DIY Projects

September 9, 2015

DIY: Mod Gallery Wall

Kai Ethier shares step-by-step instructions on how to make this mid-century modern-inspired display. 

Kai-Ethier-FeaturedImgWatching the classic 1958 film Indiscreet, I fell in love with the grid of frames with brightly colored mats and black and white sketches in Ingrid Bergman’s character’s London flat. I had a collection of black and white paintings to hang, so I decided to create my own mid-century modern-inspired display. Here’s how in four easy steps.



You’ll need frames with mats, sample pots of paint, a paintbrush, and a paint roller.

Step 1: Choose Frames and Remove Mats

Pick several plain black or white frames, remove the mats and set frames aside. You could use a wood-toned or colored frame, but I liked the contrast of the graphic black frame against the vivid hue of the mat.

Step 2: Pick Paint Colors

I selected a different bright color for each frame so that 
the finished project would have a big impact, but you could choose a few colors that are variations on one shade — whatever works best with your decor.

Step 3: Paint Mats

Give each mat a first coat of paint with a small paintbrush. I used water-based interior paint that
 I had left over from another project, but you could use exterior paint or acrylic craft paint, too.

While the paint is still wet, gently go over it with a small paint roller to even out the color and smooth any visible brushstrokes.
 Let it dry, then apply at least one more coat using the same technique. (Some of my darker hues required a third coat.) Repeat with a different paint color for each mat.

Step 4: Reassemble Frames

Once all mats have dried, place the mats and artwork in the frames and hang. I filled my frames with simple botanical silhouettes, but you could use line drawings or black and white photos — anything with a simple subject in black and white.

Author: Kai Ethier

Angus Fergusson


Chair, Hollace Cluny; pillow fabric, Romo; pillow sewing, Tonic Living; table, Avenue Road; rug, Ecarpet Gallery; flooring, Kentwood; frames, Ikea; paint colors, Farrow & Ball.


House & Home April 2015


Kai Ethier