Gallery Wall Tutorial

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Thanks for the ideas on the box room...you've given me a lot to think about.

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But in the meantime I figured I'd share the way I hung the frames. I've wanted a gallery wall for a while now but I been afraid to just go for it. I know it made me very nervous (I have a slight anxiety about putting holes in the plaster) so I thought I'd share how I did it. This is not an original idea - its been done a million times but hopefully the step by step will help someone who is about to take the leap.

Step 1
I started by measuring the area on the wall I wanted to hang all the art within. Then I rolled out a large sheet of paper in that size on my bedroom floor. You could use brown postal or butcher paper - I used the backside of left over Christmas Wrapping paper taped together.
Time spent: 4 minutes to find my measuring tape, 1 minute to measure, 5 minutes to find where I put the wrapping paper & tape, 5 minutes to cut and tape it to size.

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Step 2
Pull out all the artwork you want to use and arrange on the paper. I originally thought I was going to use one large frame a bunch of smaller ones..but it didn't look quite right. So I pulled the larger frame out and replaced with the ones you see here. There is no right or wrong here really - its just what looks right to you. If you can, take a digital photo of how you have arranged it.
Time spent: 5 minutes to pull out all the frames in my closet, 40 minutes to get the arrangement I wanted.

Step 3
Outline each frame with a felt tip pen or marker. Remove art and put aside.
Time spent: 1 minute

Step 4
Now comes the hard part. You have to figure out exactly where each nail should be so that the frame hangs exactly where you want it. So take each frame and measure from the top and sides of the frame to where the nail would go when its hung. Using that measurement, make a mark on your paper to note where the nail belongs. Be extra careful with your measurements.
Time spent: 1 frustrating hour


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Step 5
Take your giant sheet of paper and affix it to the wall. Make sure its straight.
Time spent: 5 minutes


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Step 6
Using the marks you carefully laid out, hammer the nails in.
Time spent: 5 minutes


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Step 7
Hang your art. If you are like me, you will need to consult the photo you took in step 2 because you have already completely forgotten where each piece went.
Time spent: 10 minutes


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Step 8
Rip off the paper like unwrapping a giant gift.
Time spent: 2 minute

Voila! You've done it! If you are like me you probably notice a problem or two - maybe you measured or put the nail in a few centimeters off. But who cares? The project is done and now you can have go have a cocktail!


This task felt very daunting to me before but now that I see it can be done fairly easily in less than 3 hours, I'm a convert. Obviously a larger wall would require more time but the same technique can be applied to just about any space. If you've been putting off your own gallery wall, I say go for it.

58 comments:

  1. Great post. Love the finished product.

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  2. I love it! And, you are just adorable! We live in a small condo near Minneapolis and have spent enormous amounts of time arranging and decorating to make the best use of the small space. Last project I'm facing is what you've done here - I'll let you know how it turns out!

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  3. What a wonderful tutorial! I never thought about hanging a gallery wall this way, and it certainly helps alleviate my nervousness about wayward holes in plaster.

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  4. Love this! I've been dying to do a gallery wall above the sofa but have been too scared :)And I've been staring at that left over wrapping paper wondering what to do with it in a small nyc apartment-store vs. throw-now I know! Fabulous. Thanks!

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  5. wow what a great tutorial!!! the best part is how you just tear off the paper once it's all hung. so genius!

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  6. Thank you - a million times over for this. Seriously! I have a huge box and many other loose frames filled with artwork that was painted by my mother (she passed away in 2008). I haven't yet had the heart/ability to hang them all up, it's still a bit too hard. But seeing this gives me a perfect plan of attack and the desire to get started so thank you! I can't wait to have her artwork all displayed in my "woman cave". Currently we have about 5 of her pieces throughout the house but this will give me the how to I need to hang the rest of her artwork.

    THANK YOU! Your wall looks amazing!

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  7. A photo!? what a brilliant idea! I've been trying & trying to hang some plates and get soo frustrated each time, it drives me NUTS. Thanks for the tutorial, I think I can make it work this time..

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  8. Genius! Thank you for posting and the end result looks fab!

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  9. Thanks to following your blog, I can always come back to this when I'm ready to tackle the task;o)
    The frames look amazing together!

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  10. Great post. I love the pictures/frames you used. Great job mixing it up!

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  11. Love it and it seems so easy when you explain it but I know me and I know the nails would never be in the right place when I finally hang the pictures.

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  12. Perfect! This will save me a lot of trouble. I am planning to do a wall in my dining room with photographs of some of our travels among other things.

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  13. I loved your tutorial so much that I linked it to my own blog with information on my favorite art source, 20x200. Great post!

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  14. Are you kidding me? Brilliant!

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  15. looks beautiful! love all of your wonderful art.

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  16. Thanks for sharing this tip! I'm always stumped when it comes to hanging art on the wall (that's why all of my walls are bare).

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  17. I've been trying to find an easy way to hang a gallery wall, and this way definitely sounds feasible. Thanks for sharing the information!

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  18. A wonderful tutorial, which I desperately need. I'm terrified, for some weird reason, of having to do this gallery wall over and over until it is right. Thanks.

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  19. How clever!! The end result looks fabulous too.

    jules :)

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  20. Excellent post - thanks for the idea!

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  21. wow great post - I am going to try and do this!

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  22. I just saw this done on HGTV and I thought about how easy that would make hanging pictures. Wish I had thought about it before we started hanging in our house.

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  23. Great post! I have plans to do something similar in my dining room! I'm still collecting frames and art.

