DIY Frame Collage (Distracts From An Unsightly Banister)

April 06, 2011   //  Posted in: Decor, DIY, Stairwell   //  By: Emily   //  6 responses

I’ve had a little idea brewing for a few months, but it took me reinstalling the handrail in the stairwell to give me a the little boost I needed to get the project rolling. I finally installed that little gallery of frames!

Reason for my interest in getting in it done? I think the banister is an eyesore. I’m still thinking of ways I can make it a little better (thanks to those who have offered suggestions!) but in the meantime, this collage helps to take the eye off the handrail and more on the detail of the hand selected prints, photos, and drawings.

The new frame collage in the stairwell.

I started out by selecting the frames that I knew I wanted to surround the big center print you see above in the white frame (it’s the Mark Twain House print that I splurged on at Hero Design and wrote about over here). I simply laid them all out and had a good look at what I had to work with:

Some extra frames with potential for the wall collage.

And you might recognize some of those black ones as the frames I painted with my new Sherwin-William’s product (the Color-To-Go product worked better than expected).

I like to think I’m spatially adept (major segue: I scored really high on a test in grade school that somehow translated into me being the champion of fitting the most in the dishes in the dishwasher = I should also be good at organizing a simple wall pattern). The thing with these frames though, I couldn’t figure it out. I had been stumbling while trying to organize a concise configuration, and consequently hung several frames oddly (contributing to several new totally weird holes in the wall that will still need to be patched)… but then that handy couple over at Young House Love showed how they did their pretty frame wall (read about that over here) and the RIGHT way to do it became very clear.

I made a template for each frame quickly with newspaper, taped them up, shifted them, re-taped, shifted, and lived with the pattern for a few days.

A little stairwell newspaper collage helped to get the frame placement in order.

Then I gradually began hanging new frames into place. I did a few frames a day instead of all at once to take my time and make sure I could live with the placement before I got too far ahead of myself. I also needed the new red-orange and yellow frames to dry well before they were hung. And the sailboat print that I bought over the winter finally found a home in a RIBBA frame above the radiator (I bought it from Amber Perrodin, and you should check out her other prints too if you like what you see here). Eventually there will be enough frames to connect it to the main collage but I wanted to put it directly beneath the window and above the radiator because 1) I didn’t want it to get disguised in a slew of frames and 2) I wanted to be able to see it from the couch in the living room, which I can.

The sailboat art from Amber Perrodin hangs over the radiator. Eventually there will be enough prints to connect it to the collage.

Some of the frames feature prints that I’ve accumulated over the years. A few others are Julia’s art or my own photographs. A few more feature images from Anthropologie catalogues. FYI – I save every Anthro catalogue for tear sheets since the photography and imagery style is usually quite consistent… makes for nice material when you’re looking for something cute and colorful to frame.

I even incorporated a recycled paper bulletin board that I bought from Bed, Bath & Beyond’s clearance section not so long ago – I’m kind of liking how it adds a little functionality to the otherwise static display.

A square recycled paper bulletin board tucked in amongst the frames.

I’m excited over how well it turned out. I hope I made it look easy so you might be encouraged to try it yourself – it really adds a lot to an otherwise stark wall, and since I worked with frames I already had, it didn’t demand any additional investment.

  • ginnie
    7 years ago - Reply

    I can’t wait to get more art on the walls as well! You did a great job! I have a very small wall that I’m going to stagger frames/art on..we’ll see how it turns out. Right now I’m still trying to build up a collection.

    I got your email, I’m still brainstorming! I haven’t forgotten. :)

  • Mindy
    7 years ago - Reply

    Hi Emily,
    Nice job on the frames! I love how you placed them!

    Just wanted to let you know that Sherwin Williams is having a sale this weekend (04/08-04/10) that gives you 40% off all paints and stains! That’s a really good deal and I believe it applies to the “Color To Go” samples as well.
    :-) I plan to take advantage of the deal!

    • Emily
      7 years ago -

      Thanks to both of you! Nice heads-up about the sale – those to-go samples really go far if you have some projects to tackle and maybe I will go pick up a few more (and some more clear coat spray paint to make sure it lasts).

  • Shannon @ Compartment Life
    7 years ago - Reply

    Ugh I guess since this is like the 3rd post this month that I have seen about wall collages, congratulations, you have just guilted me into getting off my bum and doing my own wall collage. I can only hope mine will come out as beautiful as yours!

    • Emily
      7 years ago -

      Thanks Shannon! This took me longer to implement than I care to admit. I’ve been scheming to do one of these for 15 years :)

  • Cait @ Hernando House
    7 years ago - Reply

    Looks great, Emily! We’re working on one for the dining room that I keep forgetting to finish/post about.

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