Apr 24, 2014

one room challage-week 4: working on a budget gallery wall

it is week 4 on the one room challenge!
week 1 
week 2 
week 3

i was really busy with work, and didn't have time to tackle some of the projects i was planning on.
what i DID do was work on gathering some art for the gallery wall, which will be on the back wall of the office.
i am a big fan of gallery walls. i want the one in this room to feel loose, eclectic and a reflection of things i love and items that have meaning to me.

building a gallery wall can cost a small fortune. even the smallest wall may need 10 or more items, and by the time photos are printed or art purchased, and are either custom framed or mats and frames are bought, the cost can be staggering.

while working on my gallery wall, i have employed a few tricks to keep my costs down.
lucky for you, i am going to share them with you today! (not a single idea costs over $25!)

1. soft landscape original art in white frame
total cost: $25
ikea ribba frame = $10
original art purchased at local craft fair = $15

this piece is on the high end of my affordable gallery wall ideas, but i think the texture and movement from and original piece of artwork adds so much to any room! to save money, consider making the art yourself!

2. fossil fish in wood tone + linen shadow box
total cost: $21
target shadow box = $12
fossil fish, purchased on ebay = $9

i used loctite indoor adhesive to attach this fossil to the linen background of this shadow box, and let it dry overnight. if you haven't shopped on ebay before, you need to give it a try! it is a wonderful place to hunt for one of a kind treasures for your home. i have bought pages from books, vintage postcards, original art, and embroidery pieces...just to name a few. to make this even less expensive, find a shadow box at a thrift store, paint it, cover the back with a scrap of linen and use a piece of driftwood, a great rock from a hike or a pressed flower from your wedding or other special occasion!

3. snake print in wood frame with gold accents
total cost: $2
thrift store frame : $1
print taken from old calendar: $1

this is the cheapest and easiest artwork ever! thrift stores can be amazing places to find good quality, unique frames for almost nothing! 

this frame was a little beat up, so i just rubbed it with some stain (leftover from here and here) that i had on hand and used a gold marker to highlight the edges and the very inside lip of the frame. 

the snake print was a little bit larger than the frame, so i just trimmed it to size. 

4. mustard deer embroidery on black
total cost: $17.25
ikea ribba frame: $10
embroidery from trip to mexico: $7
black paper: .25

if i am ever feeling lazy or cheap and don't want to get a frame cut for a piece, i just mount it directly onto a sheet of good quality scrapbook paper. if the piece is larger than 12" in any direction, then i use canson paper. for this piece, i just used adhesive dots to attach the embroidered fabric onto a piece of black paper. this project can also be done with a beautiful scrap of fabric or wallpaper. bonus points if it has some meaning---a small cutting of your mothers wedding dress? wallpaper from the home of your grandparents? 

5. sepia wave print in modern wood frame
total cost: $11
target frame: $11
art printed from internet: 0

the cheapest and easiest artwork ever! there are so many resources for printable art. just choose your favorite, print it and frame it! so easy and you can customize the print to fit your mat!
my favorite source is the new york public library digital gallery.
jennifer did an amazing round up you can check out as well!

6. small fossil in two tone shadow box 
total cost: $7
frame, bought on sale at michaels: $6
stone fossil, purchased on trip to southern utah: $1

this frame was super cute and cheap, and i couldn't resist. if you like the look of this two tone frame, recreating it would be super easy with some spray paint and tape. for this piece, i simply put a small fossil from a family trip onto a piece of scrapbook paper (i like the paper to have some texture) with some adhesive dots! simple, cute, and every time i look at it, i am reminded of being on vacation with my favorite people.

7. pastel beach scene in gold rope frame
total cost: $8.25
thrift store frame: $1
original art, purchased on etsy: $8
paper: .25

this piece was a little more tricky than it looks. i actually "made" this thrift store frame into a very shallow shadow box by adding a spacer.

i got mine free from my local framer since this was such a small piece, but you can see something similar here. you just trim the spacer to fit, peel the paper off of the adhesive, and stick it to the glass. this created enough space for me to mount this tiny pastel beach scene onto some double stick foam, which gives the piece some dimension, and since it is held off the glass, will also keep the artwork from smudging.

there is still a lot to do! i am hoping that a LOT will get done this week, including:
finding the perfect wall light
stripping and staining the desk
adding the shelves!!

stay tuned, and thanks for following along!


  1. You are so right. Gallery walls, especially the grandiose ones up to the ceiling, can be $$$. Love your tips, and your choices are excellent!!

  2. Some fabulous gallery wall ideas Autumn, can't wait to see it in place!

  3. So clever Autumn....I love every piece and great job on the savings:)

  4. I like your resourcefulness Autumn. I'm trying to use as much as I can from what I already have on hand. This is going to look great.

  5. great ideas! i love that you have a color palette going on between all the pieces.

  6. Love all of these ideas Autumn! Your collection is looking great. Thanks for the shout out!

  7. Great ideas! Very creative work!

  8. These look beautiful. I love that each piece is so unique. Hope you are surviving week 5!

  9. these look great! I love how cohesive the full arrangement is, even though they are all so unique

  10. I'm always trying to do things on a budget and this is GREAT! Especially the free vintage art!

  11. Love how you gave the break-down for your art. Great tips and the combination looks fantastic.

  12. How awesome! What a perfect tips for an amazing gallery wall! Thanks!