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  24. Where have I been that I did not know this trick??? So easy! Thanks for the tutorial. Your wall came out just gorgeous!

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  25. It came out beautifully! How did you decide on those particular pictures?

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  26. Sweet! And thank you for being honest about the time and energy it took! I wing it when it comes to hanging objet d'art, but that's probably because we haven't dealt with our row house walls yet! I bet I'll feel VERY differently when all things vertical are skimcoated!

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  27. Naz - I didn't really pick these per se. They were ones I had hanging around. Most of them were owned by my father.

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  28. Oooh... I love gallery walls! I'm planning to do one in our stairwell this year. I'm dreading climbing on a ladder on the steps, though. Ugh.

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  29. Anonymous11:01 AM

    Thanks so much for the tip! I've been following your blog for a while and love your honesty and great ideas! We hung 4 framed objects in my daughter's room and I had to call in my dad (who's an architect and great with measurements) to do the job right. Now I have a better plan for next time!

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  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  31. Thanks! Now I know what to do instead of calling my Father.

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  32. I love framed galleries. :) I did one of my Europe pictures in a similar method...at least to figure out the grouping. Using paper to guide the holes would have been fantastic. Will note for future "family wall" gallery. Great tip! (And I love the artwork you've chosen.)

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  33. The pictures being your father's makes it even better that you are using them. I love it!

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  34. Ugh, now I remember why I don't have a gallery wall in my house yet. I have plans for one in my office so I'll mark this post and come back to it later. Are your hanging skills for hire? :)

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  35. Love it! Very helpful, I've been wanting to do this! Thanks! I'd love for you to visit my blog: http://coolhomecreations.blogspot.com.

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  36. Absolutely brilliant! Whenever my husband and I tried to do this in the past, you could see the divorce lawyers circling!

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  37. Seriously might be the smartest DIY How-to I've read to date. Love. It. Thank you : )

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  38. Great tutorial. I love the combination of sizes and shapes. I am contemplating doing a gallery wall around my flat screen televsion. But I'm afraid it may be like your large piece of art and just not fit in. Plus the fact that its a TV makes it less pretty than your frames!

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  39. Your post officially has me mustering up the courage to try this!

    Thanks for taking the time to explain it . . .

    Tracey

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  40. Thanks so much for this post. I was just admiring someone else's gallery wall and wondering how I'd do it. Now I really want one in my own home! Must start collecting picture frames.

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  41. Divine inspiration! I love this idea....and your home is simply breathtaking.

    Cheers~
    e

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  42. Good idea...I will follow your example!

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  43. what a great idea!? I have been anxious about doing something similar over the sofa in the den ... still in the process of collecting ornate antique frames - any sources you love?!

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  44. I'm going to attempt a gallery wall this weekend! We will see how it goes, thank you for the step by step guide :) I will definitely be following your advice!

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  45. I love this! I just found it through your posts of the year post :) About that frustrating hour of figuring out where the nail holes go... my hubby got this http://www.amazon.com/Under-Roof-Decorating-6-100101-Picture/dp/B001IULRHQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1293815882&sr=8-1 for Christmas this year - seems like it might make that frustrating hour only an easy few minutes!!! Wahoo!

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  46. I've always cut out an individual piece of paper for each frame, but arranging them all on one giant piece of paper is genius! Finally going to tackle the gallery wall project I've been putting off for months.

    And a tip for nail placement: Drive a screw or nail through one end of a paint stirrer. Hang the picture on the paint stirrer-screw with the pointy end towards the wall. When you have the picture placed just so, press the paint stirrer-screw into the wall so it makes a divet. Now you know exactly where to hammer in the nail.

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  47. Michelle10:09 PM

    I sprayed all my frames black at least 9 months ago, printed out all my fav photos in black and white at least 2 months ago. But said frames and photos are still tacked and ready to be hung on the wall. After the hours it took to prep and paint those walls to perfection I just cant bring myself to hammer in a dozen nails! Your idea with the paper is great I will certainly be using that. Now just to work up the courage to do it ....!

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  48. Love the ideas. As someone who's redesigning my home as well, these are helpful tips. Great blog.

    Follow my progress at kylasoasis.blogspot.com

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  49. Kelsey1:28 PM

    Wonderful! I did something similar, but rather than measure all the frames, I placed them face down and put a pinhole through the paper. Just an idea ;)

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  50. clairefromthecolonies7:09 PM

    Just what I needed! Thanks ;)  I have been dithering about taking the hammer and hook to the 101 year old lathe and plaster walls in our house so I have only hung on, or very near, previous holes ... so you have done me a great service -  my collections will soon be curated and on view! 

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  51. Cakes McCain12:58 PM

    That's really smart. I put tons of holes in the wall. wish I would have seen this before!

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  52. Jwpookie12:21 PM

    you did a beautiful job.

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  53. Garrett8:47 AM

    What is the wood object below the hanging pictures? Is it a door? Are you using it as a table? 

    I'm thinking of using some old doors with that same design to use as the back wall of a desk I'm creating. 

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  54. Its a door I turned into a desk. If you look at other posts re: this room you'll see more about it - I found it in the garbage, stripped it and put it on trestle legs.

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  55. I just found your blog 3 days ago, and since I was so inspired, I completed a gallery wall tonight using your suggestions. Your blog is either one of my best, or most dangerous recent internet finds! I love your diy projects, pics, and especially Halloween ideas. Thank you!

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  56. Wonderful tutorial! I think I may have the courage to try this now. Thank you so much!

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