Foolproof way to hack a large abstract wall art

diy large wall art decor

I designed and implemented this large decorative wall decor using the excellent IKEA LYSEKIL “splashback” wall panels and aluminium frames system.

IKEA item used: 

A variety of IKEA LYSEKIL wall panels 
LYSEKIL aluminium rail for wall panel

IKEA LYSEKIL rail and wall panels

Handsaw & blades
Drill and bits

A few pointers on how we created the grid wall decor

1. You will need to use a hand saw for the square and narrow panels and also to shorten the length of the aluminium frames. 

Be sure to use 24 TPI (teeth per inch) blade for the laminate panels and 32 TPI blade for the aluminium frames. 

Sawing large panels using a hand saw requires skill, you may prefer to use an electric jigsaw. For your safety please wear a face mask while sawing the laminate panels.

2. The dimensions of the LYSEKIL panel is 1200 by 550 mm. For the square panels, you will need to cut them into 550 by 547.5 mm. (The height of each square is 2.5mm short of 550mm).

3. Each square will have three factory cut sides and one original side. The factory cut sides will face left, right and bottom. This is important because you want the vertical frame parts to fit closely with the sides of adjoining panels.

4. The challenge is to make the vertical side of the frames align while also keeping everything levelled and evenly spaced. 

Fixing the rails to the wall

Start from the bottom left. 

Fix the lower frame part to the wall and make it level. Use paper masking tape to hold the vertical side of the frame to the wall and slide in two square panels and the middle frame part.

Then, place the top frame part on top of the vertical frame parts. Make sure the frame is levelled both horizontally and vertically and mark the drill holes for the top frame. 

Now you can fix the top frame part and voilà! the bottom part is finished (well, almost as you will later shorten the frame to 110 cm).

5. For the middle frame don’t start drilling just yet. First place the bottom frame part on spacers for an equal gap (we used erasers). Slide in the narrow 10cm wide panel and the left square and insert 3 vertical frame parts. 

Make sure the vertical frame part of the lower and middle frames are aligned. Now mark your drill holes for the lower frame part. Repeat the technique described above to fix the top frame part to the wall.

6. The top frame is the easiest because it’s exactly 120cm long, so no cutting needed. To position it you will need to test the position of the gold narrow panel of the middle frame. The top frame should be positioned at the same offset as measured between the lower and the middle frames.

LYSEKIL rail with wall panels for a DIY large wall art
Cutting the frames

7. Now that all the frames are secured to the wall, you can proceed with cutting the frames. The lower frame need to be shorter and the middle frame needs to be longer than the factory 120cm.  

Mark the cut position while it’s fixed to the wall and then use this mark to saw the top and bottom parts together. 

This way you will get the exact same size for the top and bottom frame parts.

~ by Sagi Golani

More DIY wall decor ideas springing from the LYSEKIL hack

After looking at Sagi’s hack on the LYSEKIL wall panels and frames, I (Jules) realised that it was a fantastic way to create a large gallery wall. 

The current home decor trend is all for large-scale wall art but they don’t come cheap. 

The LYSEKIL hack is an affordable way to fill large empty walls with beautiful artwork of your choice. You don’t have to stick with the wall panels from IKEA. While they are cool as abstract art, the choice may be limiting.

The LYSEKIL splashback panels can be swapped out for so many other different types of DIY art:

On the affordable end:

Adhesive wallpaper
Wrapping paper
Pretty fabric 
A fancy shower curtain

You can create a personalized gallery wall:

Printed photos
Engineered print
Kids artwork

For an idea of how it would look, I borrowed Sagi’s photo and added some random family photos. One can easily swap out the photos as the family grows.

family photo gallery
This picture collage hack is probably also possible with:

Canvas wall art 
Wood panel art 
In fact, anything sturdy you can slide into the frames

Or using it for other than art:

As a Chalkboard in a playroom — spray paint the LYSEKIL panel with chalkboard paint 

As a noticeboard along the Kitchen splashback — use a spray adhesive and glue corkboard on to the wall panels (you may need to leave a margin for the board to slide in)

Making affordable DIY large scale wall art with  LYSEKIL

There are two ways to work the panels.

1. Use the LYSEKIL wall panel and add on your own art. 

You can either glue your art piece on the LYSEKIL wall panel. If the canvas/ photo/ fabric is too thick, leave a margin around the art piece so you can still slot the panel between the aluminium rails.

2. Make your own panel

You can easily cut a panel to size with a piece of plywood or corrugated plastic sheet. Bear in mind the thickness of the original panel is 2 mm, so your DIY version should not be more than that.

Customizing the LYSEKIL frame

Spray paint the aluminium frame with a metal spray paint in the color of your choice. Lightly sand the frame before spraying.

Now the bummer. 

The LYSEKIL appears to be on the way out. If you love this hack, go grab the rails and panels before they are gone forever.

Thankfully, there are other ways to skin the cat. 

For inspiration, this easy DIY sliding picture frame from A Piece of Rainbow. Kind of like LYSEKIL hack but but on a much smaller scale. Click here for instructions.

sliding photo frame
Photo: A Piece of Rainbow

Or this slide-in picture frame. Very easy to make and a perfect solution for vinyl record jackets. Tutorial here.

vinyl record jacket holder

See more DIY wall art ideas.