Sunday, October 25, 2015

Dynamic Frames: review of Lil' Davinci Art Gallery

I’ve been on a quest to find an easy attractive way to display my kid’s artwork.  I’ve used a clothes line and clothes pins, which was cute in their toy room, but it didn’t give the clean look I wanted.  I tried putting up traditional frames and changing their artwork in them as they came home from school, but messing with traditional frames and glass was so cumbersome that I never ended up changing the artwork.  Last year I took a tour of Hershey Medical Center with the coordinator of artistic improvement.  Part of her job is to enhance the environment in the hospital.  She does this by painting murals and hanging artwork.  In some of the patient rooms they had built frames that they could easily switch out the artwork.  They even had a collection of art prints and patients were able to look through the collection on an ipad and choose the picture that would hang at the foot of their bed.  They got to choose what they looked at during their hospital stay!  She painted ceiling tiles with whimsical outdoor themes in the children’s hospital to give bed ridden young patients something to look at.  In one hallway she showed me some frames from Dynamic Frames that were hinged on one side.  They swing open allowing you to press in a new piece of art and store old pieces.  It was so easy and the spring loaded mechanism kept the image pressed neatly to the mat and glass.  It was neat, clean and easy. Plus it can hold up to 50 pieces of art!  It was the solution I had been looking for in my home!  I asked for a set of these last Christmas and love them!  They were easy to hang and can be hung horizontally or vertically.  Adding new artwork literally takes seconds and doesn't require any tools.   I wish I had these in the school office when I was an art teacher.  It would be an ideal way to change out seasonal art throughout the year at a school or office!

Note: Do be careful when the frame on a vertically hung art cabinet is open all the way the weight of it can tip the whole thing off it's hanger.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Family Tree Photo Gallery

I’ve had this idea for a while: to create a family photo gallery on top of a silhouette of a tree.  First I collected all the photos that I wanted to use.  I found black frames for them with white mats.  The frames vary in size and design.  Some hold two or three photos.  Some were plain and smooth while others have a slight tapering angle to them or grooves that add some dimension and interest. 

I started by cutting out pieces of white butcher paper to match the sized frames I had.  I stuck them on the wall with blue painter’s tape that could be easily removed and repositioned on the wall without removing any paint.  I started with one large photo that would serve as a focal point, an anchor with all the other photos and elements radiating from that one.  I established a few lines within the layout to keep the photos looking organized.  I wanted an asymmetrical layout without it looking haphazard.  I thought about taking similarly sized photos and placing them on opposite sides of my imaginary horizontal and vertical lines that I’d created. 

Once my design was finalized and I had all the templates taped on the wall I used a pencil to outline the silhouette of the tree.  Then I removed the templates and painted the silhouette using paint that was one shade darker than my wall color and one finish shinier.  I was able to make my silhouette using a sample size from the paint counter.  It was a little tricky to paint because one shade darker matches the wall color when wet.  I felt like I was using invisible paint!  I painted along the pencil line, covering the pencil as I went.  As it dried it darkened a bit revealing the subtle look I was going for.
The next day, when the tree was dry I marked where the hanger needed to be for each frame and taped the paper templates back on the wall.  I hammered the picture hangers right through the paper template and then ripped the paper from the nail/hanger. 

I’m very pleased with the results and hope you can use these tips to make a personalized family photo gallery in your home!