DIY Gallery Wall

Hey y’all!! I wanted to share this project that I did for the gallery wall in my living room because it was SO easy to do and looked so great when it was finished. When we got settled into our apartment there was a huge wall in our living room that really needed some love. I knew I wanted to do some sort of gallery wall but I didn’t want to just go out and buy a bunch of random frames that had no sentimental meaning. Instead I wanted the wall to be a mix of frames that I had collected over the years and pictures of our family and friends.

Oversized canvases can be really expensive and I knew there had to be a way to get the look for less. After spending hours on Pinterest and messing up a few of my first attempts, I managed to get the look I wanted. Check out the rest of the post for a step by step guide so you can get this look in your home!

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The first step is trying to figure out how many pictures you want to use and how many canvases you will need for your project. To figure this out, I measured the wall I wanted to use and tried to get an idea of how much actual wall space I wanted my gallery wall to take up. I originally wanted to use HUGE canvases (like 3’x4′) but I found out that the largest print Costco could do was 16″x20″. That limited me to the smaller prints you see above. I went ahead and purchased seven canvases from Michaels that were all the same size, 14″x18″. You will need one more canvas than however many you plan to hang. I will explain that part later! I figured that the prints would be slightly larger than the canvas, an inch on each side, and that the overhang would allow me a little flexibility. You could definitely do different size canvases, especially since Costco will print in 10 different sizes, but I just wanted to keep it nice and simple.

Once you have your canvases, the next step is to figure out how you want to space them on your wall and if you want them to be hanging vertically or horizontally. This will dictate which pictures you use. Once you have figured out how you want to lay the canvases out and you pick the pictures your next stop is Costco.

Now I tried large scale print outs from both Fed Ex/Kinkos and Costco and I thought the quality of the Costco prints were much better. They were $6.99 each so it cost me about $45 to print out all 6 pictures. I chose to print mine in black and white because it matched the decor in our living room, but you can do them in color for the same price.

Below is a picture of the other supplies you will need for the project. Spray adhesive, a brush (either foam or a regular paint brush) and Modge Podge.

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So the first step in making the canvases is to lay out some sort of cloth or towel down onto your floor so that you don’t get the spray adhesive EVERYWHERE. It is really sticky and afterwards I wished I had used a larger drop cloth. My floors were tacky for days. In fact, it would probably just be best to do this outside. Outdoor space however is at a premium in Chicago so I will take what I can get.

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Then lay your first canvas down onto your drop cloth. Take your spray adhesive and spray an even coat onto your canvas. With any type of spray can you just want to make sure you keep your hand moving from left to right constantly so you are applying an even layer. Another tip is to make sure the can stays the same distance from the object you are spraying so that an even amount is being distributed onto the object.

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The next step is to place your image onto the canvas and press down on the image. The spray adhesive sets pretty quickly so make sure that as soon as you are done spraying you have your picture close by and ready to lay down onto your canvas.

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Then flip your canvas over and use your hand to apply pressure to the canvas. I went back and forth with my hand a few times to make sure the print had adhered to the canvas. This is especially important in the corners.

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I went ahead and repeated the same steps to the 5 other prints.

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Once you have all the prints attached to the canvases, you need to trim off the sides. I originally used a piece of cardboard and an X-Acto knife but the cardboard was a bad idea because it wasn’t sturdy enough so the edges of the print were frayed. I switched to a cutting board I had in my kitchen and that helped to make a much more clean cut. Just flip your canvas over like you see in the picture below, and trim off the overhanging edges.

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Once you have trimmed the edges off it is time to seal these puppies with some Modge Podge. I also used the Modge Podge to give the prints a little texture. So flip your canvas back over and grab your paint brush and the modge podge.

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See the frayed edges in the picture above?! That was from when I cut the edges on the piece of cardboard. Bad idea.

So next you are going to use your foam brush to start applying the Modge Podge. You want a nice layer of Modge Podge on the picture so be liberal with it. Once again just use even strokes and cover the entire canvas. I know this looks scary at first but I promise it will dry clear!

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Now here is where that extra canvas I told you to grab will come into play. I wanted to give my prints the texture of canvas so it looked like the print was printed onto the canvas itself. To accomplish this you are just going to grab the plain canvas and place it right face down on top of the printed canvas covered in Modge Podge. I know this sounds crazy but I promise it works!

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I once again just used my hands to push the canvases together and made sure that I had applied pressure to all parts of the canvas. When you lift the blank canvas off of the printed one you will see that the Modge Podge will have a canvas texture to it. Obviously the Modge Podge is still wet but it will dry clear and with the texture in tact.

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And that my friends is all it takes!! I let my canvases dry for a few hours and then just used a nail to hang them up on the wall.

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I added a couple of my favorite frames into the mix. I am in love with this gold sparkle frame that one of my best friends gave me for Christmas last year (thanks kelse!). I also added this wood chip wreath that I have from Pottery Barn. I bought it a few years ago and it is one of my favorite pieces. It added a lot of texture to the living room wall and a pop of color too!

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I am so happy with how this wall turned out. There are a few more things I would like to add to the wall eventually but it is a work in progress. I feel like personal pictures work wonders when trying to make your place feel more like home. I hope that y’all liked this project and it inspires you to tackle a project that you have been wanting to do around your home or to give this one a try!

Enjoy your weekend <3

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