You’ve seen it done, but only ever dreamed of doing it in your own home. You probably even have random frames in a drawer and treasured pictures ready for framing in a shoebox somewhere, but never taken the plunge. I’m talking about creating the ever daunting, forever coveted gallery wall! Anyone who has ever attempted a DIY gallery wall could attest to the fact that it’s not easy. It’s nothing to shy away from, but it is a time consuming process and one where your organizational skills and patience will be tested. That said, I’ve done a few in my day and I think I have it nailed so it’s time to spill some tried and true Amaryllis tips and tricks to the perfect gallery wall.
Step One: Commit To A Concept
The first, and likely the most important step to ensuring a satisfying gallery wall reveal is to have a well flushed out concept for the gallery. No, you aren’t limited to what you are allowed to hang on your walls, but the impact comes from committing to at least one common thread that weaves its way throughout your gallery.
That common thread could be the colour/material of your frames, using coloured photography or going all black and white photography, but mixing up your frames. Maybe it’s your subject matter. A wall filled with family shots, a wall dedicated to all your favourite bands and musicians or an ode to the family dog perhaps? Dig a bit deeper and you might find that you aren’t planning to use photography at all. It could be a collection of canvases of your most beloved artists , your children’s art from school, or even special greeting cards you’ve saved over the years. Whatever you choose, if you run with something that’s meaningful to you and stick to your concept, it will work and visitors will ooh and aah, guaranteed. Home Lover tip: think about incorporating elements to compliment your concept, add visual interest, texture and dimension, and help fill up your wall without having frame overload! Think wreaths, small mirrors, sconces, etc…and have some fun with it.
Step Two: Get Organized
This whole process is a lot less frustrating if you do all the legwork up front. Start by getting your frames ready. That may be repurposing old frames you have on hand or picking up a selection at your local Goodwill store. It’s likely that these vintage frames will need some work, so do your minor repairs and paint them out if that’s part of your plan. You’ll also have to do your due diligence and layout your frames on the floor to see if you have enough to fill the wall surface you have in mind for your gallery. It might mean a trip back to Goodwill to gather a few more!
From there, it’s time to pull your pictures. If it’s family photos you’re working with, you’ll have more than you need. Go through the process of elimination, decide on the ones that will make the final cut and then get to reprinting and sizing the images properly for the frames you have selected. The fun part? Now you get to insert your pics into your frames and the vision starts to come to life. You’ll be spurred on at this point!
Step Three: Templates = No Headaches
Everyone wants to skip this step, but trust me, it’s worth the effort. Get out a roll of kraft paper or old newspaper and trace your frames onto the paper. Cut out your templates and you’ll get to the finish line much faster with way fewer nail holes in your walls and less measuring and re-measuring! Home Lover tip: This template trick works especially well if you are doing a gallery wall up a stairwell…extra tricky!
Using low tack painter’s tape, start pinning up your templates in the layout you had in mind. This little exercise will tell you immediately if your layout is going to work. If you’ve miscalculated the number of frames you need, this will be very telling before you put even one hole in the wall! Stand back. Do you like what you see? Want to make some changes? Go right ahead! Re-jig the templates as needed until you get it just so and only then do you get out your hammer and nails (or screws and plugs depending on the wall surface you’re working with).
Did you notice that I didn’t even mention a measuring tape along the way? Of course, you may want to measure the distance between your templates, but it’s not nearly as frustrating when you can simply adjust the template a 1/8 of an inch one way or the other.
Now you’re on the home stretch…don’t take your templates off the wall as you start to put nails in. Just position your nails, hang your frames and pull the kraft paper out from behind the frames when all is said and done. The only thing left to do now is take a step back and admire your awesome gallery wall.