1. Go on a treasure hunt for cheap frames. IKEA’s Nyttja frames are a great deal if you’re looking for a frame with clean lines—they’re only $2! NOTE: they’re not a standard photo size at 8-1/2 ” x 11″ and have plastic inserts instead of glass. To resolve this, I bought document frames from the Dollar Store to replace the plastic. They’re still a bargain at $3 a pop.
This 5 x 7 silver frame was also bought at the Dollar Store. It’s actually plastic, but looks just like metal.
Thrift stores are also a great place to score some cheap frames. And if you don’t like the color of the frame you find…
2. Give new life to an ugly or old piece. Spraypaint, craft paint, paper, and glue are items most of us already own that can transform a piece into something grand.
I found this dragonfly garden art at Home Goods for $10 & snatched it up even though I didn’t like the floral pattern on the wings. Some scrapbook paper, Mod Podge, and whitewashing turned it into wall art that’s much more suitable for my space.
I also used leftover paint from my accent wall to make over these shelves that were once black. Painting them the same color as the wall allows the milk glass to really pop.
3. Look for art everywhere. A good portion of my gallery wall was created by cutting out pictures from books or magazines and framing them, like this small piece. It’s actually a picture of a rug, torn from a home decor magazine!
I also bought this greeting card for the sole purpose of displaying in my living room (and the quote is pretty cool too).
4. Make your own art. My favorite way to do this is with artist’s canvas. I try to buy them in bulk or when on sale for half off. Another way you can save money on these is to buy one at a thrift store. Create a new slate on an ugly canvas painting with a few coats of primer or white acrylic paint.
I also painted this lion years ago when I was a freelance artist. I have a portfolio of old watercolor paintings just waiting to be used again and the colors of this one fit perfectly in my living room.
5. Use an everyday object in a new way. These ceramic origami swans were only a dollar apiece at World Market… because they’re chopstick rests. I found them while browsing the aisles of this store, just checking everything out. They make great miniature sculptures to put on display.
Here’s a few more shots of my gallery wall, L-shaped to coordinate my accent walls:
Do you have any other tips for making a gallery wall on the cheap? Do you have a gallery wall in your home?