I can’t believe we’re closing out the end of September and a full month of being back to school!  If we learned anything from Caleb’s first year of preschool last year was that kids do a ton of cute crafts and creative art projects; it was so cool to see what our little man would bring home every day!  Over this past summer, Caleb also developed an affinity for coloring and free-hand drawing – he’s really amassed quite the art collection!

I have to admit, though, I don’t do a very good job of showcasing his work.  Unfortunately, many of his projects from last year and his coloring pages from the summer get stacked into a big pile in the corner of our office. For about a year now, I ‘ve been thinking of a creative way to display some of our more favorite pieces, without making our house look too kiddish; I  found the answer with the help of some inexpensive frames from Ikea!

The Ikea Ribba frames are perfect for displaying kid’s artwork. They are available in black, white, and gray, in sizes ranging from 5x5″ to 16x20″ poster size frames.  Since most of Caleb’s artwork was regular paper size, I went with the 8.5x11″ frames. I think this size is only available in black, which I think keeps this project looking modern and not overly juvenile.  Don’t they look so much more expensive than $5.00 a piece?  At this size, they come with a 5x7″ mat too.  For most of our artwork, I removed the mat, but it’s nice to have it as an option.

Kid friendly gallery artwork

Similar to the layout of the frames in our dining room, I knew I wanted Caleb’s art wall to look clean and symmetric.  Using Adobe InDesign, I created this quick mockup of the frames (scaled proportionately to the real 8.5x11″ frames).  This is the most important step when designing a gallery wall! Playing around with virtual frames is so much easier than trying to visualize a layout in your head or hanging mockups on the real wall!  Also, by knowing how my frames would be arranged beforehand, we could easily pick out artwork in the correct layout (vertical vs. horizontal), and avoid major hair-pulling out moments later on.

Kid friendly gallery artwork

Another crucial step in keeping this project as stress-free as possible – use Command Strips instead of putting holes in your wall!  These babies are awesome, especially for projects that require a lot of nails and subsequent repainting later on. We used two Command Strips per frame.

Command Strips Gallery Wall
Command Strips Gallery Wall

While this is a fairly easy project, it’s definitely a two-person job.  Besides relying on my husband’s math skills to make sure the frames were evenly spaced, one person is needed to hold the frame in place on the wall, while another is needed to check the leveling.  Once the frame is level, you can secure it to the wall with the Command Strips. We started with the middle frame on the top row and worked our way out to the sides.

Kid friendly gallery wall artwork
Kid friendly gallery wall artwork

Remember earlier how I mentioned I was trying to keep our house from looking too kiddish? I love my son and treasure all of his creations, but I do think it’s important to keep most of our house looking like adults live here too!  But since we’ll only get to experience the joy of having little ones around for a short time, we might as well have some fun!

Here you can see the wall we chose for the artwork.  It’s  a small hallway on the second floor leading into Caleb’s room. Because our main living area is very open, you can see the display from the first floor as well.

Kid friendly gallery artwork
Kid friendly gallery wall artwork
Kid friendly gallery artwork
Kid friendly gallery artwork

We are really happy with the way the wall turned out and Caleb is so proud to show off his masterpieces. So what are you waiting for – you know you have a similar pile of creative treasures just waiting to be on display.  Spend a few hours creating a kid-friendly and super cool space in your house this week!

Kid friendly gallery artwork