If you’re looking to make a big statement with a relatively small budget, an Instagram feature wall is an excellent DIY project.
Here’s exactly how I made mine…
What I love about a project like this (aside from the fact that I can actually do it, unlike most other DIY projects) is that it’s personal and semi-handmade but still delivers a sleek and modern finished product.
The most time consuming part for me was selecting which photos to feature, and I plan on rotating them out in the future so my work there is never really done. After about 90 minutes digging through my photo archives, the remaining end-to-end project really only takes about an hour if you’ve already got your frames in hand.
(1) Select your photos
I decided to go with 9 photos to mimic Instagram’s 3-column grid.
I knew I wanted to include all three pets, one wedding shot, some scenes from around Charlotte and anything else that looked aesthetically pleasing together. It kind of took me forever.
To figure out which photos should go where in my grid, I just dragged them into Pages (that’s MS Word for you PC users) so I could move them around. You could also just move them around on a table after you’ve printed them but I wanted to get it right before printing.
You’ll notice I balanced my images according to color. The corners are anchored with heavily saturated blues/greens/turquoises. The middle diamond is more muted with whites/grays/beiges. And the dead center is a standalone bold hot pink. I chose that one because I love it (they’re the doughnuts from our wedding day) and because there is pink in the dining room rug.
Once you know which photos you want, just make sure they’re cropped to square shape and save the files to a flash drive for printing later.
(2) Buy your frames
IKEA’s Ribba series is the way to go here. Their square frames come in 9″ x 9″ or 19.75″ x 19.75″ and are available with black or white borders. $10 for the small and $15 for the large. I went with the larger ones.
Keep in mind the big frames are very big. My 9-photo grid is a substantial 5 ft x 5 ft, which is not subtle at all. And it’s on purpose. I hate my current fireplace so this is where I want people’s eyes to go instead.
If you have a smaller wall or just want a less dominant piece, go for the small frames.
The best part about the Ribba frames is they come with a mat, which I think looks clean and expensive. You could also remove the mat and print larger photos if you prefer that look.
(3) Print your photos
If you have a favorite local printer, go for that. Personally, I like FedEx Office. They’ve never failed me, and I’ve made three of these walls.
Just hand them your flash drive and ask for each file to be printed 12″ x 12″. They’ll tell you they only have 12 x 18″ paper, which is fine because you can just trim it when you get home.
No need for fancy paper or a glossy finish. Just regular old full color prints look great under the frame. They’re $1.50 each so this cost me about $15.
Regarding photo quality, all of my images (except our wedding shot) were shot on an iPhone (either 5s or 7+). Whatever default file size was on my phone was big enough to print to 12″ x 12″ without distortion/pixelation. In fact, FedEx usually ends up sizing my files DOWN to print, as they’re set to print at something like 34″ x 34″.
Note: Don’t have them trim the excess for you at FedEx. They charge $1.50 per cut and it’ll end up costing you more than the photo itself. Just do it at home.
Note 2: You have to go to a FedEx OFFICE, not just a pack and ship FedEx. These are the combo FedEx/Kinko’s locations that have rebranded at FedEx Office.
(4) Fill your frames
Pretty self explanatory. I just used Scotch tape to affix the photos to the back of the mats.
(5) Measure and hang
I won’t sugarcoat this for you: hanging the frames is the worst part because the slightest miscalculation will send the whole thing askew. Precision is important so I’m pretty neurotic about this step.
I tackled it by hanging my top center frame first and then measuring the other nails out and down from there.
If you want my exact measurements, my center nail was at 36″ (dead center on a 72-inch wall) and then each subsequent nail went in 22″ left, right or down from there. That left me with a nice 1.5-inch buffer grid between frames.
Once I had a row of three nails, I’d hang all the frames to make sure they looked right before taking them down again to measure the second row. I did that to avoid measuring the second and third rows from incorrect starting points. That would’ve really sent me over the edge.
If you want to really lock these in place, you could affix some kind of sticky pad to the corners to keep them from tilting.
That’s it! That’s how I made my wall. Here’s the cost break down… (If you don’t have tape and nails on hand at all times, include those in your expenses)
IKEA Ribba frames: $15 x 9 = $135
FedEx Office 12″ x 12″ prints: $1.50 x 9 = $13.50
Grand total: less than $150 🙂
I absolutely love the finished product. Now I just have to get that ugly light fixture swapped out (and centered) and the dining room will be just about set. Let me know if you’ve got a slick IKEA hack for that.