This Artist Created a DIY Shrine to Her Family for Her Gallery Wall

published Apr 26, 2023
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A gallery wall in a sunny bungalow's dining room

Although some gallery walls are meticulously curated to fit a specific aesthetic, others fit that “memory wall” appearance. And if you’re currently building a gallery wall to display your most important pieces of art, photos, and other nostalgic memorabilia, then this artist’s DIY shrine will definitely inspire you to get crafting.

Dutch illustrator and artist Wies van der Velde posted a video to her Instagram account showing how she crafted a shrine to her two grandmothers using bits of cardboard, paper, and paint.

“I’ve had these pictures for some time now. And I think they are so special,” van der Velde wrote in the caption of her post. “They are both my grandmothers around 18 years old and I look so much like the picture on the left … I’m named after these two wonderful women and I had to give them a more special place.”

She continued, “It’s wonderful to see how with simple cardboard, paper, tape, paint, and even some baking soda you can make something special. I think these ladies would’ve appreciated that as well.”

Van der Velde first made the shadowbox and frame out of cardboard and tape and later made it stronger and clay-like using paper-mâché. In the comments section, she also mentioned that she used air-dry clay to create the scalloped edges around the shadowbox openings, as well as the sun and moon motifs. Then, using paint mixed with baking soda, she coated the entire thing to make it look even more like ceramic.

Finally, she added a few gold accents and stacked a few pieces of cardboard to make the images of her grandmothers float within the boxes. And after attaching a hanging system to the back, van der Velde added the shrine to her gallery wall.

For even more inspiration for your own DIY shrine, you can look up Mexican Nicho boxes, which are used and displayed in a similar way. Grab an old cardboard box and some paint, and prepare to give your gallery wall a personalized facelift.