Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Giant Empty Wall, Part 1: Souvenir Plates



The sun room is probably my favorite room in the house these days; it's certainly the room I spend the most time in. But it has kind of  big problem. A GIANT problem. And that problem is this enormous blank wall:



Whole lotta nothing is what was going on on that wall.

There's still lots of nothing on most of the wall, but we have, at least, made a start at covering the giant expanse of minty blankness. With plates!

(I have a plan for the rest of the wall, too, but it will require a delicate balance of money and patience/time to carry it out).

I've always had a bit of thing for souvenir plates. I mean, really, I can remember sitting around thinking about how great they were maybe fifteen years ago. And they're cheap and easy to find, so there's really no reason why I didn't fulfill this longing for a souvenir plate collection a long time ago.

But I didn't.

Until we started working on the sun room, and I decided that one of the things that big empty wall needed was a souvenir plate wall. I started keeping an eye out for them at the thrift store, and I picked up some that way. Then I got impatient and had to stretch my definition of souvenir plate quite a bit. Like there's one plate that just has a boat on it. Maybe you would want it as a souvenir of a boat ride you went on? Sure you would.

Then I got even MORE impatient and just bought a bunch on ebay. Where they are very cheap. But my previously discussed perspective problems came into play here. See those little tiny plates up there in the first picture? Yeah, I totally expected those to be full size dinner plates. "Why is this big lot of plates so amazingly cheap?!" I wondered. Until the little tiny box got here. Sigh.

So none of these plates were very expensive. Most of them were no more than a couple of bucks at the thrift store. But plate hangers are another story. The plate hangers that you can't even see were the most expensive part of this project.

I thought that surely someone out there had come up with a great free or nearly free method for hanging plates. But most of what I could find (generally involving glue and some sort of hanging hardware) came with cautionary warnings about plates falling down suddenly after months of seemingly secure hanging or stern warnings that the method was to be used only on plates you secretly hoped would fall and break because you'd always envisioned them as part of a mosaic anyway.

But EVERYONE loves these little plate hangers:


All you have to do is get them a little wet to activate the glue on them, then stick them on the backs of your plates and hang them up. They are very easy, none of my plates has come crashing down yet....only problem is that they're around $3-4 each, which makes them more expensive than most of my plates were. But you do what you have to do, right? (I didn't have to buy hangers for all of them, as some of the plates had a spot on the back for hanging them with a wire instead).

I really like the placement and close togetheredness of View Along the Way's plate wall:



So that was the inspiration for how I hung these. I want to add to the wall over time, and have it go up over that window into the kitchen and then keep kind of trailing off toward the other side of the room. Like a plate waterfall. (Reminder to self: check ebay for Niagara Falls souvenir plate).

We didn't do anything crazy like measure or plan where the plates were going to go. It's beginning to dawn on me that maybe the reason I prefer things like plate walls and gallery wall with things hung close together is more because I'm lazy and it camouflages inconsistencies in measurement and not really just because I like the way it looks.

Anyway. Here it is! In progress and all finished (until I get more plates. There, umm, might be more on their way courtesy of ebay right now. I may never be able to stop).


That Vietri plate is one I've had since Boston days. It's hung in three of my kitchens now. And one sun room. From a garage sale. I just thought it was pretty. Also I thought it might be worth money on ebay, but it didn't seem to be, so I kept it. 


Dave's being very careful not to measure anything here. Look! One plate is shaped like a fish! How whimsical!



36 comments:

  1. Love the idea of this being something you add to over time as you collect more plates.

    Christy @ Creating a Beautiful Life

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  2. That is fun!!! I like it a lot. Especially the whale plate. Reminds me of Abe.

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    1. Right? Poor kid will forever to be linked to whales in my mind :)

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  3. Love your plate wall. Your plates are beautiful. Love that one of the is fish shaped. It looks fantastic. Can't wait to see it grow :)

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    1. Thanks, Katja! I just got another plate in the mail today :)

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  4. Love where you're going with this! That plate with the whale on it screams "Gretchen!" Plates are a creative way to fill space. I'm lame and just do engineer prints. Plates have so much more depth, texture and color. You're on a roll!

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    1. I love your engineer prints! Every time I see them I try to think where I could use some in my house

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  5. Oh I love this idea..I swoon over Kelly's (VATW) plate wall constantly. What a fun project to indulge a shopping/thrifting habbit with :)

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    1. ha, right--"I NEED to go to the thrift store again; I'm LOOKING for something!"

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  6. This looks great - and I love the idea of hanging the souvenir plates, too! Such fun!

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  7. Love how this is looking and that the plates are following the opening in the wall. I should look for a Niagara Falls plate for you. I've seen them so many times in the thrift stores around here. :)

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    1. Thanks, Anu! Yeah, you're in much better location for those than I am. Although, oddly, the Nevada and Idaho plates were the first ones I found here :)

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  8. oh gretchen, i love it! i am on the fence at the moment considering a plate wall in my dining room. just not sure! i am nervous about so many nails and changing my mind!

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    1. Thanks, Cassie! It is a little alarming to think about how many nail holes I just put in my newly painted wall....so I just try not to ;)

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  9. I love that black sailboat plate so much! They all go really well with your blue dresser (which I'm loving too!)

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    1. Thanks, Kathryn! I can't seem to get away from blue in this house (not that there's anything wrong with that!)

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  10. It looks great! I had big plans to do a plate wall and so far I have collected 1 plate. Maybe I'll have to go the ebay route too. ;-)

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    1. lol--that should be ebay's slogan: "we're faster than thrifting!" It's funny...the first time I looked for plates, I immediately found two. I thought it was going to be so fast and easy, but that turned out to be beginner's luck. oh well.

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  11. I LOVE IT. I really prefer plate walls where they're all clumped together like that. Just feels so graphic and cool to me. Way to go, Ebay! :)

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  12. Are you sticking to a criteria of places you have visited or any place goes?

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    1. Admission standards for the plate wall are pretty low at the moment ;)....I just have to like it and it has to be cheap. But now that I've got it started, I'm getting pickier...a lot of the ebay ones I bought because the places had meaning to us, like the Cape Cod and Nantucket ones.

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  13. Great idea! You were featured today in our Kick-Off Friday post!
    http://craftivitydesigns.blogspot.com/2013/09/kick-off-friday.html

    Have a great weekend!

    Erica @ Craftivity Designs

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  14. Love the cascade effect of the plates.

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  15. This is super cute! I've always wanted a plate wall but just haven't found the right spot. Yours looks like it was meant to be!

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    1. Thanks, Michelle! Like it's just flowing right out of the wall...I aspire to be the Frank Lloyd Wright of plate walls ;)

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  16. How fun! The unplanned placement looks so good I would have thought that you guys had it all planned out in the beginning!

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    1. Thanks, Caitlin! I think part of why I didn't plan more is because I was sure someone would come barreling through and step on all the plates if I tried to lay them out on the floor :)

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  17. So fun! I love how they wrap around that opening. I am in love with that fish plate.

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