We’re currently planning some decorating at home, so I’ve been busy getting samples of paint and trying them on the walls. Looking in the garage I find I have dozens of these sample pots since I never throw them away afterwards if there is still paint in them – after all they can be useful for touch-ups, or for small projects etc. So all this activity gave me an idea for a new gallery wall.
Our existing chalkboard gallery is great, but I find I would like to have the wall back to draw on rather than just display artwork, so I thought I would create a new gallery wall. This one has all the flexibility of the old one, which I think is essential in a children’s gallery wall, and is probably better in an environment where you really don’t want to paint an entire wall black. After all, black can suck the light out of a small room especially.
This project then is perfect for using up any odds and ends of paint you might have. You can use any colours you like, though I find it works best with no more than 5 or 6 colours, which are unified in some way, whether it be tone, hue, or simply picking out the colours in an existing room.
You don’t have to be hugely accurate with your painting either, since the effect is meant to be ‘informal’ and painterly – which means uneven edges, and visible brushstrokes. You could of course paint more precise shapes on the wall with sharp clean edges, but my skills really aren’t up to that, and I preferred the softer look.
To begin with I stuck sheets of coloured A4, A3 and A5 paper on the wall in both landscape and portrait format, to plan the layout. I admit that I did this entirely by eye as I’m not big on measuring things if I can avoid it.
Once I had a layout I was happy with, I drew larger rectangles or ‘frames’ around the paper with chalk, and then removed the paper to leave the larger chalked squares which I used as a guide for painting.
To achieve the soft edges of the squares, you need to use an almost dry brush to draw the outline with, then work from the centre outwards. If you make a mistake at an edge, it doesn’t matter too much, just go over it with the almost dry brush – the beauty of this project is that mistakes don’t really matter and are easy to correct.
This approach works well over an entire wall, or just with a few squares grouped together in a corner of a room. Without artwork it just becomes a colourful feature or decorative scheme, with artwork it becomes an art display. If you use coloured chalkboard paint for the squares you open up the possibilities even further, you can embellish the frames, use the squares for writing memos or messages, or simply for drawing on spontaneously.
If you’re looking for more ideas for displaying children’s artwork, why not check out a few of these earlier posts: