I crunched some numbers and realized that it took me 237 weeks since moving in to get art hung on the walls of our master bedroom. Mild case of “hole-in-the-wall-phobia.”
Now, I know that’s totally crazy. I know how to patch and paint and I’ve done it plenty, but in the interest of hanging the art in the right damn space on the first try, it took this long (yup, 4.5 years) to actually make things happen without rushing the process just to check it off the list.
It’s especially nice to finally live in a bedroom that doesn’t feel like my first apartment where I was forbidden from damaging the drywall. And you how daylight reflects off frame glass? It sure makes a room feel more homey (also, impossibly hard to photograph).
Backtrack for a sec before this becomes all about me being weird for not wanting to put nails into my drywall. Part of the reason this took so long was also due to the fact that we really needed new bedroom dressers. The set of IKEA MALM dressers I bought 10+ years ago has now been fully recalled–now to the point where IKEA is begging to come pick them up to spare you the inconvenience of having to rent a truck in order to transport them back to a store–but when you’re outfitting your “forever home” you want to buy “forever dressers” and it’s really hard to commit to “forever dressers” without making some sort of concession for budget/quality/size/finishing details when you’re simultaneously under the pressure of recalled dressers that may or may not tip on your children because you haven’t anchored them to the wall (back to being obsessed about perfect, hole-free drywall). In short, we’ve been waiting it out until the right dresser at the right price point came into line of sight. Fortunately, that opportunity knocked sometime last fall when a decent set of Benson 6-drawer dressers at West Elm caught my eye. They’re no longer available in the light oak color we bought, but the darker walnut option is available here. Originally priced around $1,200/each, they were marked down to $699 + some bonus discounts + 20% west elm card bonus cash back (+ an exorbitant amount for shipping and setup) and the set of 2 new dressers cost about $1,700 from store-to-door. Pricing-wise, they were a good bargain considering that the units I had really been coveting were about 4x more expensive–completely unjustifiable to my spending senses (but I still love you, DWR). The West Elm dressers were also the perfect size and scale for the wall I had been scheming for in our room, and the lighter veneer wood finish was ideal, too. It’s hard to find light wood pieces that are modern but not just white.
I took a few “before” photos for a good laugh, knowing that it would be crazy to look back on this wall someday and recalling that we lived with it looking like this for 4+ years.
I openly admit that I have a love/hate relationship with West Elm furniture. I had some reluctance about buying dressers there because we’re less than thrilled with our Tillary Sectional, but it doesn’t end there. Our mod upholstered bed frame is literally about to collapse on the floor because a leg is 2-seconds from breaking off (they sent a backup part but angled legs on any furniture get a thumbs-down from me now), and I always thought the drawers in store felt like they had cheap sliders… but all that said, I took a risk and these ones aren’t too bad. They close nicely and slide smoothly, and the leather handles do feel nice and higher end than other products at the same price point.
The real perk of getting new dressers was finally being able to finish that end of the bedroom with some artwork. Our collection is a nice mix of prints that we’ve been gifted (or gifted each other), small originals that we’ve purchased, and a whole bunch of random treasures we’ve collected or inherited. It still took me months to decide which pieces would be hung above the dressers on the wall to make the space feel more finished, but I considered:
I sat around and brewed about the options for months, planning that I would have them selected and hung on New Years Day if all my ducks aligned.
Didn’t quite make my deadline–I’ll almost always choose a lazy day with friends over a self-imposed deadline–but I got it done in the goal week and boy, did that ever deserve a high-five.
Hanging artwork to be bottom-aligned is so much like installing any type of gallery wall that it hardly feels like it needs much explanation, but what I did was:
As for our 6 frames? Left to right:
What began as an idea to foster our daughter’s fine motor skills, turned into something that quickly became one of my favorite ever-changing pieces of art. In many of the art classes and craft camps that our kids have participated in, there’s often a fun weaving element that makes use of simple homemade looms. The result is usually so pretty that it’s actually display-worthy (and it beats the hell out of finger painting). They use round weaving looms to weave small rugs; rectangular looms for hot pads, placemats, and wall decor; even long, narrow looms used to design camp bracelets way more ornate than any of the braided embroidery thread things I ever created.
What we ended up with here though, is something that parents, kids, and your everyday wreath-lover will enjoy – a forever customizable weaving loom wreath made from a slice of tree trunk, and a tautly pulled cord. I have total heart-eyes for how it embraces nature to become a beautiful showpiece when hung at the front door. My preschooler loves the concept of this loom wreath too – afternoons are for crafting, and her designs are most often made of things she sources from around own home and in our own backyard. Will it wreath? Yes, almost always.
Mine had some roughness from the chainsaw that I smoothed out. If your wood is store-bought, it was probably already planed to perfection; what I used was actually the base from my old rustic wreath, because waste not! Use a jigsaw to cut a hole in the center of the wood, and there you have it – something perfectly wreath-shaped. Add a hook to the backside of the wreath at this point too, so you can hang it up easily once you’re done decorating.
I used 1/2” staples, and I’m glad that I did << the best part of this project. Weaving cord around nails may have been hard if the head of the nail wasn’t wide, and the cord certainly would have been more inclined to pop off while weaving. Furthermore, staples are pretty smooth, not as likely to poke, scratch or snag your children if you’re using this loom as an educational tool. Staples, once installed, proved to be incredibly kid-friendly, and made it super easy to secure the cord.
Adding the staples is easy with an electric staple gun, but possible with a manual staple gun as well. Place the staple so that it is only half-way jabbed into the surface of the wood. I encourage you to test this a few times on a piece of scrap wood so that you know how much pressure to apply to the tool to achieve the perfect depth (after all, pressing gently on a stapler is everything we’ve been trained not to do).
Add staples all around the center circle of your wreath, side-by-side. When you’re done, count how many staples are around the middle (I had 28) and place the same number of staples along the outer edge of the wreath, evenly spaced (another 28 staples for me).
Use a heavy cord like twisted nylon kite string–or jute, if you don’t find it too difficult to thread a thicker strand through the staples–for the next step. Weave the cord back and forth through the inner and outer staples to create a zig zag all around the wreath. (Another affiliate link there so you can see what I used.)
Be sure that the cord is taut before you knot it off.
Source your materials for weaving and decorating. Branches, flowering weeds, leaves, garden trimmings, fronds. Basically, if it’s at least a few inches long, it’ll work. Consider pieces of natural fibers as well, and ribbons and other craft materials too.
Weave the materials in and out of the cord, overlapping and encompassing the frame of the wreath.
My fall wreath uses items straight from our yard and garden, including branches, leaves, a sunflower, and even weeds growing in amongst brush that would ordinarily go unbothered.
Modify the wreath for other seasons too – faux-flowers are one easy way to add color to the outdoor wreath during the winter and early spring. Layer them over real branches to help make them look more realistic and natural.
This was a great kids’ project because it spurs creativity and fosters development of fine motor skills. My daughter selected colorful pipe cleaners and ribbons for one of our iterations.
Hang the wreath in a prominent place, where you can continuously adapt the design and components as new flowers bloom, and seasons change.