This week, I’ve found myself hitting a wall. Are you feeling that way too? Staying home and homeschooling my kids is getting really hard. I just don’t want to do it anymore! I want to go to the gym and spend an extra twenty minutes in the sauna chatting with friends, or sit in a dark theatre on my own watching a silly romantic comedy, or indulge in focusing on my creative work without interruptions; I want to dress up and go to a party! Basically, I want things to go back to normal, even as I know why they can’t. So I asked myself, how can I make these walls more fun to look at? The answer came to me with a cinematic “ahhhhhh”: organize a gallery wall! Never mind the fact that it’s been on my to-do list for the past three years, and the photos have been framed but sitting in a box since Christmas, it finally happened!
I’m not sure why it took me so long to tackle this project. Sometimes I can make molehills into mountains just like anyone. First, I wanted to choose the just the right wall, wall color, frame color, and then I had to find a photographer, plan outfits, set up a shoot, and smile pretty while my husband and children asked when it would all be over. Sorry if that makes you feel tired, that’s exactly why it took me so long to do it all!
Please don’t go through all that agony. Just take photos you already have and do this:
Choose a wall
Stairways are fun because when you add a gallery wall they start feeling almost like rooms instead of pass-throughs. Just don’t fall down the stairs when you’re installing and admiring your photos! I’ve also seen gorgeous photo galleries in dining rooms, and above fireplaces. Pick a wall you walk past often, and one that needs a little extra something.
Collect your photos + frames
Choose photos that make you happy. They don’t have to be from a professional shoot. If you’re working with what you have, shop your home for frames you want to use first, and then find images you like that fit into each frame. This might free up some storage space, too! A win-win! Also consider how the colors and images look together. I loved how this combination of images looked together in these brass frames from my favorite store Target.
Create a layout + photograph it
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hung pictures without first creating a layout. The eyeball method can work, but it often leaves me with a lot of holes to fill and touch up when I’m done. This time, I measured the space I wanted to fill, and then I created a layout on the floor first. Use your phone to take photos of different layouts until you land on one that looks right. You’ll also have a photo to reference when you go to your wall.
Mock up your wall
This is something I’ve also never done, but it worked great! I used the cardboard packaging from my frames and I taped them to the wall using painters tape. If your’e using frames you already have, use paper grocery bags or cardboard boxes to create the size and shape of each frame. I placed the biggest frame first, since I wanted it to be the focal point. Then I used the layout photo on my phone to place the rest of the cardboard mock-ups. This method allowed me to adjust them slightly to get them just right.
Measure the place where the nail should go. It’s not usually right under the top of the frame, so determine how far down each nail should go. You can poke a nail right through the cardboard, marking the wall slightly, and then remove the cardboard and pound in the nail all the way.
Protect your wall
We bought little plastic wall bumpers that adhere to the corners of each frame. I had no idea such things existed but my husband likes these finishing touches and I can appreciate that. As a bonus it keeps the frames from moving around, and from scratching the wall, a win win! Also make sure your nails are strong enough to hold the frames. You might need a picture hanger that can hold more weight. You can get both of these on Amazon.
Hang + enjoy
Now, your pictures are finally ready to hang! Take time to make sure they are on the nail correctly, and that they are straight. Admire the heck out of your hard work with a glass of your favorite drink. Next time you feel like you’re hitting a wall, you can gaze upon your beautiful gallery and dream of better days ahead.