Funny Faces, Family Photo Wall

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My mom’s house is randomly decorated. And for the past 13 years the entry has been neglected. At some point my mom had asked me to paint her something to put there, and although I had the best of intentions I had never gotten around to it. I knew that a painting would be dwarfed by the wall and it just didn’t seem like a good use of the space.  My mom loves the balcony in her house and I thought about doing something that would bring your eye up. Despite my best efforts nothing seemed right.

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I believe the perfect idea came to be as I was browsing the pinterest late one night. This was it, the best idea ever and so began the game plan.

First, I needed to get pictures of everyone without telling them what it was for. My little brother and sister were the easiest to photograph because they didn’t really care what it was for so they were more open to my posing suggestions. For the pictures all I did was use a digital camera and a white towel. I made sure the white towel was right behind everyone when did the pictures. It was just about the most fun photo shoot I have ever done.

Here was the set up I used. We were under a jungle gym and it started to rain but with no fancy equipment it worked great. (FYI overcast days are the BEST days to shoot outside, it is bright without having the sun glare or crazy shadows)

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The whole time I was taking these pictures my mom thought for sure I was making a calendar for her. Yeah right mom, think bigger!

After I took everybody else’s I  had to do my own. Which had its own level of entertainment because I had to use a timer on the camera and guess if I was in frame every time… I was only in frame about half the time. Oops.

Here are my favorites that didn’t get used for the final project.

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After I narrowed it down to 6 or so each (and by 6 or so I had 20 for each person, it was too hard to decide), I used a website called fotoflexer to edit the photos. I cropped all of them to same square size and used the filter, then I turned them black and white. I found that if I turned them black and white first the tone did not come out right. I kept some of them color, because my original thought was to have one picture for everyone in color.

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Once all the pictures were edited I printed them all out and started figuring out which ones would make the cut and where all of them would be place.

When I finally had the order done and figured out which ones I wanted to use, I sent them off to Costco to be printed. Each photo was printed on a 12×12, and was $2.99 a piece. I know that you can have large prints made at staples for way cheaper, but I really wanted quality of actual photos.

Then it was off to Lowes to find something to mount the photos on. I choose to go with a 12×48 piece of wood (pine I think). It was the easiest choice and the least expensive option, at $7.98 a piece. I got them home and painted them all black, paying close attention to the edges since they would be showing. I mounted 4 brackets on the back of each board spaced evenly apart. I did 4 because of the warp in some of the pieces, and I didn’t want to have to deal with any warp in the wall.Photos3

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I had to trim the photos a little bit to fit on the boards, but with some quick work with a straight edge cutter the work was done.

To attach the pictures I first tried a spray adhesive… it didn’t work. As soon as the boards got hot the pictures just fell off.

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Then I tried modge podge on just the back… another bad idea. The photos bubbled underneath…

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DOUBLE SIDED modge podge is the KEY!!!

My friend and I figured out the spacing for each board and laid out a grid on the wall. We used both mollies and screws, although I am pretty sure that was over kill. However, when you are working on someone else’s house it is better to error on the side of caution. We hung the boards 6 inches apart. The whole thing measures 8 1/2 feet tall and 4 feet wide.

Then we hung up the photos and with a new console table and some flowers the job was done.

Did I mention that my mom was on vacation at the time and had NO idea I was doing this to her house? It was a good thing that she loved the finished product!

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The total cost per person was about $20 (4 photos, 1 board). The cost would go up a little if you needed the screws, mollies, or modge podge. All in all I think the cost was totally worth it. What do you think of the family picture wall? Let me know what you think!

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10 responses to “Funny Faces, Family Photo Wall

  1. I think it’s brilliant – thank you for sharing!- I’ve been looking for something to do with our entry table forever. It’s been an empty fabric backed 36×36 frame forever. One question, when you say double sided modge podge, do you mean painting over the top of the photo as well?

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    • Thank you for the compliment. To answer your question, Yes. I know its scary to “paint” over a photo but it seals the photo and really makes it stick. I did also modge podge the wood panels AND the back of each photo so I guess maybe I should have described it as triple sided modge podge.

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    • Thank you! Yes fotoflexer is free and you don’t have to download anything which makes it awesome. The modge podge worked but over time the photos have started to peel away from the wood. I think this is because the wood is so porous. A year and a half later we are now working on redoing them all with metal sheets behind the photos so my mom can dress up the photos with magnetic props.

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    • Thank you so much! It was so much fun the first time we are going to try to recreate it on a smaller scale for our own home! If you end up do it I would LOVE to see pictures of your project!

      xo, Melanie

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