DIY Frame Collage Fail

Good morning everybody!  Did you have a good weekend?  We spent our days off floating down the Buffalo River with my husband’s side of the family and had a blast.  We’re also both sporting some crazy sunburns today (even though we wore lots of sunscreen) – oops!

I’ve been trying to decide what to hang on the empty wall at the end of our hallway for awhile now, and when we got home yesterday I decided it was time to figure it out.  For the longest time, I’ve been inspired by this image.


(I believe it’s from an Apartment Therapy or Design*Sponge house tour, but I’ve been unable to track down the original source. UPDATE: It’s from Our Little Beehive!  Thanks for the source, Morgan!)

The repetition and scale of those large square prints really grabbed my attention.  Then, after posting this photo on Friday, I thought maybe I could DIY a combination of the two.  My thought was to create several large square canvases with photos from the same color family to hang in a column at the end of hall.

Cute Canvases, Target

That was the grand plan, but you’ll see I strayed a bit from the original vision.  I started by brainstorming ways to keep the costs down and decided I could substitute pieces of leftover MDF from the garage for the square canvases.  With that in mind, I needed to decide how big those squares would have to be to fill up the wall.

Canvas Sizes in Hall

I knew it could get very expensive to print photos larger than about 12″ wide, so I determined we’d need at least 2 columns of prints.  The paper templates you see in this photo are 8×8, 10×10 and 12×12 inches, respectively.

Canvas Sizes

Hmmm, not as dramatic as I’d hoped they’d be.  The 12″x12″ template had the best scale and presence by far, but I would still need at least 8 prints to fill up the wall.  I did a little research and determined that 12×12 prints typically cost at least $5 each.  In the spirit of saving money, I decided to look for another option.

Enter Plan B.  I have had 4 of these 12×12 square black frames squirreled away for a few months now, and decided to try one out and see if it would feel big enough in the space. I hung it up, and Stephen and I decided if we did a long column of square frames, and made sure our spacing was just perfect – it could work!  Another upside to the frame option is that I could print 8″x8″ photos, mat them, and save significantly on photo printing costs.

Deciding on Frame

After scrounging around for some nails and frame hangers, I had my supplies: 4 frames, 4 picture hangers, a hammer and nails, and a ruler.

12x12 Frame

I measured and marked the center of the frame on the top back edge.

Measuring Center

Then I hammered in my picture hanger.  Note the towel I used to protect my work surface and cushion the frame a bit.

Attaching Hanger

Then it was as easy as measuring the wall to find the center and placing the nails the same distance apart down the wall.  One…

1 Frame


2 Frames


3 Frames


4 Frames

I stepped back and admired the frames and started sorting through photos to pick my favorite four to print and frame.  I think Stephen and I settled on some great ones and I can’t wait to see how they turn out!

Hanging Frames

It wasn’t until walking by the frames later on that I realized something was off.  I stepped in closer to Frame #3 and saw this huge crack all the way through the glass!

Cracked Glass

FAIL!  I don’t know if the glass was like that when I bought the frame or if I cracked the glass when I was hammering in the picture hanger, but all of the sudden my inexpensive project went from low cost to low cost + new glass!  Boy did I feel like a dummy!

Looks like I’ll be comparing the cost to replace the glass versus just buying a new frame sometime soon.  Whichever way we go, I hope it can get done quickly because I’m ready to see this wall finally finished!

P.S. I ended up ordering 8×10 prints (which I will crop to 8×8 myself) from Walgreens instead of printing my photos at home.  Why? Because they are having a Father’s Day Sale on prints through June 8.  40% off means my photos were less than $2 each!

So tell me – what were you up to this weekend?  Any framing project successes?  Anybody make a dummy move like I did yesterday? 🙂


This entry was posted in art, hallway and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to DIY Frame Collage Fail

  1. Jenny B. says:

    I bet it will look great! I’ve got a few of those 12×12 frames, but I haven’t figured out exactly what to do with them yet. If you ever do decide to order some 12×12 prints, there are a couple of places online that have them cheaper. I’ve ordered prints of my digital scrapbook pages from both Persnickety Prints
    Persnickety Prints and Scrapbook Pictures. They’re about $2 each plus shipping, unless you catch a sale.

