21st Birthday Gallery Wall

Last month my oldest daughter, Izzy, turned 21.  It was a special time, and a chance to reflect on those first 21 years of her life!  I remember various people saying to me when she was little to make the most of this precious time, as they grow up so quickly.  This is such a cliché, but it is so true; one minute they are babies and toddlers – the next they are young adults, ready to take on the world.

As a photo organiser, and lover of all things to do with photos, I knew I wanted to do something special with photos for Izzy on her birthday. I thought about a photo book, but she was given one on her 18th birthday by her sister.  I then thought about something for her wall and decided to design a gallery wall for her, as I knew she liked the two gallery walls I had created in my home office.

Izzy’s favourite place to visit in South Australia is Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park at the bottom of the Yorke Peninsula, and I decided to use photos that I’d taken on various visits to Innes to make up the gallery wall.  I shortlisted the photos that I thought I might use, including those images that she’d ‘Liked’ when I’d posted on Facebook. There was a mix of coastal scenery, fauna and flora and I made sure I included her favourite swim spots.

I sourced a set of gallery wall frames on the internet and bought additional frames to make up a set of thirteen. I then played around with the layout and made a final selection of photos to suit the frames and layout. I had the photos printed at Atkins to ensure they were of high quality, and then had fun putting them all into the frames!

When it came to wrapping the frames, I wrapped each of them individually in plain brown wrapping paper, mainly because that’s what I happened to have in the house at the time. I ended up with thirteen separate packages ranging in size from small to large and then came up with the idea of decorating each of them with a photo of Izzy from each year of her life. Having an organised photo collection, I found it easy to find 21 photos from 2001 to 2021, and printed them as 4x6in. I stuck each of the photos on the wrapped frames, and the larger frames had 2 photos attached, to make up the 21. Using a black sharpie, I then wrote a short story alongside each of the photos, reminiscing about that particular year of Izzy’s life. It was fun to do, and a great way to reflect on her life. 

On the morning of Izzy’s birthday, she unwrapped the framed photos one by one, and read out each of the stories I’d written, laughing and reminiscing as she went along. It made her day extra special and of course, she loved the gallery wall I’d created.

There are so many ways to creatively use photos and for projects like this, it makes it so much easier when your photos are organised! 

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