Bare Walls? No Problem. Easy and Inexpensive Wall Art Idea.

Have you ever worked on a project with painstaking diligence and told yourself that you just needed to add one more touch -- one tiny, precise, focused detail -- and then, upon adding it, you screwed the entire thing up?

That was me.  In my dining room I had three black and white pictures in black frames with black photo mats.  They were attractive, yet dark.  Since I wanted to brighten the room with color, I opted to "tweak" the pictures yet keep the frames.

When I say "tweak," of course, I mean that I reverted to my default decorating solution: spray paint.  Spray paint can cover a multitude of flaws, after all, and I assumed that it would be easy to convert black photo mats into white ones.  Like any good spray painter, I took my photo mats outside and sprayed a light foundation coat.  Nice.  

Then I sprayed a second coat using steady, even strokes to fill in the patches.  Even nicer.  But that's when I grew impatient.  I knew I'd need one final coat for perfect coverage, but why wait for the recommended drying times?  Why not just pound it out immediately, once and for all?

That's when I learned that too many immediately applied coats of spray paint creates horrible dripping, bubbling, and mess.  And that is how I ended up in my garage with a electric hand sander, carefully buffing down the bad spray paint job on the original photo mats until they were smooth again.  (When I sprayed them the next time, I followed directions.)

I said all that to say this: when you're doing any DIY project, you're bound to mess up along the way.  Few mistakes are actually disastrous, though, so carry on.  There are always power sanders.

As for my empty picture frames, I wanted to add interesting texture and design without breaking the bank.  I purchased three laser-cut wooden decorations from Michaels (roughly $2.00 each, before coupons) and spray painted each a fresh aqua color. 

Then, I used glue dots to adhere each painted and dried wooden decoration to a patterned piece of scrapbook paper that complimented the colors in my dining room.  Since the wooden decorations are just a fraction of an inch thick, they easily fit in a frame yet still add interesting texture.

It's an instant upgrade.  Nobody could tell that the photo mats originally were black (or sanded with a power sander, for that matter.)  Even better yet, nobody would guess that each finished piece cost less than $3, even if you count the cost of a can of spray paint.  Win-win.

Whether you have an empty frame lying around your house that you've never bothered to fill, or whether you have perfectly good frames already on your walls but are tired of the pictures inside, consider giving them a facelift.  Just remember this equation:

Scrapbook paper + die-cut wooden decoration + spray paint = one easy and inexpensive wall art idea.


  1. Oooh, I love how it compliments the wooden centerpiece decor elements. Very cool.

    Can I confess something? I hate working with spraypaint. I can NEVER make it look good. The final result is always terrible. LOL

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Wait, you hate working with spray paint? What!? We have been twins in so many regards -- same height, same interests, same uncustomary love for Survivor -- yet we finally have found where we deviate.

      I'd spray paint anything that doesn't move. And even if it did move, I'd still consider spray painting it. On more than one occasion, in fact, I've told my kids to look out. (They'd look good in different colors.) ;)


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