DIY Frame Wallpaper for Children’s Art

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DIY Frame Wallpaper for Kids ArtI made some quick and easy frame wallpaper for my kids and their art yesterday by taping up some wide white butcher paper and drawing an assortment of frames on it. Maia, Daphne, and our friend Marlise all had lots of fun drawing pictures inside the frames, decorating the frames themselves, and, in some cases (mostly involving the toddler) drawing all around the frames. It was a hit! And all I needed was paper, tape, and drawing tools.

We've done this before on the chalkboard, but I thought I'd try an even larger version with paper this time. I was inspired by this wallpaper (found via Pinterest) but wanted something easy, inexpensive, and not quite so permanent.

I love how it looks, though, and plan to leave it up for a while…

Here's How I Made the Frame Wallpaper

DIY Frame Wallpaper for Kids Art

First I hung the butcher paper on the wall with masking tape and some moral support from Daphne. I trimmed the paper off near the baseboard and taped the bottom to the wall as well.

DIY Frame Wallpaper for Kids Art

Then I drew a variety of shapes and sizes of frames with a black sharpie. This was Daphne's nap time but she took a shorter-than-usual nap yesterday then directed my frame drawing, telling me to "draw a little, little frame here, Mama."

DIY Frame Wallpaper for Kids Art

When Maia and Marlise came home from school, they started right in with their drawings…

DIY Frame Wallpaper for Kids Art

They collaborated on some of the drawings and also worked on their own pictures.

DIY Frame Wallpaper for Kids Art

The girls had a new box of oil pastels to use. I thought they'd be a good choice for this project because they go on so smoothly and vibrantly. Also, you can use the side of the pastel for filling in larger areas. While I demonstrated using the side, though, they stuck to drawing with the tip.

DIY Frame Wallpaper for Kids Art

Daphne's scribbles and marks were all over the place, of course, both inside the frames and out.

DIY Frame Wallpaper for Kids Art

I'm not sure why the kids drew drew only portraits, but we now have a wall of smiling faces in our living room. Plus a rainbow inside a sun, which I LOVE (see lower left).

DIY Frame Wallpaper for Kids Art

This frame wallpaper was so easy to set up as an art activity—I recommend it! I really like how frames make kids approach their drawing and art a little differently. Sometimes it's good to think inside the box. Heh.

Do you have butcher paper? I don't usually buy it because of the high cost but came across this roll in a children's consignment store. You could also use easel paper and maybe just tape two sheets side by side. Or you could use the big brown contractors paper that you can get at mega home stores. With the brown paper, you could either use white paint to paint inside the frames first (I considered doing this, just because I thought it would look cool), letting the paint dry before letting the kids draw or paint their pictures. Or, you could just let them draw on the paper as is. Oil pastels are vibrant enough to show up pretty well on the brown.

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  1. says

    Love this idea so much I just did it for the girls. I didn’t do the whole wall but about half way up. I also pieced paper together. I have a huge roll of brown paper but it is in the basement. Too lazy. I cannot wait unt the kids see it. Thanks so much!!!!

  2. says

    I absolutely LOVE this idea. A little bit of parent prep for a whole bunch of kid creativity. Wonderfully executed and thank you for sharing with us!
    Sarah M

  3. brandy C says

    This is so cool! I just set up a smaller version for an after school activity and my kiddos are so excited about it!

  4. says

    I had a chance so I went with it. The five year old did it do I made another for my two year old. Best idea. They both loved it. Thanks !!!!

  5. rachel says

    totally doing this w/my easel paper tomorrow! (all 4 will be home, will be glad to have some projects set up-thx!)

  6. Pia says

    Wow- totally inspired me. I just set this up for when my eldest gets home from school and younger wakes up from nap. Only q is my younger daughter is 2 so still likes to “drill” holes in the paper with whatever implement she is given… how to encourage her to not drill into this???
    still I am looking fwd to it- thankyou!

  7. Carly says

    This is awesome. We have ugly brown wood panelling in the basement. I’m going to cover the lower half of the basement walls to brighten it up. There are always crayons and markers around so it will be an ongoing project. And, being a bit of a clean freak, I won’t get upset if they write on the wood panelling by accident (versus writing on their bedroom walls!).

