I was recently invited to appear on Studio 5 and discuss how to design your own ancestor wall in your home. I am particularly passionate about where I come from, so designing this project was so special to me. I loved watching all of my ancestors come together in one place, and see to how we all looked alike and are connected!
We also announced on the segment that we are now offering DESIGN services!!! Whether that is working on a smaller project like an ancestor wall or completely renovating home, we can help! Click the "Design Tab" link on our website for more information.
My sweet Mother-in-Law and Mom tagged a long and helped me set everything up and cheer me on. I seriously couldn't have done it without their help.
Also...the host of Studio 5, Brooke Walker, is the sweetest most professional lady I have ever met. #girlboss goals.
You can view my full segment and the step-by-step instructions below!
Step-by-Step Directions: How to Create Your Own Ancestor Wall
1.) Sourcing Your Ancestor Photos: There are several options when finding pictures of your ancestors-and I personally think this is the funnest part. The first thing I do is talk to family members and ask if they have any ancestor photos that I can have or borrow and make copies of. This is a fun activity to do with your kids, as you can haul the whole family over the grandma's and not only see pictures of your ancestors, but hear the stories and tales about these incredible people. It makes the old black and white photos of your ancestors come to life for your kids, and attaches meaning to creating an ancestor wall as a family.
Once you have collected all of your families photos, I recommend using Family Search (www.familysearch.org). The account is free, and if you are LDS, you likely already have an account set up that you may not even know about yet. Once you log in, click on your profile and then click "Portrait Pedigree". Here you can view a Pedigree chart with pictures of your ancestors. If you are looking for a specific ancestor's picture, you can simply type their name into the search bar. Once you reach the ancestor's profile that you are looking for, click on "Memories". The memories section contains all of the uploaded pictures and accompanying stories of your ancestor.
I also recommend including photos of your current family in your ancestor wall. It's fun to see your picture side by side with your ancestor and see who looks like who. I recommend doing your current family photo in black and white, as it makes the wall look more cohesive, especially if you are using different styles of frames.
2.) Printing Your Photos: When using scanned photos or printing them off of Family Search, it's totally doable to print the photos at home as long as you are using the right paper. Use a paper from the craft store that looks antiqued (Michael's has an entire section of these) and print on those. This makes the newly printed pictures blend in better with the original old photos that you are using as well. If you don't mind the photos looking slightly brighter than the original photos, just print on a matte paper from the office supply store. If you don't want to print the photos yourself, I recommend printing them at Costco. Be sure to have them printed on matte paper, as it makes the new photos look more like the originals back in the day.
3.) Sourcing Your Frames: I like to use a variety of different frames to add contrast and interest to the photos, which generally tend to all be in black and white. I like to mix old and new frames, as you don't want your wall to look like it came right out of your Grandma's house, but you also don't want a bunch of super modern frames with photo's that go back to the 1800's. By mixing old and new, you can accomplish a timeless look that can stay in your home for years to come.
The key to using different colors/styles of frames is to pick a look and go with it. I wanted my ancestor wall to have a timeless and darker feel to it, so I used blacks, deep browns, and faded golds. By using a couple of brown frames, a few black accents, and some gold frames ,alI with similar detailing to achieve this look. Don't just use one brown frame on a wall of black frames, or it wont look cohesive. I like to say, "Every frame needs a family to belong to!" I also like to use mirrored frames in my gallery walls as they reflect the colors of the other frames, making the look feel more polished and cohesive. To add some color to your wall, add an oil painting to the gallery.
WHERE TO SHOP:
For antique frames: Euro Treasures in (SLC, UT), Home Again (Midvale, UT), The Planted Earth (Orem, UT), Estate Sales (posted on KSL Classifieds)
For new frames: World Market, Target, TJ Maxx, Pottery Barn (more modern), BHLDN, and my own shop, Blossom Design (sometimes we have antique frames as well)
*Getting an entire wall of frames put together at once can be expensive. No frame that I purchased on my wall was over $35.00, but it still adds up quickly. If your budget is tight, I recommend gradually building your wall and collecting frames overtime, perhaps setting a goal to buy one or two frames per month.
4.) Creating Your Gallery Wall: Buy a Scotch Postal Wrapping Paper Roll AND a picture hanging kit from Target to use as your gallery wall template. Measure the wall space size you are wanting to cover for your gallery and create those dimensions using your paper. Lay your paper on the ground and start placing your frames on the paper how you would like them arranged. Once you have determined your arrangement, trace the outline of each frame using a black sharpie. One completed, tape your paper on your desired wall space for your gallery. This is an unusual method as most people will cut out the individual shape of each frame on separate sheets of paper, but when using a variety of different style/colored frames I do not like to do that as I can't arrange the frames the way I want to insure that the different styles and colors are placed correctly. Once your paper is securely taped to the wall, start hammering nails through the paper and the wall on the top lines of each frames outline. When completed, tear down the paper and hang your frames on the nails.