Monday, June 2, 2014

Displaying Kid's Artwork In A Slightly Classier Way!

Get ready... Things are about to get a whole lot classier in here.

You have seen glimpses of how I used to hang Cora's preschool art... taped and sticky-tacked to the wall.

I had been looking for a way to display all of the art Cora brings home from preschool and change it out regularly. That girl is a painting machine. She often comes home with 3 or 4 new masterpieces per week. It took me a while but I finally landed on an idea.

Old boards and magnets!

I bought 3 8' 1x4s and "olded-them-up" (yes, that is a real term). I used a hammer, screws, chains, nails, and a random belt-hole puncher that has come in handy more than a few times.

Lucky for me, I had my handy little helper girl with me. She had her own hammer. It lit up and exploded with noise every time she hit the wood.

Next, Scott stained them. I loved how they turned out.

We let them dry for a couple of days and then we used Liquid Nails to glue on strips of metal that I had bought from Lowes. I had to buy the metal strips in 4' sections because their options were limited. So, each board had 2 strips on it. We put paint cans and random heavy things on them and left it overnight.

OOPS! The next day, when I returned to admire them the ends of a few metal pieces were pulling from the board. I messed with them a little and they pulled right off. So I scraped all the Liquid Nails off and we tried again with even more Liquid Nail. So much that it bubbled out of the sides. No Bueno. That didn't work either.

On to plan #2. The boards were looking awful from all of the glue and scraping. So I flipped them over and olded up the other side. Then Scott stained them and we were ready to try again. This time we ran a very thin bead of Liquid Nails down each metal strip. Then we got some chunky bolts and screwed them right on the edge of the metal so it kind of clipped it in place. Yay! It worked! I felt certain that those heavy metal strips would stay in place. If you do this project I recommend using a bolt with an even bigger head so it really grabs the metal.

Now it was time to enlist the help of some kind visitors. My mom and her husband, Emery, were coming into town just as we finished our art display construction. I located the studs before we painted recently so I could patch my stud-finding holes in advance. Now all I had to do was a bit of math to figure out how to center the boards and where the studs would hit.

Here is my calculation work. There was some weird math going on but it ended up working pretty well.

To secure it to the wall, I used the same bolt head that I used to clip the metal on. I just used a much longer screw that would go through the wood and drywall to the stud. I put 2 bolts in each board. I threw a 3rd (and 4th... measuring wasn't perfect) into one of the boards that bowed out a bit in the center.

I bought some magnets off Amazon and I plan to eventually paint them or glue pretty paper on them. Cora is old enough that she wouldn't put these in her mouth. But I am going to trade out the lowest board's magnets for some bigger ones when August is mobile just in case one ever ends up on the ground and he tries to eat it.

Here is our lovely painted wall before the art party came to town. The color is Gray Horse by Benjamin Moore.

Here are some more photos of the final project. If you really pay attention you will notice that these photos were taken at different times and that Cora is in the background of some of them perfecting one of her crayon drawings.

Keep on reading! Here are a few more kid-related decorating ideas:


  1. and I hope you're saving all those masterpieces, they should be worth a fortune some day

  2. This was a great project and fun to help with....actually I took photos and supervised! I love seeing Cora's artwork displayed and soon Augie will be adding to it.
    btw Emery does not have bleach stains on his is from Hawaii and those are the Hawaiian islands!

  3. It turned out fantastically! I love it! And I love that you found another important use for the belt hole punch.