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Preserving your memories

Project ideas and inspiration from Good magazine

Enjoy your favourite photos every day with these three crafty framing projects.

Hanging photo wall
Project #1

Hanging photo wall

Upcycled picture frame
Project #2

Upcycling an old frame

Composing a photo gallery
Project #3

Composing a photo gallery

Hanging photo wall


You need:

A hanging photo wall

Hanging wall photos

Hanging photo wall: A simple and cost-effective photo display, ideal for when you cannot make multiple holes in the walls.  Photos: Attach your hanging photo wall strings using a large, flat surface.

Step-by-step instructions:

Step 1: Prepare and print images Adjust the photographs before printing to ensure they are of a similar tonal range. Open each image using a photo editing tool and using the saturation function, de-saturate each one to strip out any intense shades. Alternatively, apply the same photo filter to each image or print them in sepia or black and white. Some stores can print photos in a square format with white borders, so check for this option. Alternatively, trim regular rectangular prints down to size and mount them on slightly larger white card for a similar effect.

Step 2: Arrange in order Lay photos out on a large flat surface in vertical columns to form a grid, allowing a 2cm space between each photo vertically. Arrange images into a pleasing composition, checking for a balance of subjects, shapes and colours. Turn each photo over, maintaining the grid arrangement.

Step 3: Attach strings Cut strings the length of each vertical column plus an extra 50cm. Lay the strings along the middle of each vertical column, with 30cm of the extra string at the top and 20cm at the bottom. One at a time, lay each white card on clean scrap paper and lightly coat one side with glue. Starting at the top left corner of your grid, place each card, sticky side down, onto the back of each photograph, sandwiching the string in between. Use a ruler to ensure the photos are evenly spaced on the string and line up with the corresponding photo on either side. Leave to dry.

Step 4: Assembling photo wall Attach the nylon line to the stick ends and hang it horizontally on the wall. Attach each photo string to the stick, ensuring the images line up by first attaching each top photo to the wall using Blu-Tack and then tying the string to the stick above. If you like, tie a small stone to the bottom of each string.

Upcycling an old frame


You need:

Step-by-step instructions:

Step 1: Disassemble frame Lay the frame front side down and remove the back tape and any pins. Notice how the frame has been put together. Remove any brown framing paper used to cover up the inner workings. Often the stiff backing board is held in place with staples, tiny nails or glazier points. Use pliers to gently remove or bend these out of the way.

An upcycled picture frame

Upcycling a picture frame

Upcycling a picture frame 2

Disassemble old frames to paint and re-assemble

Step 2: Clean glass Carefully take out the glass, wash it using warm soapy water and lay it on a tea towel to dry. Polish dry.

Step 3: Paint frame and mount Wipe the frame free of dust. Lay the frame on the dropcloth and coat with paint, making sure you cover all edges that will be visible when hung. Many old frames have mats that are good enough to reuse. Give it a fresh look with a coat of matt white Resene SpaceCote Flat paint. Allow to fully dry.

Step 4: Reassemble frame Lay the frame face down on a clean, flat surface. Carefully place glass back into the frame and check the surface facing you is lint-free. Place the photo behind the mat and secure using a strip of masking tape along the top. Lay the mount face down on the glass. Before taping everything up, turn the frame over and check the photo is positioned correctly and that no lint is trapped behind the glass. Return any glazier points or tiny nails back into the frame to hold the backing board and glass in place, using new ones if necessary. Tape all around the edge using wide brown picture tape.

On the back of the frame, screw in two small screws or D-ring hangers on either side, an equal distance from the top. Firmly tie the nylon line between rings. Clean any stray fingerprints off the front glass and your picture is ready to hang.

Composing a photo gallery


You need:

A home photo gallery

Making a photo gallery for your home

Photo gallery walls are perfect for clustering a number of picture frames of different sizes and styles. Use paper templates so you can rearrange the shapes until you are happy with the configuration. If you are unsure about your arrangement, leave it for a day and return to look at it with fresh eyes.

