Clothesline picture frame tutorial

We are leaving for vacation in two days. We are driving. To Colorado. Over fourteen hours in a car with a fourteen month old. I expect much blog fodder will be generated from this trip – posts entitled What to do With a Toddler While Driving Through Kansas, How Travel Affects Nap Schedules, Top 5 Baby Friendly Stops on the way to Denver and many more will be coming your way soon. đŸ™‚ As you can imagine, I’ve spent the past week making packing lists, doing numerous loads of laundry, and weeding through Charlotte’s ridiculously large collection of sundress to decide what to take. The only projects I’ve managed to finish are a collection of “busy bags” that will hopefully occupy Baby Girl at least part of the drive. Most of the busy bag examples I found through Pinterest were for older toddlers (feel free to check out my Traveling with Baby board for ideas), but I picked a few that I think will work. I’m excited to share them with you, but decided to wait until they’ve been “road tested” (tee-hee) and I can add notes on what worked and what didn’t.

In the meantime I thought I’d share a quick tutorial for the clothesline picture frame I made as part of my recent laundry room re-do. I wanted some casual, easily changed art for the space, and decided hanging snapshots from twine with clothespins would be just the thing.

– open-backed frame (I bought mine from Hobby Lobby on clearance. It’s pretty big, 18×24 in I think)
– jute twine
– staple gun
– ruler/pencil
– mini clothespins (available at any craft store)
– 4×6 photos

Step 1: Paint the frame

The frame I got was black. I originally had planned to paint it aqua to match the other accents, but  decided that might be too bright/matchy-matchy. I decided on gray instead, painting a base coat of white first so that when I distressed it the white would show through. It didn’t work as neatly as I’d planned, probably because I was too impatient to sand the frame before I painted it (C dropping to one nap is really cutting in on my DIY time). So I just did a little bit of light sanding to bring the white through and called it good.

Step 2: Mark the spaces for your lines

I did this step twice, so please learn from my mistake :). I thought I would just space the twine evenly, but after I’d measured and staples and hung pictures, I realized it looked funny to have the photos start so far down the frame, and I also didn’t have enough room to hang any pictures from the bottom line.

So I started over. This time I measured the spot for the first line of twine one inch from the top of the frame. The second line went six inches below that, to allow enough room for a vertical 4×6 picture. The last line went six inches below that, which left four inches from the twine to the bottom of the frame, room for horizontal 4×6 pictures.

Step 3: Staple the twine

I tied a knot on both ends of the twine and stretched it taut before stapling just before the knot. Hopefully this will make the line strong enough and prevent sagging (because just like a boy’s pants and an old lady’s bosom, sagging pictures ain’t pretty people)

Step 4: attach wall hangers

Actually you should probably do this before you staple the twine on, but I didn’t. I used two saw-toothed hangers since the frame was so big. I actually stapled them to the back, since I’ve found dealing with those tiny nails that come with the hangers to be tedious and ineffective.

Step 5: hang it on the wall

Usually this step is self explanatory, but this time I used a nifty trick that I thought I’d share. I hate hanging pictures that have two hangers on the back because it’s so hard to get them level and spaced correctly (math is not my strong suit). This time I put a piece of painter’s tape on the back of the frame, just under the hangers, and marked a dot in the center of each hanger. Then I drew a line on the wall with using a level where I wanted the picture to hang. Next I peeled off the painter’s tape and stuck it to the wall, using the line as a guide to make sure it was level. I hammered in the picture hangers right where I had marked the dots, took down the tape, and with baited breath hung the frame. It worked! When checked with a level the bubble was between the two inner lines, which was good enough for me!

I hung a bunch of my favorite photos that I already had on hand, and voila! Personalized, changeable artwork!

I decided to put all verticals on the first two lines and all horizontals on the last line because I liked the uniform look, but you could definitely mix it up. Eventually I’d like to try all black and white photos, because I think that would really help it read as one piece of art, but for now this works great. Here’s one more shot of the whole space (you can read all about the room update here).

How do you display photos that you want to be able to change easily?

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