The Simplest Trick to Hang a Gallery Wall
Krista is here again today with her latest project — an easy and simple trick to hang a gallery wall of frames. Using this simple hack (with something you probably already have around the house), she was able to hang an entire large gallery wall of 47 frames in just TWO HOURS with zero holes in the wall!
How to Plan and Hang a Gallery Wall of Framed Photos
When I built my home nearly four years ago I knew I wanted to do a gallery wall in my entry. Along the course of construction the size of that wall changed dramatically! The ceiling was supposed to be nine feet, but when the trusses came they were designed to match the second floor ceiling height. Taking my wall and almost doubling it! To say I was intimidated is an understatement.
This wall is no joke! 16 feet long and 13 feet tall! This needed to be a massive gallery wall. My two biggest issues?
- Photo selection
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Planning a Gallery Wall & Choosing Frames
To address the layout I used Google Sketchup to play with balance and arrangement of photo sizes. (You could use any image editing/drawing program, or even graph paper!)
This was the original plan. I didn’t want perfect symmetry, but I wanted over all balance. I started with the center photo, and built around from there. Ambitious right?
Having a plan with the sizes of photos gave me direction for photo selection. Selecting the photos was probably the most enjoyable part of this project! Who doesn’t love looking at pictures of their babies? To be fair I made sure I had equal amounts of photos for each child. I didn’t want the kids to count (because you know they will!) and find that there were more photos of their siblings. That would be a great topic for a therapist someday!
In order for the wall to not be overwhelming I chose to print all the photos, with the exception of the largest center photo, in black and white.
Then I gathered all the frames I already owned, maybe begged a few from my mom, and purchased the rest.
What a delightful hodgepodge of frames! Trust me, I don’t plan on hanging them all in their various hues!
Enter spray paint! I laid them out in the garage placing smaller frames inside larger frames to utilize the over-spray. That helped use the paint more effectively.
Next I cleaned all of the glass, and placed all of the photos in the frames. I set the frames out on my living room floor according to the layout I created, and adjusted the locations of the photos to account for the differing frame sizes.
A Simple Trick to Hang a Gallery Wall with LOTS of Frames
Now to the scary part! Hanging a gallery wall with 47 pictures! I made a very simple guide that really sped up the process.
I grabbed a scrap piece of 1×3, measured and marked the center. Then I marked one inch increments along both sides from the center.
The second time saver is of course Command Picture Hanging Strips! (and this is not sponsored, just a product we Remodelaholics love!) I recommend removing the support stands from the backs so that the frames sit flat against the wall, and that you pay attention to the weight limits on the Command Strips you are using.
I only used one strip on the majority of the frames I hung, so depending on the size of your frames, you’ll likely want a variety of small, medium, and large picture hanging strips. I placed them centered along the top of the frame, but be sure to follow the directions on the package based on your frame size and layout.
At this point I am sure you have measured your wall a million times, I know I did! I wanted the colored photo to be the main attraction of the gallery wall so I placed it a little above eye level on the wall.
First I marked the center of the wall.
Then I marked where the bottom of the frame would be (5′). I also made a small mark on the bottom of the frame to help align the frame to the markings on the wall.
I lined up the frame, and with the assistance of my lovely daughter holding the level, I placed the first photo. This step is extremely important! Make sure it is level because the rest of the frames’ placements will be based off of this first frame! Press and hold the frame in place as directed on the package of picture hanging strips.
Next line up your guide with the center of the first frame.
Then with Command Strips in place, align the photo below so that it is centered, and press into place.
Continue around the first frame. I lightly marked the middle of the side of the frame on the wall (since the frame was slightly bigger than my scrap wood piece).
I placed the guide on my mark on the wall, and use the markings on the guide to space the two smaller frames equally from the center.
Then I used the guide to verify the spacing. Repeat for the other side.
Just a side note. You’ll notice that the bottom frame is larger than the top. I used the guide to place the bottom frame first. Then placed the guide to center the smaller frame above the lower frame.
I wanted the negative space around the center frame to be equal around the entire frame. So I placed the guide between the two frames on the wall already. If you have worked with lumber you know a 1×3 is really 3/4″ x 2 1/2″. That means the space between the frames is actually 2 1/2″. I lined up the guide so it was midway between two guide marks, and then placed the new frame right on the line 2 1/2″ from the already placed frame. I placed another frame to the right, and repeated the placement above the center frame.
I then placed the remaining frames on the right side, and then the left in stages to make sure I maintained balance.
Here I added 2 11×14 frames
Then 4 8x10s above and below those frames.
Next I placed 1 8×10 and 2 5x7s in the upper corners
I decided to keep the center of these “pinwheel” 5x7s equal even though the frames are different widths, and placed a 11×14 above each.
Keep adding photos as your wall allows! Mine just kept going!
Here is the gallery wall in all it’s glory! With the guide board this project took about 2 hours to complete, and that includes attaching the Command Strips to the frames. In the end it was more symmetrical than I planned, but I love how it turned out! I just stand in my entry now and remember all of my babies!
My entry is so much more inviting now! Surprisingly the wall seems much smaller now, which is a relief!
Be sure to pin this to save it for later and share with your friends!
Do you have a gallery wall in your home? How did you plan and hang your gallery of frames?
Read more about gallery wall decor here:
tips for creating a modern balanced gallery wall
rainbow Instagram collage style frameless gallery wall
40+ free printables for gallery walls
create a kids’ art gallery wall
ideas for decorating with gallery wall around a TV
I love your blog and I really like most of the stuff you do! Having said that, I think it is time for these gallery walls to go the way of the dinosaurs. I’ve seen some that I like if it is artwork or vacation photos (not of people). Putting this many family photos on the wall is over top. It looks so BUSY and CLUTTERED. Edit, edit, edit.
Thanks for the love and for your comment. The beauty of home decor and DIY is that in your home, you do what you love, regardless of whether it’s on-trend or if someone else likes it. Everyone’s home should be a reflection of their style and interests. So if you don’t love it, don’t put up a gallery wall. 🙂
I love this neat idea, how to hang pictures. Especially since arranging them before hanging them on the wall, prevents extra holes in the wall.
I have a question. How do you make the guide, you use in between each picture and what are it’s dimensions? Thank you!