I love gallery walls. Like, looooove them. Even recently with downsizing & moving our family of 6 into my parents 600ish sqft living space, I’m making a gallery wall in our room. Don’t judge me. But even if you do, I don’t care. Gallery walls make me happy. Plus, I love seeing our annual family photos every day. I love seeing the things that make our family quirky, geeky, etc. So, I’m spreading the gallery wall joy & sharing what I’ve learned about how to make a gallery wall.
Before having The Littlest, I totally revamped our family picture gallery wall. I still hadn’t hung pics from our last session with Heather (our photographer) and I wanted them up before the birth. (I had to get my birth space perfect). Not only was I swapping pictures this time but I ended up swapping our family pic wall, which was on our TV wall usually covered by our pull down projector screen, to where our geek wall was.
You’re going to want to pin this now so you can make your own gallery wall!
Not gonna lie, making a whole new gallery wall was quite the undertaking. I’m admittedly quite the perfectionist and I’m a stickler for arrangements.
just put pics in frames and start randomly hanging them.
I am a planner. (Remember my family pics outfit post? I planned those months before our session). That’s okay though. I’m okay with my need to have and execute a plan. I’m okay with taking the time to do something to a standard I’m pleased with. And it’s okay if you are this too… and it’s okay if you’re not.
If you’re not the planner type then just keep on reading and use my plan!
Supplies you will need for making a gallery wall
- A tape measure
- Kraft Paper (or other large scrap paper, newspaper, etc)
- Painters tape (I used washi tape & struggled getting it to stay on the wall)
- Level (I also like using my yardstick… more about that later)
- Nails & hammer OR 3M strips
- Your frames (I love these front loading frames in 8×10, 5×7, and 4×6)
- Your PICTURES!
The Planning Stage
Once you’ve gathered your items, you get to start the fun stage of planning! I think it’s the fun stage anyway…. Planner here, remember?
I usually start with how measuring my space and brainstorming how I want to arrange my frames. Our table is a large 6 foot table so I often use that to arrange things. This time, planning this wall, it ended up working perfectly because the space I was going to put this gallery on was exactly 6 feet wide! You can also use your floor… where every you have enough space.
Have littles that are up? You can definitely plan your wall while they’re around… even include them in the fun!
Do note that the pictures in these frames were our previous years family pics
When planning this gallery I knew that I wanted to build the arrangement around our Autism puzzle piece we were gifted, along with including a couple of framed wooden quote pieces, a “wild card” frame, AND a small shelf that was already up on the wall.
I think this the best stage of making a gallery wall…. Well, maybe second next to stepping back and seeing it done, but you get what I mean. Don’t stress too much about spacing. I think it’s nice to have variations of spacing while also having some uniformity. Have an idea for the boundary of your gallery and then just see how your various frame sizes fit together.
I take my planning to the next step and prep for a “pre-hanging” of everything.
Because you can’t really do too much planning, right?
I know I can’t. Really.
The best thing I’ve found to not put a ton of holes in your wall is this stuff… kraft paper! (Or printer paper you’re fine with taping together and then tossing when finished).
I like to roll out the kraft paper I have then trace around each frame. Cut along the line. And VIOLA! I have a template I can tape onto the wall and move around as I need without damaging the wall with tons of nail holes OR wasting 3M strips.
If you don’t have a roll of kraft you can actually use regular printer paper or any other paper you have around. For frames smaller than your paper just trace and cut like I did here. For frames that are larger, you can overlap pieces and tape together making the size you need.
I’ve done both ways and both work great!
If you plan on hanging your pictures with nails then either now or after getting your mocks hung you’ll want to measure where the hanging hardware is on your frame and mark your paper “frames” as so.
I’ve done this by placing my paper on the back of the frame and “tracing” the hole AND by using my ruler, measuring, then marking on my paper. Both ways work.
Because I have slight planning issues
I actually got a bit extra on the planning of this wall and took to canva before ordering my prints.
Yes, I actually did this…
I know, I know. It IS over the top. My planner heart just couldn’t let it go though. I wanted to see if the images I had in mind for this wall would go well together in the sizes I had chosen for them. So I uploaded the images I had chosen, made them the sizes I needed, then put them in a custom dimensions design. And because The Oldest had to chime in with a slightly sarcastic comment, I went ahead and did a mock text for other pieces I had. (I may break this how to do later if there is interest).
That is the little shelf that we already had on the wall. The only thing I didn’t include in this was what I was going to put ON that shelf. And in full transparency, I’m sure that’s only because I didn’t know what I was putting there yet.
I have no shame. I am a planner. I love stuff like this…
Moving right along
This go round I used washi tape to hang my mock frames. I do not advise this. The tape did not want to stick to the wall and before I could even get them all up I had some falling down.
Get painters tape!
You’ll thank me later. Promise.
Once you have everything initially hung, take a step back and make any adjustments you need.
I will usually pull out my yard stick and level at this stage. The yard stick allows me to make sure my pictures are within the borders I made for my gallery wall as a whole. Pop my level on top of my yardstick and I know my gallery is straight!
Sidenote: Because of little fingers, I always keep our galleries a bit higher. Yes, I love the other gallery walls I find on Pinterest that go low, some all the way to the floor, BUT that is not something that works in our home.
If hanging pictures low works in yours then GO FOR IT!
FINALLY the part we’ve been waiting for…
It’s time to HANG YOUR PICTURES
The easiest method is definitely using nails to hang your pictures. Yes, it’s putting holes in your wall BUT it’s the easiest. You literally just nail on the mark you measured onto your paper earlier.
I did not want to put nails in the wall this time I opted to get 3M strips.
Because 3M strips are great, right? YES!
Except, it wasn’t until after I got my paper up on the wall that I stepped back and went… OH, how am I going to attach the strips to the wall with this paper here?
Don’t worry, I figured it out…. I just tore off “indention” for the area the strips would be! HA!
I know… This looks a MESS!
It did work though and that’s really all that matters.
(Follow the instructions on the strips to ensure your strips stick well)!
Get your pictures on the wall.
If you’re like me then by this point you’re just ready to be DONE. Because that’s what this whole thing has been about! Getting your awesome pictures on the wall so that you can admire them all the time!
Get everything hung and then pull the paper down/out from behind the pics! Yep, that easy you have your pictures exactly where they should be to make an awesome gallery wall.
Taking the time we’ve invested to plan our wall has paid off!
I LOVED how the new gallery came out, just in time for getting the rest of The Littlest’s birth space planned.
For some extra inspiration, check out some of our previous gallery walls!
I hope you’ve been inspired and with the help of this “how to” you love your new gallery wall(s)!
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