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There are a few overarching themes developing in this decorating with kids series: getting kids involved, setting limitations, and turning a decorating project into a game! Creating a furniture layout on paper proved to be a fun puzzle for the kiddos. Today, I want to share tips on another type of puzzle to do with the kids: creating a gallery wall.
I think getting kids involved is the number one thing you can do to make them feel comfortable and loved at home, and that is what this Decorating With Kids series is all about.
Before we get into creating the gallery wall, we should first talk about creating art for the gallery wall. For our pirate playroom gallery wall, I enlisted the boys help making the fabric and wood wall art. Turns out all of my favorite bloggers who happen to be awesome mothers, also believe in the importance of creating art with your kids.
I love to display my kids artwork. Their artwork is worth more than anything in our home, yet it cost nothing. I love that their hands touched the paper. I love to display what they’ve created and have them feel special and show them that they matter. It’s bittersweet to display their creations and then look back a year or two and be amazed at how far they’ve come. ~Jenna, SAS Interiors
In our living room, a huge gallery wall of smiling little faces is the first thing you see when you walk into our home. It instantly says, “kids live here”. We also display their artwork in each space, inject a lot of playful color within our fabrics and even on the walls, have children’s books stacked in every nook and lots and lots of blankets for snuggles. ~ Jen, I Heart Organizing
I love to paint and draw with Clara, so from encouraging her to color all over a thrift store truck that I got to hold her crayons to suggesting that she paint some wooden castles from Michaels to make centerpieces at her dragon party, she seems to love being involved in little projects with me. We had a lot of fun making a kid-art box together too – and a painting that she made hung right above my desk in our last house’s office (can’t wait to get that baby back on the wall in our new house). I might be biased but I think she’s the next Picasso… ~Sherry, Young House Love
Creating art with Penelope is my favorite. We get to spend quality time together and I get to teach her about art and creating. I studied painting and drawing, so it’s especially fun to see her explore paint media! ~Melissa, I Still Love You
I love creating together, and she loves getting to display her creations on the walls of her rooms. Our entire hallway is her gallery. She can get washi tape and put up whatever she wants on those walls. They’re covered up to about 5 feet – which is all the higher her little stool will reach! ~Mari, Small for Big
Once you have made some art with the kids and collected other frames and pieces for the gallery wall, it is time for a little fun. Get down on the floor with your kids and start arranging. Let them touch and feel every piece and arrange them on the floor. It is like one big puzzle where there is no right or wrong way. That is exactly how the boys and I decided on the layout of the pirate playroom gallery wall.
Gallery Wall Game
Let your kids decide how to layout your next gallery wall! To make sure the resulting arrangement can be transferred to the wall, give the kids a few limitations or guidelines.
- Use painters tape to tape off a large square on the floor the same size as the wall area for the gallery. Also, tape off any obstacles in the area, like a light switch, vent, or thermostat.
- Give the kids a spacer. I used a scrap piece of 2×4 which is roughly 2 inches wide on one side. Good spacing in a gallery wall is generally about 2″ between objects.
- Explain the objective of the game. The objective of the game is to fit all the frames, art, and objects within the square taped on the floor. They all need to be spaced about 2″ apart using the spacer. Other goals might be to separate similar frames, shapes, or colors, so they are spread across the gallery wall.
- Let them play! After a few minutes offer help with the arrangement until you work together to create the perfect layout.
Once the preliminary layout is determined, you can trace each object on to paper to create a paper template (let the kids help with this too). Tape the templates to the wall just as you had them arranged on the floor. The paper templates give you the chance to visualize the arrangement on the wall is right before you start hanging. If anything looks off, simply move around the paper templates until you figure out the final arrangement.
Hang one piece at a time while leaving up all the other paper templates to guide your placement. Use a level. Use nails sparingly. I prefer to use 3M picture hanging strips. Once all the paper templates have been replaced with the real deal, stand back with your kiddos and take in your new gallery wall.
One last tip: don’t let empty frames slow down your momentum. When the boys and I started working on the gallery wall, I hadn’t even figured out what to put in the picture frames. But we didn’t let that slow us down. In fact, it was the other way around. By pushing forward and getting the empty frames on the wall, we were more motivated to find pictures to fill them up.
I love using gallery walls to fill open wall space in family rooms, kids rooms, and playrooms. We have been swapping photos out in our family room gallery wall for years. We made the pirate playroom gallery wall an interactive display for the boys with a printers tray turned toy storage and a wall pocket holding a pirate treasure map! Have fun with it!!!