DIY : Cable Rail Artwork Gallery

I have been trying to come up with a way to display my son’s artwork that he is starting to accrue from school each week. He is always so proud of it and I personally think he’s a regular Pablo Picasso, so I decided I must find a way to exhibit his masterpieces. Could I find something inexpensive, easy to make and functional?

Spoiler alert…I could and I did! [Insert happy dance and fist pumping here.]

First we tried the standard art on the refrigerator ploy, but there is more art than space and  I don’t like the way clutter looks on the fridge anyway.

My next plan was to use washi tape to display the art on the wall. I have seen pictures of this looking quite adorable and whimsical and carefree. I adore washi tape, it comes in cute colors and patterns and is similar to painter’s tape in that it is easily removable. However, that easily removable part is what bites you in the booty when you’re taping things other than small photos to a textured wall. The washi tape said, “This artwork is too heavy and amazing for me to hold…so I will continually peel off and drop said artwork on the floor so you can attempt to re-attach it 7 times each day.” Touché washi tape, touché!

Now it was onto plan C. After doing some pinterest-ing and racking my brain for ideas, I decided on a cable railing system. There is a kit you can buy from Ikea to achieve this look (it is meant for hanging curtains) but I wanted to see if I could make it for an even better price than my favorite Swedish super store. So, off to Home Depot I go…

Oh, and I must give a shout out to my handy hunk of a husband! He willingly helped me install this whole project. The large manly hands in the photos are his, not mine. I have the hands of a small child…or a hobbit.

Without further adieu; here are the directions so you can make your own fabulous and wonderful cable rail artwork gallery!

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As far as the materials required, my biggest tip would be to use a very sharp pair of wire cutters. When you cut the cable, you will need the cut to be really clean so it is easy to thread into the ferrules. Another option would be to have the hardware store cut it for you…the cable I bought was on a spool and needed to be cut by an employee anyway. This is where you should do as I say and not as I do…ask them to cut your wire into the desired lengths that you need.

I should also note that you don’t need to get the exact same sizes of cable and ferrules as I did. But you should use ferrules that are the same size as the gauge of the cable you select. Oh and by the way, if you’re wondering what in the hell a ferrule is, (because I hadn’t heard of that word until I looked on the packaging to describe them for this post) it’s a little metal piece that you loop cable through then crimp it essentially creating a knot.

Oh and one more thing, I used Ikea Riktig curtain hooks, but you could really use anything. I like the Ikea hooks because they have a hook and clip mechanism so it’s easy- peasy. But you could also use binder clips, clothespins, large paperclips or whatever strikes your fancy.

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Step 1: Use the wire cutters to carefully cut the cable to desired lengths.

Step 2: Watch your crazy cat try to attack said cable, further complicating the process.

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Step 3: Using a tape measure, mark horizontally on the wall where you will be placing your screw eyes. Make sure to space them a little bit closer together than the length of your cord since you will be looping the cord, therefore making it shorter. Use a level and the tape measure to make sure your two marks are even.

Step 4: For the next row of cable, measure vertically from your first screw eye up or down, this is an easy way to make the next row level and equidistant from the other.

Make sure to leave enough space for the biggest of items you will be hanging.

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Step 5: Drill a pilot holes using the marks you made as a guides.

Step 6: Twist each screw eye into their pilot holes until they are tight.

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Step 7: First thread the ferrule onto the cable and loop the cable through the first screw eye. Then, thread the other end of the cable back through the ferrule. (this is where having clean cuts on the cable ends will be key!)

Step 8: Using the pliers, pull the tail end of the cable through till the loop is the size that you want it to be.

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Step 9: Use the pliers (or if your wire cutters have a crimping tool use those) to crimp the ferrule so it’s tight around the cable.

Step 10: Repeat steps 3-9 for the other end of the cable.

*One thing to keep in mind when doing the final end of the cable is that you want to keep it really taught. You want the finished product to be as tight and straight as possible, this way, your hooks won’t slide all to the center if it sags. The way we prevented this is by having my husband crimp the ferrule down while I held the tail end of the cable tight with pliers so it didn’t slip. Teamwork baby!

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Violà! 15 bucks and 10 simple steps later, you will have a fun place to display your kiddos artwork or anything else that you would like to hang up on the wall.

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One of my favorite things about this display system is that it can be used to display anything and everything. I am currently using mine to display my little Picasso’s masterpieces but there are many other options. You could put up Instagram prints or photos, do something seasonal with holiday cards or seasonal artwork, or just an inspiration space similar to how you’d use a bulletin board. So many possibilities!

The best part is that it is easy to change-up your display as often as your mood/decor/needs change. Perfect for a serial decorator like myself.

Huzzah!

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And now, I’ll leave you with this picture of our lead supervisor of the project, Iris.

♥Brenna

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