Gallery Wall Install

Something tells me I'm not the only one who has been contemplating a gallery wall in my house for months on end. They're a little daunting, right? All those frames, all that measuring and leveling, the fear that it will look like utter crap when it's finally up...

Well, I finally bit the bullet last weekend and redid our hallway. And with a few tricks here and there, it was much less painful than I anticipated!

Obstacle 1: Dear god, how do I decide what to include?

Tip: I tried to stick to a loose theme, although your theme in itself could be "eclectic." I went with a "places" sort of motif. (Who can find the fictional place included above?)

I also tried to balance vertically and horizontally oriented pieces to make a more interesting layout, and I threw in the H and N to spice up the lines a bit.

Obstacle 2: Why are frames so expensive?

Tip: I don't know. But try shopping Ikea,, and Hobby Lobby (if you are blessed to live near one) for affordable options. These cardboard letters are also fairly low-cost, even with Paper Source supplies: $3.95 for an 8" letter and a couple bucks per roll of washi tape to cover them.

Obstacle 3: Ahhh! Where will everything go?

Tip: Okay, this pains me a little bit to admit, but I made a scale model in a Word document before I began. I measured all of my pieces, made scaled shapes in Word, and re-arranged (a lot) until it seemed like it looked right.

Then, back in the three dimensional world, I traced each piece onto craft paper to use as dummies on the wall before I drilled any holes (and labeled them with the orientation noted so I knew what I was looking at!). You could skip the electronic model step, but I wouldn't try to hang everything without the paper versions first!

Obstacle 4: Crap. Every frame needs nails to be in the wall at very specific places. I'll never measure everything accurately!

Tip: Lay each paper cutout over its correspondeing frame. Then, exactly where you'll need the nail(s) to be, punch a little hole with a pencil. If the frame has one central hanging fastener, fold the paper in half and crease it to confirm you're looking at the halfway point when you mark your nail hole.

Obstacle 5: What if the layout doesn't look right? (This is perhaps a repeat.)

Tip: Don't fear! Using painters' tape, move everything around until it looks how you want it! Once you have everything in place, make sure to use a level on anything that hangs on more than one nail. Then, hammer in all your nails right through the paper where you've already created holes.

Now all you have to do is remove the paper and hang each piece. It's a breeze!

And there you go.

(Obstacle 6: My big H and N blend into my wall! Tip: Consider your wall color when selecting frames/accent pieces.)