Mixed Media Wall Structure

How to make a mixed-media wall structure.

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Project by Celeste Simon from St. Petersburg, Fla.

Celeste pays "Homage to the Women in My Family" with a captivating, mixed-media wall structure. Although painting is her main focus, she shows the "accidental" creation she made when experimenting one day with shape and volume. The result, a gift for her mom in which she created a family tribute of sorts, combining painted wood, cherished photographs, handmade clay letter tiles and various found objects like a music stand and a tortoise shell comb--the kind her grandma used to use.


1" x 2" pine or fir strips
laminate wood/luan/doorskin
wood glue
1-1/2" galvanized nails
4" x 12" piece of 1/16" Plexiglas
wood filler
acrylic primer or gesso
acrylic paints: Acra gold, light blue violet, bright aqua green, brilliant blue
copies of family photos
assorted objects
marching band music stand
2 small screw eyes
picture wire


1. Arrange photos and objects based on theme of family.

2. Cut four pieces of 1" x 2". Glue and nail together to build a 3-1/2" x 16" for main opening to showcase family photos.

3. Make another frame that is 12" x 30" for the main box of the structure.

4. Make a 12" x 4" frame for the top of the structure.

5. Using a 4" x 8" sheet of luan mahogany laminate, cut two pieces that will be nailed to the back of the photo frame and the top box frame.

6. Place photo frame inside main box frame.

7. Nail and glue the two boxes together with two pieces of 1" x 2" pine approximately 7 inches in length. Photo box should result in the middle of the main structure frame.

8. Prime the top box, main structure frame and the photo frame within it with gesso and let dry.

9. After they have dried, paint all pieces with desired colors. Paint interior of the top box and photo box. Let dry.

10. After photo box is dry, form collage of chosen photos in the photo box frame. Paint over them with white paint to give it a special effect. Let dry.

11. Clamp the bottom bar of the top box to the top bar of main structure frame.

12. Drill two holes through both bars and then remove clamp. Later, a screw will be inserted to permanently attach both pieces.

13. Cut mahogany laminate into 12 strips 1" x 30". Glue and nail strips to the top of the main structure frame. Four strips will need to be cut shorter so not to cover the interior photo frame.

14. Attach main structure to the top box by placing screws into pre-drilled holes.

15. Slide a wood pool counter chip on the screw in between the two boxes to serve as a washer.

16. Place pre-made clay figures or other found objects in the open area of the top box.

17. Cut a piece of Plexiglas to size and nail to front of the top box to serve as a window.

18. Drill hole on top of box and screw in stereo card. Place a family photo in pinchers.

19. Finish the mahogany with an acrylic clear coat.

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