Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wall Decor: DIY Framed Agate Slices

After drooling over Horchow's framed agate slices, priced at $245 each (yes, EACH!), I was determined to make a set for myself and not sacrifice style.
I love with how this DIY project turned out - and at just $25 each!

When they came out looking so spiffy, I contemplated hanging in my room so I could see them more often.  The variety of colors and movement is really stunning in person.

DIY Cost & Materials Used
averaged $25 each frame (or just $21 each if you buy the same frames cheaper at Wal-mart)
  • Gallery Solutions Gallery Frame (window size: 12" square) regularly $29.99 but with a coupon at JoAnn's I paid $12.99 each.
    But dang it, I just found them at at Wal-Mart for just $8.00 right now! That's a $60 difference.  Ugh. Why did I search for them?!? Obviously, you could really score a deal on frames and really cut costs.
  • Agate Slices - $150 for 12 slices averaging about 3-4 inches around.
    Price varies according to size of the slices, so YMMV.
    Originally I bought six blue "coaster sized" slices but I felt the space needed more, so I ordered 6 more from a different store.  My favorite slices were purchased from the Etsy shop GeoSpeicimens, who I highly recommend!  They were just more interesting to look at and his shop has ones that I would pick out if I ever happened to be shopping in a rock store. Haa.
  • Speedball Mona Lisa Gold Leaf Kit - $11.76
    I used less than 2 sheets for all 12 agate slices.
    Admittedly, this part was the most time consuming but the result is stunning, so I think it's worth it.  

Hanging Frames in a Grid (without an assistant!)

I won't re-invent the wheel here, there are plenty of tutorials to tackle hanging frames in a grid.  The one I found easiest to follow was from Insideways using painters tape as the spacer while also being used to mark out the grid.

Does anyone look forward to this process?  I expected it to be painful, so I had my frames laid out on the floor for a month (but hey, that includes the time I was out of town for Christmas so not as bad, right?!), but the process was easier than I expected.

First variable:
Without a laser level

Since walls can sometimes be crooked, and not having a laser level, measuring out the grid seemed like a bad idea to me (and too tedious!).  Next idea was to use a homemade plumb-bob.
Basically, I tied a washer to one end of a long piece of thread and then taped the other end at the top of where I wanted a line.  After the string stops swinging back and forth like a pendulum, you have a tried and true straight line.   Science!  

In this photo below, I've used my plumb-bob five times to create those lines.  
It's fun to say plumb-bob.  Try it.

Second variable:
Using a template to hang frames (highly recommended!)
The cardboard template was awesome (aka the back of the frame box)!  It is exactly the size of the frame with tiny holes poked out where I need to put my nails.  Plus cardboard won't scuff your walls (like how holding a frame against the wall can sometimes do).

  1. Line up the template between the tape, taking care that both sides line up with the perfectly straight taped lines.
  2. With a pencil, mark the spot for your nails through the holes you poked out on the template.
  3. Hammer nails where you marked and hang your frame!  Viola!

Wall "holding" my cardboard template for me
I used a 1.5 inch "spacer" made from tape on the back of my cardboard template to consistently space frames below another

Would I do it all again???
The process to hang the frames in a grid was easier and faster than I expected. Once I had my straight lines up, it was hammer hammer and done.

The entire project was easy, but somewhat time consuming (gold leafing 12 agate slices is where the majority of my time was spent).  I love the results, and would totally do it all again!!


  1. Gorgeous and so impressive!

  2. It looks so good! I'm glad my grid tutorial worked for you :)

  3. I just ordered some agate so I could make these myself! I have a few questions.
    1. What did you use to mount the agate? Glue dots?
    2. Did you just use strong cardstock?
    I'm so excited, thanks for the great idea!

  4. Oops! Hi Katherine, sorry I forgot those details.
    1) To avoid adding additional bulk (since agate will be a tight fit behind the glass), I used 2-4 small pieces of Scotch brand's double sided tape behind the dark portions of the agate. I could see it from the front side when I placed it on translucent portion.
    2) you're spot on - I used lightweight card stock I had on hand.
    If you wanted to get creative, a subtle coordinating wrapping paper or even a plain fabric wrapped around the backer could be fun... Just depends on the look you want.
    I'd love to see a photo of your finished project!

  5. this look was suggested to me by my interior a cost of $250 each...think im going the DIY route :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...