Hi. My name is Ditty. I like long walks on the beach, have an unhealthy relationship with Starbucks lattes and I have a serious addiction to gallery walls.
I don’t know what it is, but I can’t get enough of them. I mean, what’s not to love about this:
If I am being perfectly honest, I have probably gone a little overboard in my house in terms of gallery walls.
I mean there is something to be said for just hanging one solitary frame on a wall and letting it speak for itself. I really do appreciate this aesthetic. It shows restraint. It is chic and understated. Sophisticated and mysterious.
These adjectives, however, have never been used to describe me so I suppose it makes sense that I can’t bring myself to hang a sole picture. It just always feels so lonely in my house. My art and photos need each other; and my walls need art and photos. If this sounds crazy to you, that is because it is. Again, I am not rational when it comes to gallery walls. I have an illness.
I did a little investigation to try and evaluate the severity of my addiction and discovered that I currently have about 120 pieces of framed photos/art hanging on the wall in some sort of clustered formation.
This does not include items that are hanging, but not together in clustered format, or the things I have already framed that have yet to be clustered together on a wall.
Yowzers. My addiction might be worse than I thought.
So here is my dilemma. My son eventually needs to go to college but my walls keep calling out to me for love and companionship. How are these related? Well frames cost money; art does too. Shockingly, so does college.
While it is tempting to put off saving for my son’s education, at least until my walls are happy and full, ultimately, that would be a little irresponsible. Priorities people. I’m not a monster.
As a result, I find I am often looking for economically friendly ways to satisfy my gallery wall addiction. Which brings us to Frart, better known as free art. Admittedly, it is rarely ever TOTALLY free. Inevitably you end up paying for the frames or to print the images, but that is relatively cheap (I could have named it ‘chart’, but that name is already taken and the word frart makes me giggle). For those of you lucky enough to live near big box stores, finding affordable frames in various styles and sizes is a piece of cake. You can even hit up the thrift stores and give cheap frames a facelift. Oh what I would give for a little thrift shop in my hood.
I rely mostly on Ikea for my frames or if I want a more customized size/style I go to the little flower market across the bridge. Unlike the States, getting things matted and framed here is very inexpensive. I think an average 8×10 image with a custom frame and matte tends to be around 40-50 RMB (about 6-8 USD). Bargain!
As for what I put in these frames… well, frart of course! Some of it I find online and is made be people with mad Photoshop skills; others are created by people with absolutely no Photoshop skills (a.k.a. me). All of it is meant to inspire you to fill those blank walls, without completely breaking the bank.
Frart Source 1: Free Printables found online
This is a super easy way to fill those frames. I am amazed how many creative and talented people are out there giving away awesome designs on their blogs. A lot of bloggers use ‘free printables’ as a way to drive traffic to their sites or just to be nice. So if you know where to look, you can find quality stuff for nothing. And you may just discover a new favorite blog to read in the process. Win win.
Where to look:
Pinterest: This is probably not news to any of you, but you can find just about anything on Pinterest. If you just search for ‘free printables’ and you will find lots of stuff. I found this little cutie the other day:
Sarah M. Dorsey Designs: every Wednesday Sarah creates a new design for all of her readers to download for free. I happen to love her designs and have actually bought a few things from her Etsy shop. So obviously a free print from her is always welcome. You might recall that I recently used her free printable ‘Enjoy the little things’ as the focal point for my hallway makeover.
Frart Source 2: Make your Own
When I want to create something more personalized, I rely on apps and my iPad mini. You don’t need an iPad, you can do this on a smart phone too. If you don’t have either….well, put it on your Christmas list…you won’t regret it! Some of my favorite apps are:
Font Candy+: Allows you to use any image as a background and overlay text over the top. You can play around with the font style, colors, opacity, and spacing to get a really customized look.
Over: Similar to Font Candy+ but it has slightly different features and fonts. It might also be worth noting that I find it a little easier to use than Font Candy.
Snapseed: A free app that allows you to edit your photos to improve the overall quality and/or add artsy-type features.
Let me demonstrate what you can create with just a little bit of time and absolutely NO technological skill.
Using Font Candy:
As my photography skills are not so spectacular (yet!). I find I spend a lot of time playing around with Snapseed. It is so easy and fun to take a pretty average photo and turn it into something frame-worthy. Did I mention it is free?
Frart Source 3: Dunk your kid’s hand in paint, slap it on a page and call it a day
If all else fails, there is always finger paint. Anything your kid makes is going to look great in a frame (at least to you). You don’t have kids? Well that IS a problem. You might want to. You will lose sleep, but just think what you will gain in terms of frart. Totally worth it.