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The Creation of a Wall Collage
If you have been to my home for an appointment in the past couple of months, you will have seen my family tree collage setup on my living room wall. I thought I would share how it came to be. (I apologize in advance that many of the images are from my phone, and my camera is broken so the images are a bit fuzzy, but I wanted to have something to show as we hung the templates so others could understand what was involved to do it themselves.)
I knew I wanted some kind of collage since it was my intent to be able to swap out photos as my kids grow, but the main photos would be from my daughter's newborn portrait session since it was the whole family together. I started by checking out my options on google to see if there was something that already existed that would work, however, the one I found (blow) was all 4x6 photos, which would be much too small for the space I wanted to fill.
I did really like the idea though of the leaves and tree trunk with the word 'Family', so using photoshop, I copied these elements and used them to figure out what would fit in the space I had to work with above the couch.
I knew I would have a 10x13" (the photo of my son cuddling my belly when I was pregnant) and the 10x20" of my son at 3, 6, and 9 months old, since I already had both of them waiting to be framed and hung, but the rest of the sizes and photos used were completely variable. Once I had an idea of what I wanted it to look like, I added it over an image of the wall and couch to see how it looked.
I knew the smallest image size I would use would be 5x7" in an 8x10" frame, and like my images to be matted so they do not stick to the glass, so took a drive to the store to see what was available in multiple sizes, and preferably with mats. I found a black frame that fit my needs, and after finalizing my sizes, went back and purchased them.
I ordered my prints, some of which were not the ones I had first started with, since I wanted them to be cohesive while hanging together. I printed out my leaf designs from photoshop in black silhouettes to use in hanging everything on the wall to make sure they fit correctly, as there are always variables when going from a computer design to actually hanging it, like the size of the frame would be slightly larger.
To create the template for the wall, I rolled out a long piece of bulletin board paper that I had on hand and traced each frame. Now listen closely since I have a huge tip that made this step crucial. After I cut out each frame tracing, I wrote the size on it, and held it even with the frame it went with then rubbed my finger where the hanging piece was. These particular frames had a triangle hanger, and most of them had 2. Once I had an indent of the triangle hangers, I then used my pencil to trace the triangle on the paper to make it easier to see.
I used wall safe scotch tape looped in a circle on the backs of each of the templates, and using my template on my computer for reference, hung them on the wall. In the image above, the tree pieces are paper taped up as well. I didn't have the "family" in the middle yet, so we took a drive to a local store and happened to find two designs we liked, so bought both, then returned the one that didn't fit as well.
Once the design was mapped out on the wall, then came the next step of adding the hooks into the wall. I used a hammer and level, made sure the triangles of each frame was level, and nailed straight into the paper, removing it after the hooks were in. I was then able to add the frames one at a time until the design was done.
For the pieces of tree, we had a thin piece of wood in our shed, so I traced them onto it, and my husband cut them out, we then painted them black, and hung them using command velcro strips in case we ever want to change the design, they are able to be moved.
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