We’ve been homeowners for a little over a year now, and we’re finally growing out of the get-your-apartment-security-deposit-back “one frame per wall” mode in favor of photo wall collages! We’re creating our first one above the family piano.
Have you ever seen a collage of framed photos on Pinterest and wanted to make one, but been a bit overwhelmed by starting? Read on!
When Joel’s grandparents finally sold their 7 acres in Maryland to move to a retirement community in East Tennessee, their old piano needed a new home, and we volunteered our living room for the next chapter of its life. It’s a Baldwin spinet upright with that classic 1950’s blonde veneer. Joel’s grandparents bought it pretty early in their marriage and took a lot of their family photos in front of it when Joel’s dad was growing up, so we’re planning on collecting some copies and adding them to the top. (The 1930’s-era Bach practice book laid out in Futura totally reminds us of a still frame in a Wes Anderson movie.)
Above the piano, we painted the wall a medium gray and started a Disney print collage. So far we’ve got a reprint of the original It’s a Small World park poster, a couple of Joey Chou prints (Small World and Peter Pan), an Adventureland plate we bought on our last Disneyland trip before Joel’s parents moved back east from LA, a Lorelay Bove “Colors of the Wind” print, a Small World-inspired papercut piece we kept from our submissions for the Mary Blair tribute show at Leanna Lin’s Wonderland last year, and the invitation illustration we did for our daughter’s “Mickey and Minnie Go Camping” theme for her 2nd birthday. (Have you figured out yet that we’re fans of It’s a Small World?) There’s so much more space and so many more Disney themes to cover!
Here are some suggestions on how you can get cracking on yours today!
- Anchor your collages with large frames and add medium and smaller frames around them. If it’s a smaller collage, you can use one large frame as your anchor; in our case, since it’s a whole wall, we’ll probably use several anchors.
- Build your collage organically in order to have that interesting “random” feel to it. This often means adding frames to the collage over time instead of have them ready all at once. It also means not placing the frames in rows or columns, but instead in clusters.
- Resist the urge to make it symmetrical! One of the most beautiful things about nature’s aesthetics is that it’s asymmetrical, and you can harness that beauty in your collage by placing your framed photos in unexpected layouts. For example, a big frame looks nice with two small frames stacked on the left and a medium frame stacked on the right.
- Space the frames the same distance apart from one another to add in a little bit of order to the cluster. A good rule of thumb is 1–2 inches.
- As in any art composition, contrast is your friend! This means that placing opposites next to each other to make each one pop. Example: for a collage with an Italy theme, you could anchor it with a large framed vintage map of Rome (i.e. lots of detail, large areas of pastel colors) and contrast it with a couple of smaller black-and-white vacation photos of the Colosseum and a Italian gelateria on one side, with a medium frame of a vintage Italian travel poster on the other size.
- When in doubt, search for framed photo collage examples on Pinterest. There are a million examples, including templates. (Thank you, International Confederation of Design Wizards on the Internet.)
What are some of your favorite tips on creating wall collages of framed photos? Comment below!