Saturday, November 29, 2014

Toy Room Wall - Kids Artwork Display

I've pinned a ton of ideas on how to organize/decorate a toy room as well as ways to display kids artwork. My 5-year-old makes a lot of crafts and projects at daycare, preschool, and sometimes church, and our fridge gets pretty full. Plus, some of them aren't held up well with magnets. I also wanted a way to add some interest to the big blank wall in our toy room downstairs.  I've been gathering "supplies" for a few weeks and finally decided to spend some time working on the project while Avonlea is still sleeping quite a bit during the day. It was a bit of a trial-and-error, but here are a few notes on what I did.

I bought 3 bulletin boards off our local Facebook swap group and thrift store (spent a total of $8 for all 3). Some of them had some pen marks/fading, but I knew I'd be covering them anyway. I originally intended to paint the frames white and just fold and pin the fabric to the cork part, like this, but my poor spray-paint job and low-quality frames led me to just cover the entire thing with fabric like this. I think this is the easiest way to go and creates a clean, uniform look if you have more than one board. 
Three bulletin boards of various sizes.
I bought some modern-print fabric at our local craft store, just large enough to wrap around the frames. I ironed the fabric to get the fold-marks out and cut them to size (leave at least an inch to wrap to the back) and then used spray-adhesive on the cork area to stick the fabric on. Then, I turned them over and wrapped the fabric around to the back, using a hot-glue gun (on low temp setting) to adhere the fabric to the back. Then, I turned it back over to the front and used cheap white thumbtacks (from Walmart) about 1.5" apart all the way around the cork area. The tutorial used uphostery nails, but my white tacks worked just fine since I wasn't going for such an upscale look. This keeps the fabric secured to the front of the board. Later, Adam added hangers to the backs of the ones with wood frames and we ended up using Command brand velcro strips to hang up the one with a plastic frame.
Three bulletin boards covered in fabric.
Besides the three bulletin boards for displaying artwork, I found an old frame, painted it white, then covered the cardboard insert inside with an orange print fabric.  Then, I cut the letter B (for our last name) out of sticky-backed white felt leftover from another project and placed it in the middle. I replaced the glass and had another decorative element! Originally I meant for this piece to allow for dry-erase markers to write on the glass, but I think we'll wait for the boys to be a bit older and more marker-responsible!

I also had a large oil-drip pan that was perhaps my first Pinterest project and I wanted to get it back up on the wall for Cohen to play magnets with. We ended up screwing it into the wall horizontally so it was good for his height. I used some leftover fabric, folded the edges under and ironed them down, then used spray-adhesive to stick it to the oil pan to cover the imprinted logo.

We had a little barn wall hanging from Adam's grandpa and I had the idea to hang it on the wall in front of a fabric-covered piece of cardboard cut in the same shape. This way the boys can take the frame down and play with it on the floor (sometimes they like to lay if flat and use it as little cow pens), but they also like to set up little farm animals in it while upright. We nailed the fabric-covered cardboard right to the wall and then placed two long nails for the barn roof to rest on.

The clock is one we had hanging in our kitchen in our last house but since I'd found some orange fabric to match, it worked perfectly in the design.

Toy room wall.
We added a few of Ryan's recent preschool projects to the bulletin boards, farm animals to the barn, and magnets to the oil pan, and are now ready for 2 boys (and eventually a little girl) to have a great place to play and display their projects!

A few tips:

  • I experimented with the layout by making shapes in Microsoft Word in proportional sizes (i.e. a 24"x18" board was a 2.4"x1.8" rectangle in Word. This allowed me to move things around and add/subtract elements from the mix. It's important to have an idea how you are going to hang things so you put the fabric on the right way (e.g. the Chevron would look funny vertical). 
  • After everything was finished, I taped together a bunch of sheets of thin craft paper and laid the whole thing out on the floor. Then, I marked where each frame and nailhole went. We taped the whole thing up on the wall, then put in the nails and tore the paper off last.  This didn't go perfectly, but was a good starting point. We did use a leveling yardstick many time to make sure things were level and spaced well.
  • I intentionally hung the bulletin boards higher than my kids can reach yo keep the pins out of reach. I also intend to have a "put one up, take one down" policy so we don't become over cluttered and to help kids learn to enjoy things for a while but be able to let it go when the time comes.
  • I loved the idea of adding a wooden letter to the boards, designating one for each child, but since most of the projects are Ryan's, I'll just keep them generic for now.

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