Have you seen the stunning gallery wall photos on Pinterest and in various home-decorating magazines? So have I! I really wanted to do this for my bedroom, to fill up the huge, boring, blank wall behind my bed, but I didn’t want to spend a fortune. With frames priced anywhere from $8 to $50 at most home-decor stores, by the time you add the prints and additional decor items, you’re way out of my budget. So, I started to do a little research and I found a ton of ways to save money while creating a fantastic gallery wall!
Re-Use Old Frames
The first thing I did was take stock of the frames in my home and find ones I wasn’t using or ones I had stored and forgotten about. It doesn’t matter if they’re not the color you want, because a small amount of spray paint or even acrylic paint can fix that issue quickly. Think of these as free frames that you gave yourself!
This is one of a pair of frames I purchased at a yard sale for $1 each. They were all white originally, but I used acrylic paint to paint them black. It took about 5 minutes.
Print Your Own Pictures
Rather than purchasing prints, you can simply print your own pictures. Find something you love and with the click of a button, it can be yours! Pinterest is absolutely full of free printables for gallery walls; a quick search will show you hundreds and hundreds of options. I love the look of this linocut, which I found with an image search. To make it a little warmer and give it a true art feel, I printed it on Kraft paper and then cut it to size. It costs pennies per print!
Purchase Used Frames
Another perfect way to save money and create a gorgeous gallery wall is to purchase used frames. I found a pair of gorgeous silver frames for $1.09 each at a thrift store. They were brand new and originally retail for about $10 each. Score!
That is also an image I printed myself, after looking at a ton of gallery wall photos and deciding that I really loved the look of abstract, fun prints.
Re-Use Old Canvases
Do you have any canvases around your home that you just don’t love anymore? As someone who loves to dabble a bit with painting, I have quite a few of them. I found a couple that were the same size and just quickly painted over what was on them with white acrylic paint.
You can see that I wasn’t even very neat with the paint job (as evidenced by the bit of black paint remaining). You kill two birds with one stone using this method; you de-clutter your home of things you don’t love and repurpose them into gorgeous gallery wall additions.
Get Creative with Things You Already Have
Speaking of this canvas picture, I wanted to create a fun and vintage-looking piece for the gallery wall so I found an old book that I picked up from a free book giveaway at our local library. Inside were these beautiful pages with maps in the perfect color for my bedroom decor. I simply cut the pages out and used ModgePodge to attach them to the canvas. I also used two coats of Polycrilic that I already had to give them a shiny look. I ended up creating a matching set using the maps and canvases.
Consider Using Odd Items to Create Art
I also lined the pictures with silver thumb tacks to match a throw pillow I had picked up for my bed, and to give the art a bit of a polished look! I love the way it turned out. You can use all sorts of items that you wouldn’t ordinarily consider for home decor. Spray-paint faux flowers and glue them to the canvas. Write on the canvas with hot glue and then spray paint over it. You can even use ModgePodge to add scrapbook paper to the canvases for an instant artsy look!
Frequent Facebook Sales Sites
I am a big fan of the sales sites for my area on Facebook. I have picked up all sorts of things for very low prices. I purchased this mirror and a matching one (as well as a matching lamp) for just $20. These mirrors are vintage, heavy and I fell in love with them instantly. I didn’t even know what I was going to do with them when I purchased them but it just so happened that they were the perfect addition to my bedroom. I placed them right behind the nightstands and they coordinate perfectly with the gallery wall.
Don’t let the look of an item deter you right away if there is something you can do to improve it. A tacky ceramic item in colors you hate can become a chic piece when spray-painted all one color. Vintage books can turn into altered art and serve as the perfect decor item. Always try to see the potential in an item, especially if it’s a super cheap item!
Even if you don’t think you’re artistic, you can create a lot of fun things using leftover or saved pieces of material. For Easter, my children received adorable gifts inside small, unfinished wooden crates. When one of them broke, I scooped up the pieces and saved them. Using a sharp knife, some glue, and a little paint, I made arrows similar to ones I had seen in an Anthropologie catalogue!
Now, these aren’t part of my gallery wall, but I am considering making another one (or two) to add to it, because I love them so much! They only took a few hours to create, and I really like the way they mesh with my living room decor.
Learn the Value of ModgePodge
This stuff is magic! You can use it to make all sorts of things, including items for your gallery wall. I use it often, and it’s not expensive. My local Dollar Tree has small bottles of the matte and gloss kind, so I stock up when I see it, and I always have some on hand.
ModgePodge can be used to create beautiful pieces, including those super adorable wooden photos you see floating around on Pinterest. All you have to do is coat the surface of the wood with this stuff, stick the picture on, and cover the picture with another coat of ModgePodge. It’s that simple. Affix a ribbon or a metal hanger and you’re done.
Make Your Own Shadowboxes
I love shadowboxes! They can be used for so many different things, including as part of your gallery wall. However, shadowboxes can be a bit expensive at home decor stores. Create your own by purchasing $1 frames at your local Dollar Store. Remove the backs of the frames, and hot glue the glass to the frame so it doesn’t move. Next, find a box (any box – cereal box, shoe box, etc.) and paint it whatever solid color you’d like. Cut the front surface off using a box cutter, and cut the top off as well so you have a box with an open top and front.
Next, hot glue the frame to the box so that it sits on the front, just like a shadowbox. Place whatever you’d like inside and you have a $1 shadowbox that took just a few minutes to create.
Create a Chic and Super Cheap Mirror Addition
Many gallery walls right now feature a super cute sunburst mirror or mirror of some sort. These can be expensive, but you can create your own using a cheap mirror from your local Dollar Store and some skewers or small wooden dowels. Simply cut them to the size you want, paint them whatever color you’d like, and then hot-glue them to the back of the mirror.
Create Thumbtack Art on Canvas…
Back to those thumbtacks again! They’re pretty handy and they can be quite artistic, too. A genius on Pinterest thought of creating art using metal thumbtacks, and made a masterpiece. You can use a template or stencil to create whatever pattern you want on your canvas (your monogram, a symbol, etc.) and then fill it in with tacks. It’s an easy and beautiful addition for any gallery wall.
…Or Directly on the Wall
You don’t even have to use a canvas if you don’t want to. Stencil your design directly on your wall and fill it in with thumbtacks there. This is a great option for renters because although you will create tons of tiny little holes, they are a breeze to fill in before you move, so you can be sure to get that security deposit returned!
Make Tiny Mirrors As Fill-in Pieces
You can create smaller mirrors if you’re in need of a few fill-in pieces in interesting shapes. Simply use can or jar lids of whatever size you need and some super glue to affix small compact mirrors to the lids. You can paint the lids first if you want, or not. It’s up to you. They’re easy, adorable additions to your gallery wall that will add interest and beauty.
Create Platter Art
Most Dollar Stores sell aluminum platters in a variety of sizes and shapes. Grab several of these and some spray paint and you have the material to create a beautiful and unique gallery wall. Or, just make one and add it to your existing pieces. Just spray paint the platter and hang it! You have an easy and awesome addition to your gallery wall.
Do you have any awesome (and inexpensive) gallery wall ideas? I’d love to hear about them. Using my found, repurposed and used items, this is the gallery wall I ended up with:
Let me know what you think or what you might have done differently!