How to Create a Photo Wall Without Breaking the Bank

I’ve had a blank wall in my living room for 13-months, and I felt as if I had run out of creativity and cash to decorate.  So Every morning I would walk by the BLANK WALL on my way to the bathroom, and I’d pray for some inspiration.  And then one night, Ellie came to visit me at work, and she hung out with some of the very talented and admirable people I work with, and I snapped some adorable shots of her.

And then I thought to myself, “God, this kid has such an amazing New York City life.. actually, so do I!  And I have tons of pictures of our amazing experiences in this amazing city…”

So for another couple of months I pondered how I could hang those pictures in a creative and low-cost way – even cheap frames can add up to a pretty penny when looking to buy dozens, so I turned to Facebook for suggestions.  One of my friends pointed me in the direction of these AMAZING BUTCH and harold Stickr wall frames.  Sounds crazy – right?  But these are pretty much fool proof funky frames, that come in a variety of colors and styles…and the best part is, they are cheap!!!  $19.95 for 8 frames!!!

I mentioned my idea to my sister and she suggested I use the BUTCH and harold Stickr frames as well as traditional frames to create depth, and to avoid creating a wall that looked like it was best suited in my toddler’s bedroom (by the way – I also used these frames in my daughter’s room and they look great in there too).

And viola! My vision was born.  Here’s how I created what I call my I LOVE NY wall.

1.  Establish a Color Scheme

My living room was pretty much a blank canvas of brown, beige and taupe.  But…I LOVE hot pink.  I’m sorry.  I do.  True story. So I decided this was the perfect opportunity to work that color into my living room.

2. Assess What You Already Have

The journalist in me has always appreciated photos of life’s big and small events, and over the years I managed to collect a good amount of standard black 8×10 and 5×7 picture frames.  I dug them out of the closet, took all of the glass out of them and gave it a good wash in the dishwasher (aka the best household appliance ever), and realized I had a very good start to my wall and I hadn’t even spent a dime yet.

3. Make It Work

Boring black frames were not what I wanted at all…but that was nothing a little spray paint couldn’t fix.  So I ordered a few small cans (a can of hot pink, a can of light pink and a can of coffee) and created an entirely new collection of frames for about $20 bucks.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Funk it Up

Those BUTCH and harold Stickr frames have cooler designs than I could ever find in a standard frame and at 20 bucks for a package of 8, I figured I couldn’t go wrong.  I ordered a package of hot pink and a package of brown.

5. Pull It Together

When I looked at all of the photos I wanted to hang I realized the theme was, I LOVE NY.  And although I wanted something that gave off that vibe, the standard I LOVE NY is way too common for my taste.  My friend and excellent design resource, Katie Meyers of Meyers Styles, suggested I turn to EtsyGenius recommendation.  And I found the perfect print to capture my sentiments, A Bad Day in New York City is Better Than a Good Day Anywhere Else from 3LambsIllustratioon ($26.50)

BONUS: The seller noted that she was able to print the piece in any color, so I asked for the background to be black and white and the text to be – yep, you guessed it – HOT PINK!

6. Work it Out

I knew I would need help executing this, so Katie came over, and we put all of the photos in their frames down on the floor and switched them around many, many times, until the jointly formed a fairly symmetrical rectangle, and had a decent balance of color.

Then we measured the rectangle on the floor, and marked it off on the wall with painters tape.

7.  Hang and Be Flexible

Once we started hanging the photos, we realized the BUTCH and harold Stickr frames took up a lot less space than we had allotted for in our design, once they were removed from the backing…so we had to make some adjustments on the fly.  The best part of a collage like this is that there is randomness in the design and no one knows what the original pattern was other than Katie and I (and Ellie who REALLY enjoyed helping me stick the frames to the wall and standing right next to me when I hung the traditional frames with nails.  I mean, right next to me.)

I have to say, another great surprise with the BUTCH and harold Stickr frames are that I was able to remove and re-stick them a few times while trying to adjust the pattern and they retained their sticking ability.

8. Step Back and Enjoy

Ya know on days that I feel like I am treading water and going nowhere, I look up at this collection of pictures and realize how lucky I am, how much Ellie and I have experienced and how amazingly wonderful the future can be.


(Please excuse the reflection of light on the wall…I was trying to snap the photo while doing a number of other things at once)