  8. rachel says

    ok, had to report!
    the boys watched me hang up some easel paper. they were very curious. when i got a pen out to draw the frames, they shouted in agreement “STOP!” they did not want frames and wanted freedom to just free draw. interesting. so they brought up crayons and markers and promptly divided up spaces among them. no collaberation here! they did admire and comment on each other’s work though. justin,6 1/2 drew a dragon and wrote his name, nathan (5)doodled spirals and drew a rocket, and joe (almost 3) drew “water” with a red marker- lots of fun scribbles. desmond watched briefly but then did his own thing. i was certain he would try to rip off the paper but he didn’t.
    fun project! thanks so much. will definitely do again. i think if i want to try drawing “starts” (frames or whatever), i think i’ll have to do that part if they aren’t here. watching me do that made them feel like i was messing up their space.

  9. Ann says

    great idea – I just gave a big roll away. I would suggest finding out if you have any architect friends (or ask at a local firm). I am an architect and often have old sets of drawings that are 24″x36″ or larger that you can use the back of. I can only take so many home. If a roll of paper arrives damaged and can’t fit the plotter as just happened then it is either give it away or recycle it.

  10. says

    Oh Jean, I just love this. I know my guys would love it too — we have enough regular drawing on the walls to know they like drawing there. :) I might have to bust out the brown contractors paper tonight after they go to bed! (Also, I love Ann’s idea above — might be cool to actually draw over old architectural drawings as well. I have some naval architecture drawings that my sister did, might have to pull a couple out and let the kids have at it.)

  11. says

    That’s so funny! I love how they took complete ownership! And yes, if you did want to make frames, maybe you’d do it when they are asleep or out of the house.

  12. says

    Well, perhaps a softer drawing implement is in order for the younger child. It would be just about impossible to drill holes with an oil pastel, for example.

  13. says

    I love this idea! I wanted to let you know that I featured this today in my “What I Bookmarked This Week” post – stop by and see.

  14. Sandra A says

    Absolutely awesome. I have yet to set it up because I want the same huge paper like you, Jean. You said it was butcher paper?! Was it on a roll or folded… it’s so wide. I love that. I know my daughter will love it too. And I wanted to say , the photos you took look fantasic. especially the first one with Daphne in front of the drawings – looks like inside an art gallery!

  15. ashley parks says

    I ordered a sample of that wall paper from the company years ago to show to teaching staff to inspire them while they inspire children. I ended up putting the wallpaper up in my office and had the coolest wall place for pictures. I love love love your amazing frames you drew and the pics are awesome!

  16. says

    brilliant idea, Im out first thing in the morning to find the paper. You have so many wonderful idea’s, i see myself browsing your site for hours. thank you.
    ive added this to my new facebook page “parenting toolbox” which i created to act as a library for all the amazing articles i find on parenting. thanks again. you have inspired me immensely

  17. says

    I love using large pieces of paper for art. It seems as if the paper is oversize their imaginations seem to grow with it :)
    I hope to do this one soon – I have two girls who will love it. If I use it as a blog post I will link back to your lovely lovely site, thanks so much :)

  18. bethanylbirch@gmail.com says

    I haven’t read every comment, so this may have already been mentioned, but we use the back side of a roll of inexpensive wrapping paper to draw on a lot. I love the little bit of gloss it has and we buy a ton of it on clearance after the holidays. I sometimes roll it out on the floor and tape it down with painters tape (comes up easier when it’s time). I am going to try taping it to the walls and doing this project with it. Love it. It works best with markers.

  19. Lindsey says

    I’m going to try this with my K-2 students this week, but I’m going to create a page that has frames on it and give them each their own “mini-wall” so they can create. I will hang them in the hall after they finish.

  20. Lindsey says

    I did this with my K-2 students today, but created a “wall of frames” on 11×17 paper (one for each of them) and let them go. My 1st & 2nd graders thought they were picture frames and mirrors and drew great pictures accordingly, but my kindergartners were much more creative. They ended up seeing the frames as frames, mirrors, rugs, carpet, pillows, beds, tvs, and windows. It was fantastic! Thanks for the great idea!

  21. Cecilia Ko says

    I was looking for art activity to occupy my son so I stole your idea and wonder what my son would come out with!!! What creative way to do drawing in picture frames!!

  22. Clare says

    Hi, thank you so much for sharing this wonderful idea. We have got it ready for the children when they come back to school on Monday and I know they’ll love it!