Wall art doesn’t have to be expensive. With a little creativity and, in this case, some gold spray paint, I transformed 4 budget-friendly, big-box store frames, which I then used to display a set of appetizer plates in this delectable dining room (project Easy Elegance).
Here’s what you’ll need to replicate this DIY project:
Ikea Ribba 50cm x 50cm white frames
Small high-density paint roller and tray
Metallic gold spray paint (my personal fave is by Rust-Oleum)
Paint odour respirator mask
White foam core
Utility knife, pencil, ruler and cutting mat board
3M Command picture hanging strips (medium size)
Decorative plates (Pacifica Plates Bird by Rosanna Inc. are seen here).
Disassemble each picture frame, removing the back, mat and square fibreboard piece inside the Ribba frame, which holds the glass in place.
Lightly sand by hand the inside of the fibreboard piece with 220-grit sandpaper. This will achieve a smooth surface. It’s important not to skip this step as the fibreboard piece has a paper foil finish, which will affect paint adherence.
Using a small high-density paint roller, undercoat the inside of the fibreboard piece with an acrylic primer paint like Fresh Start by Benjamin Moore. One coat of Fresh Start should be enough but this doesn’t mean you can’t add a second, if desired.
Once dried (typically 3 hours per coat, depending on humidity and temperature), it’s time to apply the gold spray paint. This is best done outside (when it’s not windy) as it ensures a well-ventilated area. Regardless of location, you should wear a paint odour respirator mask to reduce your exposure to the fumes (and a potential headache). Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding spray painting distance (generally, hold the can 8 to 10 inches away from the surface) and re-coat times for optimal results. The trick with spray paint is to use long, even strokes and several light coats (expect to apply 3 to 4) instead of trying to cover the surface all at one. Based on personal experience, I advise leaving the fibreboard pieces to dry a day longer than what the paint can label reads.
With a pencil, trace the edges of the picture frame back onto the white foam core. Make sure the foam core is a quality product (not from a dollar store). If you’re unsure, talk with someone at your local art supply or craft store. Curry’s, DeSerres and Above Ground Art Supplies are all good sources in Toronto.
Place the foam core onto a cutting board mat. This will protect whatever surface is underneath. Using a utility knife and ruler as a guide, cut the foam core along the pencil line.
Apply at least 2 sets (4 strips in total) of interlocking 3M Command picture hanging strips to the back of each decorative bird plate. Then, after removing the liner, press the plate onto the centre of the foam core. The harder you press, the stronger the adhesive bond will be.
Reassemble each picture frame, minus the mat. If hanging yourself, use a carpenter’s level to ensure the frames are straight (20/20 vision isn’t going to help you with this) and place them 3 inches apart. I personally prefer to use 3M Command picture hanging strips over picture hanging wire to affix frames to a wall as they allow for greater precision, especially when lining up a grouping of frames.
TIP: Want to achieve the perfect gallery wall? Make sure the centre of the frame grouping is 57 to 60 inches above the floor.