Family Gallery Wall

4 Materials
When we moved into our home in December, there was this big wall in the main area of our house. There was a China hutch on it, but I knew it was perfect for our family gallery. We moved 1600 miles from our kids and grandkids, so having their pictures before me was going to be really important!
The photo above is where we are today. We still need to fill in some individual frames below the large collage frame, but that will take some time to get finished. My idea took a long time to become a plan. I started out wanting a large tree painted on the wall, but as we discussed more and more, I thought having a big sun would be totally appropriate for our Arizona home! We looked at metal sun sculptures, large sun mirrors, wall murals. Everything was either out of our price range or wasn't quite the look I wanted.
Then two things came to my attention about the same time...first I saw this picture on someone's DIY page on Facebook....LOVED it for my project! Except those grands' hands wouldn't be here to put their print on the wall...what could I do?
The other thing that I became very interested in was Unicorn SPiT Gel Stain and Glaze. After asking some questions about what it could be used on, I thought this might work really well directly on our wall.
In May I went back to see my kids for a couple of days, so while there, I traced around each one of their hands. My husband's two grandchildren live in a different city, so when I got back, I sent them some paper and asked for their handprints, as well. I finally got all the hands and about the same time got my second order of SPiT, Lemon Kiss(yellow), Tucson(deep reddish orange) and Navajo Jewel( dark teal ). I was ready to begin!
First, using masking tape, I arranged the fourteen hands on the wall in a big circle. No particular order, just random teen-sized, grade-school-sized, and toddler-baby-sized hands. I traced around each lightly with #2 pencil. When I took them down, I kept them in order, so I would be able to label each hand during the painting stage.
Next I mixed Lemon Kiss and Tucson Unicorn SPiT to create an orange color and using an artist paint brush, painted the outline of the hands.
After all the hand outlines were painted, I took the same mixture and rubbed it around in the middle and then fanned it out into and past the hands. The fun thing that happened was that even though the two colors of SPiT were mixed, as I rubbed it on the wall, I could distinguish the yellow from the reddish color and it "streaked" the sun in just the way I hoped it would. It was a little too orange for my tasted, but made a good foundation.
My next step was to take Lemon Kiss by itself and rub that over the foundation that was already in place. It did brighten it up considerably. I think when the Shimmer SPiT becomes available, it will definitely be a nice addition to this project. I tried using some Glow-in-the Dark Paint over the Spit, and while it did brighten it up, I don't notice any glow-in-the-dark affect at all.
Next, taking Navajo Jewel SPiT and an artist's fine brush, I put the names of our grandchildren on each respective hand, along with their birthdate. I thought of other options, like a little photo of the child or a photo of something they liked doing, but in the end, the birth dates won out.
Once the names were all on, it still didn't look "finished", so my consultant (my husband) suggested either putting our special frame with the lyrics from "You are My Sunshine" in the middle, or writing in the middle. The frame looked OK, but we finally decided to try the writing. With Unicorn SPiT, if it wouldn't have worked out well, I could spray it or wipe it with water and start over with rubbing in the color. Thankfully, we kind of like the outcome
Here is a little closer photo of the end result with picture frames added. We had a photo of most of our grandchildren from a year ago, but since then we have added a new grandson and we also had to have two of the kids added in a different frame because they weren't in the group picture. Under the large collage frame we can put drawings the kids do or frames of fun times with the kids and grandkids. I know this isn't for everyone. Some people will be appalled at the unprofessional approach and final product, but the great benefit of Hometalk and other DIY sites, is we can get great ideas that will be springboards from which our own projects will bloom! At our house, this "celebrity wall", the random, imperfect look is "perfect"! Seeing these "VIP's" of our family, makes me smile every time I pass by this wall! P.S. Kids---send more pictures! :)
Suggested materials:
  • Unicorn SPiT Gel Stain
  • Artist Paint Brushes
  • Family and individual pictures with frames
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