Step-by-step instructions:

Step 1: Pick photos Summer is great for taking photos, but how many of our images from this season or years past lie dormant on our computers? Framing and hanging photos releases them into your home to be enjoyed by all. Gallery walls are ideal for combining different images together, so celebrate your heritage by adding in some older family photos or mix in a few shots of quirky moments to remember.

Step 2: Coordinate frames Use all white or all black frames, or for a less formal effect, mix black and white frames together with frames in an accent colour. See project #2 for painting old frames in selected shades.

Supplies for making an art gallery at home

Art gallery at home

Making an art gallery

Use accent colours on selected frames; use paper templates when hanging photos; seal frames using picture framing tape.

Step 3: Paper templates As you cut a template of each frame, write on each one the frame colour and a brief description to help you visualise each photo and its orientation as you hang it. Sort the templates by size. Cutting templates takes time but makes composing and hanging the gallery far easier.

Step 4: Compose your wall Photo galleries can be arranged as a simple grid or symmetrically around a large central image. In the stairwell (right), I used a triangular shape to complement the rising stairs. Before starting, look carefully at your wall to consider the most pleasing shape. Your gallery needs either some vertical or horizontal lines to look ordered, so decide where you want these and mark them out using the thread and spirit level. For example, I started by marking out the top and side of the triangle. Decide on the placement of any larger frames and rearrange the smaller shapes around these until the configuration looks balanced. Cluster similar sized frames together in rows or columns. Ensure any accent frames are evenly spread.

Step 5: Hang your pictures When you are happy with the arrangement, use each template to help you work out exactly where to attach each picture hook on the wall. Once each photo is hung in place, pull away the paper from behind the frame.

Stairwell gallery makeover

Transform a mismatched photo display with paint and a fresh eye.

Framing and hanging photos over the course of a few years can result in a fairly haphazard photo display. This stairwell photo gallery was no exception. With new photos from summer to be added it was high time for a gallery do-up.

Art gallery before

Art gallery after

You need:

For walls

For templates

For frames and mats

Step-by-step instruction:

Step 1: Prepare wall I started by taking down all the photo frames and filling and sanding any holes. I painted the stairwell walls with Resene Cararra, a subtle shade of cream that immediately brightened the space.

Step 2: Collate images A freshly painted wall allows for a new arrangement to suit the space. Consider which images and what colour frames you want to display. Previously I had mixed art and photographs together, but I now decided to hang the art elsewhere and limit the gallery to photos. Trawl through old photo files for forgotten treasures, then add in any new photos plus older ones not previously printed.

Step 3: Revamping frames The existing photo frames plus more from second-hand stores were in a wide range of colours and styles. For a coordinated result I disassembled all of the frames and painted them either in black (Resene Blackjack), a soft grey white (Resene Breathless) or an accent colour of bright yellow (Resene Wild Thing). I also painted a number of the mats in Resene Black White for a fresh new look.

Step 4: Reframing Framing multiple pictures at once allows you to best match each photo to its frame. You can also switch the size or colour of the mat.

Step 5: Make templates Cut a paper template of each frame. Write on each one the frame colour and a brief description. Use this to remember the frame’s orientation and to visualise each one as you decide where to hang it. Sort the templates by size.

Step 6: Compose your gallery wall Use dark cotton thread and a spirit level to mark out the top and one side of the space in which you will hang your photo gallery. Starting in the top corner and working along the top and down the straight side, Blu-Tack the templates to the wall. Decide on the placement of the larger frames, then add in the smaller frames. Cluster similar-sized frames together and check for a balanced spread of any accent or feature frames.

Step 7: Re-hang pictures Once the photo arrangement is finalised, hang each photo over the top of its paper template. Use the template to work out exactly where to put each nail or picture-hanging hook. Once a picture is hung, pull the paper away from behind the frame.


Words and styling Sarah Heeringa. Photography Amanda Reelick.

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