Like I said in my Family Motto post, I love things in my home to be meaningful. Because of this I love our family photo stairway gallery wall. Our stairway opens to our main living room, so it’s easily seen and is a focus wall from the main part of our house. It makes me smile every time I walk by.
My boys love looking at themselves from years before and exclaiming, “Look how small I was!” or “That trip was so fun!” I wanted the collage to have color photos and black and white photos but also wanted to incorporate a few pieces of word art, a map of Michigan and some important religious images.
I wanted a uniform look that would be easy to put together so I bought all RIBBA frames from IKEA. They come in white, black, blonde and walnut. One side of the mat is off white, but if you want bright white you can just flip the mat over. Be aware, IKEA frames are strange sizes, so you may have to print your pictures in bigger sizes and then trim them down, but the savings are worth it. The frames have held up well, and I only spent about $160 TOTAL on the frames. Since this is a rental, that was all I really wanted to invest since it’s likely I won’t be able to transfer the photo wall in its entirety to our next place.
I developed all my photos at Costco and they turned out really well; however, you have to remember to NOT allow them to autocorrect your pictures and be sure they are cropped correctly for the bigger sizes. My large pictures were all professional photos and they printed very nicely even in especially large sizes. I’m guessing I spent about $40 total on prints.
Next came the hard part. I do not enjoy measuring or worrying about things being perfect, so I didn’t do any measuring and just kind of eyeballed things, but I did use this basic method to plan my gallery wall.
This was my cheap and ugly version:
As you can tell, it didn’t go exactly as the newspaper outline looked (you need a lot more space between the pictures than it seems like you will or than I planned because the 3D of the frames makes the space it covers on the wall much larger than the 2-D paper), so I had to adjust on the fly, but I love how it turned out even more than the plan.
I’m so glad I bought some extra frames to fill in the open spaces. The small frames at IKEA are between $2 and $5, so it doesn’t hurt to have a few of those on hand and I highly recommend you buying extra. I wish I were a photographer so the wall would look as good in photos as it does in real life ;), and it’s tough to get an angle that correctly shows the spacing for all the frames, but here is my best shot. Overall, it was easier and cheaper than I thought it would be and we all love the outcome.
The RIBBA frames I bought from IKEA:
9 3/4 x 9 3/4: $10 (3)
6 x 7 3/4: $2 (6)
20 1/2 x 28 1/4: $20 (1)
16 1/2 x 20 1/2: $15 (3)
12 1/2 x 16 1/2: $10 (2)
9 3/4 x 12 1/4: $5 (4)
20 1/2 x 20 1/2: $18 (1)
The printables I used (saved them all as jpegs and printed them at Costco too):
I LOVE YOU more than you guess (our own family saying, created by me in Picasa.)
Salt Lake Temple silhouette (created by a friend)
Map of Michigan (printed this out in color on white card stock and colored it in with a black Sharpie marker. So easy and free).
I hope the call me on a mission (free printable)
How do you display your family photos?
I love this Brooke! and I too hate the whole measuring and making it perfect thing. I may just copy your wall exactly! haha! It turned out so well. Nice job.
Woops was signed in as my husband???
Thanks Melanie! You are welcome to copy…it really was so much easier and more enjoyable than exact measurements!I have also heard that you can use command hook picture hangars if you don't want to put so many holes in the wall.
This is so great! I love it! I HATE measuring too – glad I'm not the only one!
Thanks! It's hard to know exactly what you want but be too impatient to do it ;). Story of my home improvement life.
I love the idea about the Michigan map! I've been trying to figure out how to get a good print for free. Thanks for sharing!
I know! I kept looking for them on Etsy and could not imagine paying so much. Hope it works out well for you!
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! Started something similar on my stairway but still need to finish it! You have given me the inspiration and great direction to do it! Love to your sweet and beautiful family!
Thanks Brooke! You are so sweet. It really was easier than I planned and that was a relief especially when you are transient. Love to you too!