Memories... Like Mom Made!

Memories... Like Mom Made!
Out of dark moments, flowers grow.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Lorelei's Nursery Makeover: DIY Easy Frame Collage Tutorial Using Waxed Paper

About 6-7 years or so ago when I was in college, Pottery Barn had several uber cute pictures in their catalog of a collage of frames above a couch in a very expensive living room that I knew I would never be able to afford. But some very amazing and clever friends of mine recreated something similar in their VERY posh apartment that I have never been able to get out of my head (Jessica and Steven if you read this, yes I still think about your awesomeness!).

For years now I have thought about how cool their frame wall looked and I knew I was going to do it one day... But I never really had the time, place, energy etc... At my house in California I did something sort of like what I wanted to do, but it was on a very small scale and though I had always intended to expand it, it ended up smaller and smaller... See those frames on the right? That was my feeble attempt at a cool wall collage. Thanks to a stick horse that Landon used to strategically knock the frames off the wall, the frames ended up in pieces so eventually the collage was dismantled and the expansion of said collage never happened.

When I was planning Lorelei's room I knew I wanted a statement wall. Three of the walls in her room are white and I knew I wanted to put something spectacular on one of the walls. I also knew I didn't want to put the frames over her crib in case we had a rough storm and it knocked one of the frames loose while she was asleep (crazier things have happened!).

The biggest thing that I knew for certain was that I wanted to do this quickly and efficiently. I didn't want to spend hours measuring and planning and marking on the wall. I just wanted it to be easy and quick.

So after I prepared and painted and got all of the frames ready, it hit me.

I would use wax paper to make the perfect frame collage. Why didn't I think of this sooner? Surely this is genius in its purest form! Or just a happy accident, like most of my ideas...

So I started by playing around with the frames I wanted on my wall by shifting them around on the ground. Originally I started with a much larger number of frames. After playing around, I whittled it down to what you see here. Then I measured about how large my collage was going to be and wrote that measurement down.

Then I rolled out my waxed paper to just a little bit larger than my width (or length, depending on how you think, but I am talking about the horizontal length here) and tore three pieces in that length. If you have a bigger collage (vertically) than mine, you may need more pieces. But you get the general idea.

Once you have your wax paper, lay it out as straight and flat as you can, then tape in place carefully using Scotch or clear tape. I used big bright zebra tape because it was what I had on hand. After I got done with the tutorial I found my clear tape, but I was so glad I was done I didn't want to retake all the pictures just for the sake of the gaudiness sheer awesomeness of my tape. Oh and ignore the big bruise on my knee... and the fact that my knees were in this at all. I was trying to do this quickly so I snapped pictures as quickly as I could in between steps... oops!

Make sure the edges dont overlap or it will affect the straightness of your collage once you go to hang it on the wall. I used the edge of my wall to keep it straight and kept it there for when I laid my frames on top. Feel free to tape it to the carpet or floor to keep it from shifting. When you are ready to transfer to the wall, simply pull gently off the ground and fold the tape to the was paper so it doesn't stick to the wall in the wrong place.

Next lay the frames on top of the waxed paper exactly how you want it to look. I took a picture when I had my frames laid out to measure in the first step so that I could refer to it to get the frames perfect.

Using a black sharpie, carefully trace each of the frames as close to the edges as you can.

Remove all the frames and make sure it looks right to you before moving on.

Next decide how high up on your wall you want the collage to be, then hang the waxed paper collage on the wall. I decided I wanted the top of my collage to be exactly 12" from the ceiling. You can see I wrote that on the paper for my own benefit.

I wanted the whole collage to be almost centered on the wall (I chose to have it a few inches closer to the door than exactly perfect since the wall across from the door had a lot going on. I found this more visually appealing). I measured my wall and found where I wanted it to go, then measured 12" down from the ceiling and marked with a very small dot where the corner of my waxed paper template would need to hang. I repeated on the other side and taped the template in place. Then I measured again after taping to make sure it was perfectly even and didn't shift. Then I secured the bottom in place as well, making sure to smooth out the waxed paper carefully.

Then, starting in the upper left hand corner (because I felt like it), I placed my hangers on the wall. I used a variety of hangers I bought in a pack at Wal-Mart and chose each hanger based on the weight of the frame and the strength of the hanger. My favorite ended up being the little white ones because they were very easy to place and hang and very strong, but needed almost zero force to hang (a tiny tap from a hammer did it, but I could also press it in with my thumb) and left a tiny hole in the wall which was helpful if I needed to adjust it. This is due to the fact that they use gravity to stay put and don't actually need to be placed on a stud (though it wouldn't hurt!).

To  make sure I placed the wall hangers in the right spot I measured the hanger on the back of the frame and then marked it's placement on the template. I could have laid the wax paper over the top of the frames flipped back side up and marked them that way but I was anxious to get the collage up on the wall and this seemed just as easy and a little less complicated than  trying to keep the wax paper from wrinkling and slipping over a bunch of bulky frames.

As you can see in the picture above, I made a dot where the hanger on the frame is, but that isn't necessarily where the wall hanger needs to go: to make sure it lined up, I placed the receiving hook part of the wall hanger directly over the dot.

I hung the frame on top of the waxed paper to make sure I had it in the right spot, then moved on to the next frame. When I was finished, I stepped back and made sure I had them all how I wanted them to be, then gently pulled the waxed paper down, ripping it away from the nails and anchors and hangers. I didn't bother removing the frames because I really didn't have to, but if you are worried, feel free to take them down first.

Be careful when removing the paper if you don't want to remove the frames. Don't go nuts and rip it straight off the wall or you will likely get nailed in the head by a frame. Instead, first remove the tape, then pull straight down by pressing your hand flat against the wall on top of the waxed paper and drag it down. It should come away rather easily.

Now you are done! Dust off your hands and pat yourself on the back while you admire your gorgeously decorated wall!

 Ignore the empty frame... I haven't made up my mind what I want to put there or if I just want to rip away the back to expose the wall like in the other tiny frame.

Another empty frame to ignore, but I do have a project in mind for that one! Just have to do it! You can also catch a glimpse of my curtains I made. I just love how they turned out. And of course the Ombre Rosette Pillow and the Drab to Fab Rocking Chair Re-Do. I have had so much fun redecorating my baby girl's bed room!

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