Bedroom Makeover: using photography to create wall art

  • before and after of boys room makeover

Whenever I see a blank wall, I am tempted to fill it with something as quickly as possible.

Sometimes I simply pick a few photos from my hard drive, print them large, hang them up, pat myself on the back for not procrastinating, and move on.

And sometimes I plan the entire room around the photos, as was the case when I did a little makeover in my boys’ bedroom.

Our boys are seven and five and have always shared a room; they wouldn’t have it any other way. Now that they’re growing up a bit, we thought it was a good time for them to have a more sophisticated room.

When they chose a Star Wars theme, I thought to myself “oh this could get really tacky, really quick.” So I had to brainstorm. I searched online for ideas on decor, and actually found some pretty nice Star Wars ideas and products.

None of which really fit our budget for the room. This was a kids room after all, and I didn’t think it was necessary to break the bank. So I decided to get creative and make my own wall art to pull the room together.

The cast of characters…

star wars figures

While my boys love Star Wars, they don’t have a ton of Star Wars toys. However, they did get this little set of characters on our last trip to Disney World. So I decided to use them as my subjects.

The set-up…

setup for photographing star wars toys for boys room

We have this built-in bookshelf that serves as sort of a catch-all for our things in the living room. Whenever I’m photographing something small for personal projects, and I need an all white background, it’s usually done at this built-in. For things like personal photos and quick Instagram shots, for example, this does the trick when I don’t feel like pulling out a roll of seamless paper.

The lighting…

lighting examples for taking pictures of kids toys

While I love my Alien Bee strobe, this little shop light really comes in handy for personal work around my house. It’s literally a lightbulb in a plastic cage attached to a cord. I stole it from my husband’s garage a long time ago because it’s so portable and simple to use. It’s either on or off, and I love the shadows I can create with it. Shadows were important to me for this project. Since I was shooting the toys on a white background, I wanted them to stand out and have some depth, instead of looking flat and one-dimensional.

The editing….

how to edit star wars toys photos

I edited the photos as I normally do, by starting in Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) and adjusting the white balance, contrast and exposure. Then I pulled them into Photoshop and zoomed in to clean up any spots or imperfections that might show when printed. Then I cropped them to 16×20.

The prints…

photo prints of star wars toys

close ups of photo prints of toys on the wall

The photos would be hung directly across from two windows, so glare would have been an issue if I framed them. I thought about canvas, but again I didn’t want to spend too much money here. So, I decided to print them on poster board, similar to matboard or foam board. That way, they were sturdy enough to hang unframed, and I liked the clean, modern look.

The final room…

After painting the walls blue and grey, putting new bedding on their now-stacked beds, adding a new area rug, and hanging the photos, I’m so excited with the “after!” I think the photos really helped tie everything together, and my boys think it’s super cool that I was able to create wall art using their toys.

photos of star wars toy pictures hanging on boys bedroom walls

star wars bedroom for boys

About the Author:

I am a hobbyist photographer in the Houston, Tx area, where I live with my husband, 2 boys, and 1 miniature schnauzer. I have a special place in my heart for those with special needs, having experienced the joy of growing up with a brother with Down syndrome. I have an identical twin sister, whose love of photography inspired me to love it too. Prior to becoming a photographer, I worked as an RN with patients receiving cancer treatment and also obtained my Masters of Science in Nursing. My experiences in nursing taught me that laughter is good medicine, attention to detail is an absolute necessity, and life can change when you least expect it.


  1. elizabeth Sep 25 2014 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    Fabulous idea – I love it. Love the light tip!

    • Christina Sep 25 2014 at 3:19 pm - Reply

      Thanks Elizabeth! I love that little light!

  2. Kristin Smith Sep 25 2014 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    Oh my gosh! We did this years ago when my son was little. My husband photographed his favorite Webkinz and we made a huge print to go over his bed. It still looks so cool!

    • Christina Sep 25 2014 at 3:21 pm - Reply

      Awesome Kristin! It’s so much more special for them when it’s personal like that!

  3. Erin Bremer Sep 25 2014 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    What a great idea Christina!

  4. Effie L. Sep 25 2014 at 8:57 pm - Reply

    Christina this is an amazing idea!

    I remember years ago when you and I were talking about our children’s art work and what to do with it…you gave me the inspiration to frame some of what my little’s have created!

    Mind me asking how do you make sure the print stays up on the wall? I have some ideas I’ve wanted to do for the kids and cost effective so this seems great for me!!

    • Christina Sep 25 2014 at 9:10 pm - Reply

      Aw thanks Effie! For these I used those Command wall strips. They’re almost like a thicker double-sided tape and they’re supposed to come clean off the wall when you remove them. I got them at the hardware store but I’ve seen them a lot of different places!

  5. Heather Sep 26 2014 at 10:18 am - Reply

    This looks fantastic! What a creative idea! Can I ask where you had your photos printed on the poster board? Thanks!

    • Christina Sep 26 2014 at 1:56 pm - Reply

      Thanks Heather! I just had them printed at my local Costco! I was pleasantly surprised!

  6. Melissa Stottmann Oct 08 2014 at 12:40 pm - Reply

    Genuis!! I love this idea! What a nice way to personalize a room and make it feel modern and up to date <3 <3

  7. Linda Oct 20 2014 at 8:50 pm - Reply

    Very nice! I’ve done this for my grandson, but with a bit of a twist – I created a collage and added his little hands holding the characters.

  8. Claire Oct 20 2014 at 11:22 pm - Reply

    Great idea!!! My son is obsessed with dinosaurs and he would love it if I did that with his toys!

    • Christina Oct 21 2014 at 12:12 am - Reply

      Thanks Claire! Dinosaurs were on the list of possible themes for their room! They chose Star Wars for their bedroom, but I’m still considering dinosaurs for their game/toy room. I think it would be really fun!

  9. Amanda Myers Jul 28 2017 at 7:05 am - Reply

    My son would love these! I could totally see these costing a fortune at Pottery Barn Kids or something. Awesome!

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