My Hallway: Making Lemonade

Pretty, isn't it?


After roughly four years of living with a huge eye sore of a circuit panel, I finally covered it up with someone a little less visually offensive.

I found this large photo collage frame on sale last year for $10. I didn't originally intend it for the hallway, but after searching and searching elsewhere for something tall enough to put in the space, I tripped over this "little" gem hiding away in our office. Nice!

It isn't much, but definitely an improvement, don'tcha think?

Only one problem: I was itching for some color in that dark, windowless hall. So what's a girl to do? Break out the spray paint, baby!

The frame actually had a pretty finish, but it's not real wood and it was inexpensive, so I didn't think twice about painting over it. A quick dusting of white spray primer and it was ready for color: Rustoleum's AQUA in satin finish.

Before painting, I had recently read online that Windex would take off spray paint so you didn't have to spend extra time taping off glass or a mirror.

I did a quick test after the first coat, and it seemed to work just fine. Awesome!

What was I thinking? After 4-5 coats of turquoise paint, I was in trouble. That stuff ain't goin' no where.

I scrubbed and I scrubbed. I soaked it. I started scraping it off with a blade. That's when it happened...

I thought:
Maybe it doesn't look so bad. Maybe it looks kinda cool. Maybe...I should just leave it.


I know, crazy. Honestly, it did look kinda cool, and I did think of leaving that way and framing a big piece of art under it. Could be kinda hip. Could start a revolution. Could mean I'm lazy.


I'll tell you one thing, however, after about three hours of trying to get that paint off I decided to scrap the project and call it a loss...until it hit me. Lemonade out of lemons, right?

Duh, I could paint over it...again!

Chalk paint! Oh how I love thee.
A fine layer of primer, a little black Rustoleum chalk board spray paint, and I'm back in business!

Don't forget to also "prime" your new chalkboard by covering the entire surface using the broad side of basic white chalk, then wipe with a damp cloth.

Sorry I didn't take more photos, but you can assume here that the glass has been painted and "primed" with chalk. I'm starting to get excited now!

I cut some basic thick twine to wrap around the front side of the glass/chalkboard. Using masking tape, I then taped down one end of string to the back of the glass, pulled tight, and taped the opposite end, creating a place to hang photos.

(Me, as a blond)

Not only was this going to be a great big chalkboard but also a photo memory board!


Let's check out the "before" again, shall we?

See my picture hooks? Notice the panel isn't even centered on the wall? Blah.

Aaaaand, "after".

Before: The original frame

After: A newly painted and repurposed frame!

Dark and dreary hallway...

...more colorful and personalized hallway!

And, yes, that's my two year old on an iPad. This kid can work the TV/Playstation remotes better than I.

Ultimately, I'll use all black and white photos, maybe add some dark glaze around the edges of the frame to give it more depth, and hang more frames and art to complete the wall.

(A little Photoshop magic showing the photos all in b & w and not-so-realistic looking frame antiquing)

So what do you think? My husband walked by after I'd finished it and said, "Wow, sweetie. I really like it!" This was definitely an improvement since during the project, with spray paint, chalk paint, string, clothes pins...he couldn't figure out what would make me torture such a decent frame. ;)


LESSON LEARNED: This turned out better than I'd planned (rather than simply painting the frame). Photo collages sometimes seem too cluttered for me, so rethinking this frame (even after I'd destroyed it) made me like it even more!

Q & A: Ever start out in one direction on a project and end up going a totally different direction? What are your thoughts on covering up unsightly home hardware? Ever had your significant other look at you like all that spray paint and E6000 has finally gone to your head?

Images owned by Bella Storia
{tags: spray paint, turquoise, chalk paint, before and after, photo frame}