Do you know how to create a gallery wall and what artwork to include in it?

Here’s the best hack to create a gallery wall that doesn’t look like ‘thrift shop finds’.

If you’re wondering what to do with a blank wall in your interior space, why not consider installing a gallery wall?

It’s a popular choice for many as seen on many decor blogs, interior design websites and social media accounts.

There is a trend towards these types of gallery walls. I see nothing wrong with thrift shop frames or art. But, you should try to choose those types of items carefully or it could end up looking cheap.

It’s good idea to consider treating it in a way that doesn’t look like you’ve done it on a budget . It’s thoughtful, mixed with a touch of grand millennial meets boho chic, meets modern farmhouse. And certainly with the aspiration toward a Nancy Meyers set. Nothing wrong with it! I myself am a dedicated follower of all the movies…read: interiors. I would love to live in all of them!

Contents

When talking about gallery walls specifically, here’s the consideration.

Why not treat your gallery wall with a theme or common thread?

I make art with the intention of going big, yet looking closely into an interior world, or at least to see if there is one to be found. It’s the reason I use crop windows in many of my art collections. I use to frame interesting visual sections that represent their own narratives.

You can enlarge or scale up these cropped windows using design software. Sometimes I use a traditional photo copier machine as it can yield interesting results because of its analog, lo-fi quality.

So, its fun to play around with techniques and not hem yourself in too much when you are experimenting.

Always keep an open mind. The creative process should be free from judgement!

These processes, techniques or hacks, whichever you like to call the, allow syou see possibilities, and makes you question and ponder, pull back or look closer or lean in.

The best part is being surprised by what you will discover, that’s a reward within itself.

Each crop is a glimpse, a frame, a scene into something new, something with potential.

All this from a single crop. A cut out section a scene that started out as part of one whole, larger scene.

I’m not giving away some secret, a personal way of working, an artist process. It’s always been there, artist use it all the time. It’s a tried and tested technique that works well when training your physical eye and artist eye to ‘see’.

These techniques are worth sharing to show you how something so simple can be transposed onto a simple, uncontrived image, whether it be a magazine tear-out, an old photograph, a long-buried sketchbook page or a dime store print.

Here’s how to take an image and turn it into multiple artworks

You can frame these into different sizes and create your own vintage, boho-chic, gallery-inspired wall art composition in your home or home office wall.

lounge living room interior of natural color couch with wood coffee table in front and knitted throw over the couch, behind the couch is a gallery wall filled with 12 black and white frames and photos of cropped images of plant life
  1. Find an image that has lots of textural elements or an intricate composition
  2. Scan or photograph it flat. You can even photocopy it if you want to work in a traditional way. But, you will have to convert it to a digital image anyway if you want to edit it
  3. Now import the image into Canva (free online ), Adobe Photoshop or Procreate
  4. Here, you will be able to crop a section of it into ‘frames’ and even scale each frame up or down. You can even zoom into it for see more detail
  5. Once you have the image open in either of these programmes, create a layer and title it ‘Cropper’.
  6. This layer should resemble an analog cropper – a piece of board with a square or rectangular block cut out in the middle.
  7. Now position this cut out block anywhere over the image. Better yet, move it around and see if reveals anything interesting
  8. Once your see something you like, stop , draw a selection where the block is and copy that section or mask it off
  9. You now have one frame

What to do next:

  1. Repeat the process and really play around here
  2. You can even rotate the cropper if you’re using a rectangular cutout – so you’ll have a vertical and horizontal rectangular block shape. This will make for interesting gallery frames and vary the sizing to create contrast Using your crop window, move it around and try to find interesting crops/frames. Trust your instinct, listen to you intuition and go where your eye falls.
  3. Once you land, document it, screenshot it, crop it out, draw a frame outline to cut out later.
  4. When you have many frames, settle on a number you want or when the image is exhausted. Now cut out, leaving enough bleed (extra space around the image to trim or frame off).
  5. Crop each out separately and then save each as a separate image or artwork

Buy thrift store frames or new ones.

Do what your can afford and what you feel is right for your space.

You can frame these into different sizes and create your own vintage, boho-chic, gallery-inspired wall art composition in your home or home office wall.

  1. Paint, spray sand-down, varnish the frames if necessary, or leave as is.
  2. Mount each image onto card or heavy paper, or the sturdy backing board used to seal the frame
  3. Double-window mount each frame using a natural colour mat (mounting board). Leave a 5mm gap between each mount
Toddler boy lying on stamach on comfy natural colour couch with a laptop in front of him, staring at the screen, with 8 brown frames with black and white drawings of the map-Journey collection hanging above the couch on a almost white natural colour gallery wall
Artwork on gallery wall – @Copyright Maxi-minimalist 2023

Make sure that the images you’ve cropped work well together. You have to visualise them together when they are in their frames.

If you struggle to do that, then move each cropped image together and make sure that they look like they have a common thread. If not, they should at least feel coherent and cohesive. They should look like they belong together or feel like part of the similar theme.

This conscious choice will ensure that your gallery wall does not end up looking like a mash-up of thrift shop finds. Be careful because it can start to loo a bit ‘tacky’ and you don’t take this into consideration.

Now, here’s another tip that you can apply to your other decorating hacks too.

In order to make the artwork (frame included) look authentic and cultivated, use an off-white, natural or oatmeal colour mounts (mats) for your final framing. Choose this instead of bright white because it will make the artwork (frame included) look less new and more inherited. In other words, it will make it look more valuable and less shop-bought.

Give it a “I-collected-these-artworks-over-time” kind of look.

Conclusion

So, what’s the outcome of following this hack?

You’ll have a gallery wall that has a common them running through it.

If it still looks too repetitive for your liking, break it up by including artworks with similar subject matter. Yes, that means adding another image to work from.

Ensure they don’t look too similar though, it should just be a hint of similarity or look like they ‘re adding to or are part of the same conversation.

For example, mix images or crops of poppies with the intricate texture of tree bark, mixed with images of textural marks and patterns on the surface of plant leaves. You get the idea, these are all part of plant life or flora and creates a scene from the natural world.

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