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Kids’ Art Display Wall

Create a fun and colorful gallery wall as a kids art display! It’s perfect for the playroom or kids bedrooms, and it will get the art off the fridge!

Kids' Art Gallery Wall: little girl standing next to modern gallery wall of colorful kids art

My June & July project is a new distance learning space for the kids this Fall. I’ve always wanted to put together a gallery wall to display all their artwork… and I finally did it- with a bit of help from Rust-oleum!

This is going to be a fun, colorful space, and so it needed a fun colorful art gallery wall. I’ve had a big box of old picture frames in the back of my closet for more years than I’m willing to admit. And they’re finally getting to see the light of day!

Here’s what I started with:

a variety of old picture frames laid out on the floor

And I bought several more inexpensive frames from Amazon to round out the gallery.

Materials

  • old or new picture frames (8×10 and larger is best for hanging on the wall)
  • 120 grit sandpaper
  • Rust-oleum spray paint in multiple colors (I used baby pink, aubergine, navy, )
  • paper towels or rags
  • drop cloth or cardboard
  • hammer
  • nails
  • picture-hanging wire
  • picture hangers
top view of five cans of spray paint in mustard yellow, purple, navy blue, teal, and light yellow

How To Make a Kids’ Art Display…

1. Remove the glass, matting, and Backing

First, carefully open the back of each frame and remove any photos or art, matting, and backs to the frames. Keep the pieces for each from together- it will make it much easier to figure out which pieces go with which frame later!

2. Lightly Sand the Frames

I used 120 grit sandpaper to gently rough up the surfaces of the frames. Some of my frames were made of MDF, some were wood, some were even plastic. I sanded them all. This step is important-do not skip it, or you’re likely to have your spray paint chipping off your frames from day one. No bueno.

close-up of hand using sandpaper to rough up one of the picture frames before spray painting it

3. Wipe the Frames

Use a damp cloth or paper towel to wipe down the frames and remove any dust before painting.

4. Spray The First Coat

Shake the can of spay paint well before you begin. Then hold it about 10″ from your target, and move it back and forth, never stopping in one spot. I try to overshoot the edges so I won’t create extra paint buildup on the sides.

piece of plywood laying on grass, with several picture frames being spray painted purple and yellow

The first coat should be very light, and you won’t get full coverage.

5. Spray Paint the Second Coat

Give it about ten minutes to dry, then come back and go back over it, using the same motion as before. This time you’ll want to get full coverage, but be sure the paint doesn’t get too thick in any spots. You can always come back a third time if necessary.

Be sure to let everything dry overnight before replacing the glass.

6. Assemble the Picture Frames

Replace the glass, matting, and backing, and add the art to the frames. For this gallery wall, I tried to use frames and art with coordinating colors where possible.

7. Trace Your Frames

white frame with a child's watercolor painting being traced

To make a gallery wall without a bunch of extra holes in the wall, I recommend tracing each of your frames onto wrapping paper or butcher paper.

I always label the framed art itself with a post-it and the wrapping paper with the same letter. Be sure the piece of wrapping paper is oriented the same direction as the actual framed art- in this case, portrait.

white frame with a child's watercolor painting and a cut-out of paper of the same size, both with the letter "N"

If you’re just hanging a few pictures, this step isn’t as important. But if you’re using more than 6 or so, trust me, you’ll need to keep track of what goes where!

8. Arrange Your Gallery On the Wall

Now tape each piece of paper to the wall. I used masking tape but Scotch tape would be better if you have it. I usually start with a couple of the larger frames, and then fill in around them with smaller ones.

Wall with several paper templates taped to it to lay out the arrangement of the art for the gallery wall

Since I’m working with several different colored frames and multi-colored artwork, I’m trying to keep the look fairly random. So I will try to sprinkle a variety of sizes, orientations, and frame colors into the mix, with no groups that are all the same. I’m also including a few unframed canvas paintings.

It’s easy to move the paper templates around to get it just right before you start making holes in the wall.

8. Hang Your Frames

close-up of hammer pounding a nail into the wall to hang a piece of framed artwork

Different frames call for different mounting hardware. The simplest, lightest frames just get a simple nail or hook. The bigger, heavier ones will need picture-hanging wire.

Truth be told, I’ve always been a bit intimidated by picture-hanging wire. But this time I did it myself and it’s actually really easy. Seriously anyone can do it. So no more excuses waiting around for hubby to hang up the wall art on the wall that’s been bare since you moved in 8 years ago!

partially completed kids art display wall with some templates and some pieces of art already mounted to the wall

10. Make Adjustments

There will almost always be a few adjustments to make. That’s totally fine. A couple of marks on the wall? No big deal! Just grab some spackle and a little paintbrush and touch them up when you’re all finished. It’s seriously not a big deal!

The Kids Art Gallery Wall Reveal…

finished kids art display wall with a little girl pointing to a llama painting
kids' art gallery wall with two little girls singing and dancing in front of it

Let the dance party begin!!!

UPDATE: The distance learning/homeschool desk is finished! Check it out here!

More Decor Ideas for Kids…

Easy DIY Floating Desk

Homeschool Desk Reveal!

Beach House Bunk Room Reveal

How to Design A kid-Friendly Home

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