Coming up with inventive ways to display your photos can be a challenge. I love a good gallery wall with simple frames but even that can get old quickly. Plus, arranging those can be a real challenge! I also love the look of vintage polaroids and I love to add some unexpected depth wherever I can. So, this 3D polaroid block gallery wall was born! The original idea was to take your favorite photos from your Instagram (since they are already cropped to square..most likely…) and make them into these faux polaroid prints. But you can do this with any photos, previously Instagrammed or not!
I actually already shared a tutorial for these polaroid blocks a little over two years ago. It was one of the very first DIY posts we shared here on AJR and it has always been pretty popular. But, since it was a first post, the photos and instructions I felt were a bit lacking. So I wanted to revisit it and give it an update. The timing was perfect as I wanted to include these blocks on a wall in our new place.
So I printed out a bunch of new photos and made new blocks! The method stayed exactly the same but the pictures I chose for the blocks changed oh so much! It was fun to see the photos I had chosen when I made these about 3 years ago and how much life had changed! Back then the photos were all Nathanial and I, taking selfies together or out with friends. My hair was long and dark with bangs. Now the pictures are like 80% just Stella and only 4 of them don’t have her at all. haha! I’m also blonde in all of them and they are a lot more colorful which I think is funny (and perfect for this most colorful room of my house)!
The honest main reason I wanted to revisit these blocks in this house was because there are so many photos of Stella and our family that I love so much and I currently don’t have any gallery walls and very few photos throughout our house. I like to keep things fairly simple and I don’t have a lot of shelves or tables to fill with frames. But I really felt that these photos hadn’t gotten enough love and I wanted to see them more! Especially the photo shoot from Stella’s one year birthday. Gah, I love those photos! Our newest family pictures (from this December) are also beautiful but that one year shoot was exactly what I had imagined and our photographer (Malissa’s husband Greg) got so many ADORABLE pictures of little Stella.
So, a new block wall and new step-by-step photos were necessary! I love that this isn’t exactly a minimal decor idea but it also doesn’t overwhelm you at all. You could also choose all black and white photos and really have a minimal look going. It’s so versatile! The look I have going here is colorful and fun, but last time it was a lot more retro/vintage with a darker pallet. Do whatever works for your space!
- 2×4, cut into 4″ long pieces //
- Photos, printed on template (below) //
- Mod Podge or other glue //
- Paintbrush (if using Mod Podge) //
- Cutting tool //
- Velcro command strips //
1. Buy a 2 x 4. Cut it into 4″ long pieces so the final measurements of each block are 4″ x 3.5″ x 1.5″
2. Download the template:
There is a PSD and a JPEG file, if you don’t have photoshop. If you do, the template will look like this when opened:
Place photos within the large squares and crop to them if necessary. Then save the print as a JPEG or PNG. The lines will not print so don’t worry! If you’re using the JPEG template, there are just two little squares. Match your photos to those, just barely covering them.
3.Print your photos on 5″ x 7″ prints from your favorite print shop.
4. Cut 1″ off the bottom of each print.
5. Cut each print in half right between the two photos.
6. Cover the back of each block with glue (I painted on Mod Podge).
7. Place each photo on each block, pressing to the glue.
8. Cut velcro command strips into 4ths, you don’t need a whole strip for these blocks as they’re fairly lightweight.
9. Attach connected pieces of command strips to the back, top, center of each block.
10. My favorite way to hang a grid uses the following items: ribbon or string, scissors, level, tape measure, pencil and tape.
11. Create a grid. Measure from the top of wherever you are hanging the photos (either the ceiling or under a shelf like I did) and tape a ribbon along this measurement. Measure down however far you are hanging the next line of photos and tape another ribbon there and so on. Then, use a level to make your first vertical line of ribbon. Measure out from this line and tape another vertical line and so on. Here is how I figured out my measurements:
I did 28 blocks. So I would have 4 rows of 7 blocks. I wanted them directly under the shelf and that measurement was 34.5″ long. I That left about 1 5/8″ between each block. Each row was spaced 2″ apart. So each square on my grid measures 5 1/8″ by 6″. Except the last column (on the right) which is 3.5″ x 6″.
13. Remove ribbon/string grid. All done!
I always get lots of compliments on these blocks and I’m sure you will too! Its a unique idea that showcases a lot of photos in a fairly simple manner. The grid makes it look clean and neat instead of chaotic, which is hard to do with 28+ photos! I’m so happy to have more photos of my family displayed in my home. Are you planning a gallery wall any time soon?