After perusing my boards on Pinterest, I quickly realized how much I loved collage walls.. although the ones on Pinterest were always impeccable, shining with expensive-looking pieces of art paired with perfectly coordinated frames. I knew with my budget of little to nothing, I would have to get creative to create that quirky, fun collage wall I dreamed of...
TIP #1: Just do it. Just start.
So we moved into an apartment in San Antonio. I didn't feel any pressure about putting holes in these 50 year-old newly-painted walls. It had been a long move and I was so anxious to get settled. I decided if I ever wanted to make my little "home sweet home," I just had to do it. I started with one picture and without any plan of where I would go from there, I hung it. Instead of focusing on what photo I wanted there, (and spending hours on the Costco website/my computer trying of figure out what pictures I wanted in what size and what frame, etc) I just focused on and hung the frames themselves, knowing I could worry about the pictures I would put inside later. I started small and just kept adding as I felt so inclined.
TIP #2: Use thrift store frames/what you have
I had anything but pretty, artsy frames with large white mattes like I dreamed of. I had a box-full of really random frames. I had purchased two frames over the last few years of marriage and a couple things (the mirror and one frame) had been given to me. The rest (10 out of 14) were from thrift stores or garage sales... prices ranging from $0.10 to $2.00! I repurposed one frame I already had by repainting it from black to grey and turning the inner part of the frame (which was a maroon color) backwards, which revealed an unfinished wood. Just get creative with what you have and get started. Look at it as a work in progress, not something that has to be perfect and done right away. Hang some pictures and see what you think. Over time you will tweak little things here and there and keep perfecting it!
TIP #3: Think outside the box to give your wall pizazz.
Ideally my frames would be filled with original art from Etsy, but that's not my reality so I had to get creative. I printed off one large 16x20 inch "Dream House" print from Costco.com for $5.99. The papyrus prints I got in Egypt for cheap on a study abroad I did in college. The quotes I printed on my home computer in black and white. I really simply "designed" them on the websites Pic Monkey and Recite This. The picture of the temple is a page I ripped out of an old Young Women's church manual. Just get creative! Use pages out of old books, use art your kids have drawn, make your own "abstract" art, use pictures you already have printed and just play around with how they look in different frames. Other decorative pieces, besides simply framed pictures, add so much to a collage wall, like the mirror and little mushroom picture (25 cents at Goodwill!) in mine. This is where you can really get creative using vintage pieces, repurposing things, family heirlooms, keepsakes, shadow boxes, clothing or accessories, antlers, clocks, letters, canvases, children's art projects, paint/repurpose something you've grown sick of... the possibilities are only limited by your imagination! I've gotten a lot of my inspiration by browsing Pinterest (here are my boards with lots of ideas!). Don't feel like your wall has to be final. Look at it as one big, evolving work of art that will change right along with you. :)
I am in no way an expert on decor, art, etc... but I have had so much fun with this wall. It is so fun and cozy. It gets a lot of comments and compliments and people just enjoy looking at it. It doesn't suit the style of many, but it is quirky and perfect for us. It adds so much life and flare to our living room. All I used was a hammer, nails, and a level. It is far from perfect and there are always a few pictures that are off-kilter, but it suits us just fine!
Good luck with your own collage wall, whether it fills up a large wall or just a few pieces in a bathroom. I would love to see what you've done! Post links to your walls and we can inspire each other. :) and remember, most importantly, all that matters is that you and your family/house-dwelling mates like it! Don't worry about being quirky or unmatched. If it is perfect for you then it is perfect!