Gallery Wall

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Gallery walls have become quite popular recently, and you see them all over pinterest in perfect composition, but putting one together yourself can be a bit daunting. When we moved into our house, there was one wall that just begged to have either one GIANT piece of art or a collection. Because I didn't have a giant piece, and I had been collecting pieces for some time I went with the later. In fact, I was given some of the best piece of advice from a close friend from my first internship in Washington D.C. and I am so glad that I listened. I was told, that instead of collecting clothes, bags or really anything that after a few years could be disposable, I should begin my art collection. I was planning to have two more additional internships after D.C. as well as making a trip to Europe and I wanted to have something that spoke to me about past experiences, so I have collected quite a few pieces from all over the world and wanted to make sure that they actually got on the wall!

Once my sofa arrived, it only felt right to finally put the gallery wall up, so Carly and I got to work. This is one of those things that yes you can do alone, but everything is just so much easier if there are two of you. With our simple steps below, you can hang a gallery wall without any problem and it will be just the way you want it!  

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Steps to Follow

  1. Figuring out which wall and how much sprawl you want on the wall is probably the most important step. I have seen this done numerous different ways, the most common is to lay everything down on the floor underneath the wall you will be using and attempt to transfer the pieces on the floor to the wall. We suggest starting with some paper - tissue paper, newspaper, butcher block paper - really anything that is quite large and taping it up on the wall. This allows you to create boundaries on the wall that will be easy to follow. If you have to move furniture pieces off the wall, make sure you stick a couple of pieces of tape so you know any extra restrictions/guidelines.
  2. Once you have the size and placement of the paper on the wall it is time to start laying out the pieces. While keeping the pieces of paper all connected, pull the paper down and place on the floor nearby. Now comes the fun/tricky part - start laying them all out! There are a few things to keep in mind -
    • Try to keep somewhat of a consistent spacing between each piece. This does not mean you need to measure, but don't go from 3" spacing to 6" spacing. It can look a bit sloppy if you do.
    • Ideally you are going to have more than enough pieces that can work in your collection. Choose your favorites or must-haves from the beginning so that you can make those work for sure. I had a whole lot more pieces off to the side that I switched in and out quite a bit.
    • You want to balance everything out. So if that means you have quite a few smaller pieces, don't put those all on one side, but instead sprinkle them throughout. Try to have something that is consistent - all white and natural frames, all black frames, a variety of warm gold frames, similar works of art.
    • Have a variety of sizes and shapes. This will make the composition more interesting for sure!
    • Have at least 1-2 larger pieces to ground your overall arrangement. These don't have to be giant pieces, as you can see above, but something that makes a presence. I used my black & gold French piece - it was dark, and bigger then all my other pieces.
  3. After everything is placed just how you like it, start marking up all the your frame placement on the paper. This includes the shape of your frame and where the hook is as well. Marking the shape will provide you with good guidelines for where each frame will go up on the wall. When measuring where to place the hook, make sure that you check which type of hanger is on the back and measure accordingly. I mean if you have a metal wire that is going to pull up when you hang, make sure you pull up when measuring! This is very important, so that all the pieces are actually in the right spot instead of dropping lower than you intended.
  4. Finally, set aside all the frames on the floor and tape the paper back up on the wall. Make sure it is centered and exactly where you want it because nailing is the next step! If you don't have plaster walls, start nailing in! If you do have plaster walls, which I think may be half of Cincinnati, put a small piece of painter's tape behind the paper where the nail is going to go. This will prevent your walls from splitting, cracking or crumbling. Not sure why, but I promise it works! There are all sorts of hanging kits, but this one from Michael's is pretty great. In fact, you can pull the nail out and re-use again later which rarely happens if you use those little gold nails that always bend in the wrong direction. Start at the top left and work your way around, nailing and hanging art and getting it just the way you like it! Once everything is hung, and it looks fabulous you can remove all the paper and tape and you have yourself the perfect gallery wall!
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Above, is the finished product and I can't help but love it! Each piece just makes me smile, but even more I love them all together. The whole process really doesn't take much time, in fact the longest most daunting part is collecting all your artwork, but take your time and really love each piece. Do you have any walls that just beg for attention?

Happy Hanging!

-a.