  2. The glass won’t cost very much. See if you have a local glass shop near you or call a nationwide one. That size should be very cheap!

    Love the idea! I have a gallery wall in the works too! So excited to get it together. A

    Also, you could still use the MDF and cut it to a larger size, paint it white, and use smaller photos to mount in the middle so they look matted. That is sort of what the “inspiration” photo looked like anyway. Good luck either way.

    If it makes you feel any better, I spray painted two lamps and wanted some stripes. When I taped off the stripes and painted them, I went to gently peel the tape off and it totally took off the white paint! FAIL! I’ll have to figure out a way to fix that one!!

  3. Cheryl says:

    I’ve seen those same frames at Hobby Lobby for about $10 each. They regularly put their wall frames on sale for 50% so you could get them for $5!

    I checked their website and wall frames aren’t on sale but they update their sales every week!

  4. nora says:

    I always buy my frames from Christmas Tree Shops (not sure if they are just in New England) but they are always really cheap ($4-10 for large ones). I always end up breaking class when I make collages or buy frames because it way more fragile than it looks. I ended up mounting prints on the brown back of the frame (it looked good with the colors) and I never replaced the glass on one of them. It was in my old apt with a ton of boys so I figured they’d just break it again. There was enough space so no one noticed but I will probably replace it when I unpack them in my new place!

  5. Morgan says:

    I love the look of those frames on the wall and I think it’s going to look amazing when you get your pictures in. We were working on the guest bedroom this weekend and my friend and I started working on the curtains! We’re going to use your method of hot gluing the ribbon on for tabs. I’m excited!

  6. Morgan says:

    Oh and that picture you first posted is from I really like their site too =)

  7. You know, you could just take the glass out of *all* the frames and see how you like it.. kind of an ‘exposed art’ statement 🙂

    The placement of the frames looks great – looking forward to the finished product!

  8. Alana says:

    Aww. Darn it. Once you fix it, I think it’s going to look so good. I was so inspired by that second photo of a collage (?) of pictures that all had pink in them. So cute!

  9. Thanks for the mention! I love the way the frames look in your hallway. I got our prints from, a photo storage site that prints wedding-photographer quality prints very inexpensively. That and the huge mats kept the cost down 😉

  10. Janet Lawson says:

    I love the idea of the picture wall and the way you incorporated it to fit your home and budget..Genius..This weekend my husband and I went and dad sat so my brother and his family could attend a graduation party..Sunday we washed screens in our house..I know ya can hardly believe how exciting my world is..LOL..I bet going down the Buffalo River was a blast..Did ya happen to take any photos?..Have a great week..

  11. Samantha says:

    Oooh thanks for the headsup at Walgreens!

  12. I ALWAYS seem to break glass in my frames – once I framed two huge posters and as I stood back to admire one I heard a strange noise… I had stepped directly in the middle of the second frame which I had lying on the floor (why the floor??). Needless to say, it broke to pieces and I had to get it replaced!!

    Sounds like you had a fun weekend – I wouldn’t mind floating down the river, sounds very relaxing! We had a pretty exciting weekend ourselves… we announced to our family and friends that we’re going to be parents!!! We are super excited, and can’t wait for our baby to arrive!! Now I have another room to decorate 🙂

  13. Michelle says:

    It’s going to look fabulous what a perfect place for some photo art.
    Bugger about the smashed glass but you know the whole ‘frame without the glass and insert look’ is very in but maybe not with this frame set!

  14. Pingback: Hallway Collage Complete | Welcome to Heardmont

  15. Pingback: Gotta Try It: DIY Photo Canvas | Welcome to Heardmont

  16. Pingback: 70 DIY Photo frames | Rilane - We Aspire to Inspire

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *