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Thursday, March 27, 2014

UHeart Organizing: Darling DIY Art Display

A home filled with children's artwork is a home filled with love.  Something about those sweet little drawings and scribbles on the wall brings warmth and happiness to any area.  Anneke of This, That & Life is here today to share how she created a darling art display for her children's artwork; which really feels like it is highlighted while blending seamlessly with the rest of their beautiful home.



You guys.  Seriously.  As a mom of three kiddos in the month of "almost" April, the amount of fantastic creative work that comes home from school was beginning to overwhelm me and honestly create HUGE mommy guilt of what to do with all of it.  I know this is a common dilemma these days and I have seen plenty of creative solutions out there, but none of them quite resonated with me and our family.  I love the idea of using digital means to remember our kid's creative endeavors, but I wanted to create something that allowed everyone to celebrate, enjoy, and appreciate the actual piece of art that any one of our kids had created.  Our girls have been involved with an after school art program and would bring home painted canvases, oil pastel works, and so on.  Since my kids know that I refinish and build furniture, I felt that it was the perfect opportunity to take what I love and use it to show them how much I love them and that what they create matters too.  I've been working on bringing some life and personality to our upper hallway {where you can see the "before"} and found the perfect way to showcase their work by creating a custom art display for each of them.  Here's what we ended up with and we are so happy with the results!



Here were my personal requirements and details for this project:  The art displays needed to be accessible for each of the kids to change their artwork whenever they wanted:
  • This is their art, and they have A LOT of it!  I wanted to free my time while still allowing us all to appreciate their work as a family by not creating something that would be a hassle to change out so frequently.  I needed to consider the height they were displayed, whether they involved glass or hooks, etc.  This solves a problem area without creating another one, and that's win-win!
  • We chose to hang these at the end of the hallway coming from the kid's bedroom {yes, all three share!}.  It's where we all pass multiple times a day.  We decided to go with clothespins spaced evenly and secured with hot glue so the art wouldn't slide around.  We might upgrade to something a little fancier in the future, but for now it was a quick, easy, and affordable option.  We could have painted or stained them as well, but the kid's wanted them to stay "as is".
  • They needed to fit a variety of sizes of artwork.   We have anything from 11 x 14 paintings to small photos to display. This needed to fit all of these art mediums in a non-sliding, secure format.
  • They needed to be affordable to build, preferably with materials already on had.   Use what you got if you can, right?!   From how these were hung to what they were built with, we did pretty well.  We had to buy a few materials, but the cost on materials and time was low.  Even if we bought all materials brand new, the cost of each art display would only be about $20 each. Sweet!  For this project we used whitewood boards from the hardware store, heavy duty D-rings, our brad nailer, stain, some clothespins and hot glue.  Easy peasy!  See the cut list and plan below.



  • I preferred that they fit the style of our home {vacation rental turned permanent residence} so they could "grow" with the kids or be used elsewhere in the future.
  • These would be great finished in any color or stain, and can be easily changed, but we wanted to start out with a basic stain that fit our home now and in multiple places.  Maybe down the road we choose to display large portraits.  That will work with the style and finish we chose.
  • The kids would get to have some creative say in what they looked like.  Sometimes it's hard for me to let go and let my kids get involved in some things. I'm totally working on this because I know how important it is, and after all, I was doing this for them.  Of course they should be a part of the decision making process!  They are 4, 6, and 8 just for reference.  This was the perfect opportunity to get them in the mix of it, excited, and proud of the result.   I gave them some choices in stain and we went with Minwax Classic Gray.  They decided what to do with the clothespins and left them "as is". They helped me decide on the design and how to arrange the boards.  It was overall very FUN!  My oldest even was over the moon because she got to use the brad nailer for the first time, which is pretty much the funnest tool in my opinion!


    No more piles of artwork.  No more sad faces feeling unappreciated for their hard work.  High fives ALL around!



    Want to make these yourself?  Here's a general tutorial:


    As a general rule, you should always "cut to measure" and "measure twice, cut once".  You know why you only see two of these in this post while I have three children???  Yup. I screwed up on a measurement for my border, and then ran out of wood. Oops!  We all make mistakes, but thankfully this one is just a trip to the store and not much lost material.


    This project will turn out much cleaner around the edges if you are able to measure and cut "on site", particularly with the 1 x 3s for the border. If not, you can use the measurements provided. Always check with your local store to see if they can cut your boards for you!


    1. Cut your 1" x 4" and 1" x 6" main boards. Sand and clean them. Then apply your stain or paint following your product's instructions. I used Minwax Classic Gray.
    2.  Place your boards front side down, alternating a 1" x 4" board with a 1"x 6" board. I spaced mine with quarters and provided measurements accordingly.
    3. After getting your boards square (such as with a T-square), attach the 1" x 2" boards with at least two 1.25" brad nails (either 16- or 18-gauge) per board as shown in the illustration above.
    4. Now cut your 1" x 3" boards (to measure) with a 45 degree miter cut on the ends and stain or paint them. You can use the alternative framing style, but your measurements will change slightly, so be sure to account for this.
    5. One by one, line up and attach your 1" x 3" boards (as seen in the photos) so that the back of the display is flush with one edge of the 1" x 3" board. The edges of the main display will line up about the middle of the 1" x 3" board and this is where you will nail the board into the main display with brad nails. GO SLOW! And if unsure about the alignment, angle the nail gun slightly towards the back side. Creating a faint line with a pencil may help.
    6.  Attach your D-rings to the top back edge of the 1" x 3" boards.
    7.  Hot glue your clothespins slightly below the top 1" x 3" board.
    8.  Hang it up, display your art or photos, and enjoy!

      There you have it! I hope you enjoy this fun project!  If you give it a go, I 'd love to see it.  Especially if you get your kiddos in the mix or change it up a bit to make it your own!   You can share it with me via Facebook or tag me on Instagram at @thisthatandlife under #ttlprojects.  Thanks again for having me today!


      "Hi everyone! I'm Anneke and you can often find me working with some tools, browsing for great furniture finds, or getting all girly for a date night! Like many of you, I'm often looking for ways to make life run more smoothly amidst kids, messes, responsibilities, and limited time. I recently celebrated the awesome 3-0, ten crazy years of marriage with my hubby Michael, and have the privilege of being a stay-at-home mom to 3 amazing kiddos, not to mention our sweet miniature schnauzer. We live in the beautiful Northwest, near Seattle. Although I have a degree in Music, my brain spins with ideas about DIY projects, interior design, health, and family, all of which I blog about over at This, That and Life. I am beyond thrilled to be a part of the wonderful contributing team at IHeart Organizing and can't wait to get to know some of you better as well!"

      12 comments:

      1. This is absolutely awesome. I love it! And I can't wait to have my husband make one for each of our kids. They're two and three so the art coming home just isn't "permanent" frame worthy but we want them to know we celebrate their scribbles now!

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        1. Thank you Julia! That is such a fun age and this is easy for that age to hang up their work too!

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      2. This is a great alternative to displaying kid's artwork instead of the almighty refrigerator! I hate throwing away "lesser" pieces of artwork, but we can't keep it all, right? Thanks for the great idea!

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        1. We get SO much! Almost daily!!! Some still ends up on the fridge, but these have helped really highlight those very special works of art. :-)

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      3. These are great! I'm very inspired. We also have massive amounts of artwork come through the house, and it's hard to know what to do with it all. Thanks for sharing!

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        1. Thank you Amy! We talk with our kids about learning through art and recycling, but it's hard to part with art you know is so special to them. We're loving this so much!

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      4. My kids are great little artists and their work is all over the house. I love the idea of a central place to display it and this is absolutely beautiful with a fantastic rustic flair.

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      5. Thank you so much Maureen! We're really having fun with it and it's so easy for them to be involved. I love that it could be a glossy bright white, bright colors, black, whatever. It will work in many places! Thanks again and have an awesome week with your little artists! :-)

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      Thanks again my lovely friends! XO!