little and ended up printing it out on our printer at home from a scan of the letter, but it was generally the same.

Here is the final look.

I finagled some furniture around, switched around some benches, and viola! A photo collage!

Now we just need some guests! Remember, there are only 2 shuttle launches left and you can watch the launches from our backyard!! :)

Next up, the long awaited dining room remodel!


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