A TikToker created framed paintings that disguise storage space for $30 and people are calling the DIY hack 'genius'
- A woman created a gallery wall in her home that doubles as hidden cabinets.
- She chronicled the DIY project in two viral TikTok videos.
One woman's idea to create a gallery wall with hidden storage space behind each portrait has left the internet in awe.
TikTok users first took notice of Sarahli Wilcox's picture frame cabinets in August 2022 when she uploaded a video showing the DIY build she made that month. Wilcox, creator of social media accounts Hauz & Co., skillfully constructed three cabinets with restored picture frames as doors that month in the video.
@hauz.and.co DIY Picture Frame Cabinets | who doesn't love dual purpose decor/furniture pieces?I'm obsessed with secret compartments & these are no exception, they're perfect to create a hallway gallery wall and store your knick knacks. What would you use the storage for?#secretcompartment #diyprojects #homediy #homedecorideas #homediyprojects #thriftflip #thriftmakeover #pictureframes #wallartdecor #homedecor ♬ Little Things - Adrian Berenguer
In January, she revealed to her more than 327,500 followers that she added a fourth picture frame cabinet in a second video.
@hauz.and.co This DIY Art frame hidden storage cabinet is truly the best storage/saving hack I've added to our home. After months of trying to find a 4th frame to complete the gallery wall, it's finally finished! Not sure if it feels like too much, but we're just going to go with it The real question is what would you use the storage for? Give me more ideas #secretcompartment #diyprojects #wallart #pictureframe #thriftflip #thriftmakeover #storagehacks #homedecorideas #homedecor #homediy ♬ Hideaway - Dunham Froebel
Wilcox's videos have amassed nearly two million views, with many users calling the project "genius." Insider spoke to Wilcox about the step-by-step process, which was inspired by a version of the cabinets she used to own that had a blackboard instead of art.
"I hadn't had that cabinet for years, but it occurred to me that I had all these frames and that's where the idea came from," she said.
Wilcox said each picture frame cabinet costs about $30 to build, and she starts the DIY project with "the thrift hunt"
Wilcox told Insider the first step to recreating the storage hack is finding the perfect frame, which typically leads her to thrift stores like Goodwill. The entire process takes about two days, Wilcox said.
"I like up-cycling, so I've been collecting frames just to have around the house or for shelf displays," Wilcox told Insider, adding that she usually gets yellow pine frames.
She used CitrisStrip to remove any paint or varnish off the wooden frame, then let it sit with Saran Wrap over the frame for 30 minutes to one hour.
"The Saran Wrap helps it to not dry out and continues to activate the liquid to loosen the existing stain. After the one-hour mark I wet scrub the stain off outdoors, but you can also dry scrub with a scraper," she said.
Wood filler can help hide nail holes and gaps, so Wilcox said to let the frame sit overnight if using the product. Next, she suggested sanding the wood before building the cabinets to help the stain apply better, then sealing the stain with a sealant.
"You don't even need a lot of stain — just a dab," Wilcox said. "Early American stain is a perfect shade of a neutral brown, so not too light and not too dark. You can always add a double coat if you want it a little bit darker."
She added: "For people that are looking for easier steps, just paint the frame, don't stain it. That way, you'll have one go at it and then you can just add a sealer on top."
Wilcox said to let the stain dry before building the cabinet and shelves afterward. The cabinet is a backless wood box with three shelves inside, which Wilcox assembled using a brad nailer.
Wilcox pivoted to building the cabinet and shelves afterward. The cabinet is a backless wood box with three shelves inside, which Wilcox assembled using a brad nailer.
"You can use regular screws and a drill but I love the power of a brad nailer," Wilcox said. "You just tap it on and it does the job for you."
Wilcox said the final steps are combining the picture frame with the cabinet and adding hinges.
"Before screwing on the hinges, I try to look to see the depth of the nails and always pre-drill the holes. That's to prevent cracking on your wood," she said. "Then, I drill the actual nails into the wood pieces. From there, I just measure with a simple ruler or measuring tape to where the hinges will go."
Wilcox said incorporating a door magnet can be an upgraded touch.
TikTok users discussed different ways to use the extra storage, including secret spice racks and medicine cabinets
While the picture frame cabinets have many uses, Wilcox said she uses her four cabinets for medicine, essential oils, and hiding her doorbell box. On TikTok, users speculated over the ways they'd use the extra storage space, with some pointing towards secret kitchen spice racks and medicine cabinets.
"I'm dying thinking about having to direct someone to get something, 'yeah Tylenol is behind the pastoral in the hallway,'" one person wrote.
One user emulated Wilcox's video to create whimsical fairy cabinet doors.
But overall, people applauded picture frame cabinets as a clever way to declutter their homes, calling the hack "genius."
"I'm so excited that people find the DIY helpful," Wilcox said. "I'm glad that people are trying it out, and I'm excited to see how people use it."
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