April 30, 2020

5 TIPS FOR CREATING A GALLERY WALL (+step by step guide)

FILED IN: TIPS+FAQ

5 QUICK TIPS:

  1. Plan the layout and arrange your photos in advance so they flow and compliment each other
  2. Stick to either all color, or all black+white for symmetrical gallery walls
  3. Use kraft paper or painters tape as a guide
  4. Hang the first piece and make sure it is level before you continue
  5. Put sticky tack in the corners of the frames to keep them straight and in place

PLAN THE LAYOUT OF YOUR PHOTOS

  • I normally start by pulling photo options into a separate folder on my computer (or iphone). I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do color or black+white, so I played around with both.
  • Open all the photos (and minimize them) so you can view them all at once. That way, you can move the order and drag the images into a combination that flows nicely and breaks up distracting/busy images with ones with more negative space.
  • If you’re using iphone photos, you can do this in a collage app to move photos around and see how they look next to each other).
  • **Take a photo of your final layout (on your computer and/or on your floor in the frames) as a reference

COLOR? BLACK+WHITE? MIX?

If you are doing a symmetrical gallery wall, personally, I would either do all color or all black and white, and not a mix of both for maximum impact. If you are doing more of a eclectic or mis-matched collage style, you can totally mix it up with color/black+white, different frames+sizes, etc… BUT I would commit to mixing it up. For example: having 1 out of 6 photos black and white would stand out and look awkward.

HOW TO HANG + SPACE FRAMES

SOO for hanging regular frames, I normally just roughly lay it out and grab a nail and go for it. With this gallery wall, we started by laying it out on the floor. I wasn’t sure how much gap we wanted between the frames, and where to set it on the wall height wise (without it being too close to the roof or floor). Once we decided on a two inch gap between frames, we measured the total space all 9 frames would take up and taped a big box in painters tape on the wall to make sure we liked the placement on the wall.

From there, I normally start from the bottom middle (always make sure the first piece is level before you continue) and work my way out, then up.

As for measuring spacing on the wall itself, since we were doing a symmetrical gallery wall where you realllllyyy notice if spacing is off… there were two things we found helpful:

  1. Create a mock up with kraft paper! So basically you make a replica of your frame (trace it and cut it out) on kraft paper (or something similar that is sturdy enough) and include the nail spot (I did a dot with sharpie). CONFESSION: I read online to do this with tissue paper, and it DID NOT WORK. It was way too flimsy, but I wish I had something like kraft paper at the time because it definitely would have simplified things. So essentially, you would tape the 9 pieces of kraft paper (or however many frames you are doing) on your wall, and nail on the dot you made with your sharpie/pencil.
  2. SIMPLER VERSION: Use the width of painter’s tape as a guide for the space between your frames if you don’t have a measuring tool. Basically you just need something to easily put as spacers between the frames so the gap is consistent

** FOR A MORE ECLECTIC STYLE or mis-matched collage, I normally lay it out on the ground, take a photo of it and then start from the bottom again when hanging them. If you are wanting the gaps to all be even, the painters tape would work great for this. So essentially, hang the bottom frame, put a piece of tape as a spacer (you can reuse this) then hold your next frame in place. I normally make a pencil mark at the top of the frame, and measure the distance down for the nail hole. OR I just eyeball it and do all different spacing (between 1.5-3ish inches) and skip the tape.

STICKY TACK IS YOUR NEW BFF.

  • Seriously. I never hang a photo without putting a bit on the top corners (where it hits the wall (image above)) to prevent them from sliding or going crooked. I just normally get a pack of white sticky tack from the dollar store. Easy peasy.

QUICK NOTES:

  • tools I used: measuring tape, hammer, nails, sticky tack, painter’s tape, sharpie/pencil, level (optional), kraft paper (optional)
  • our frames are these ikea white ribba ones (16″ x 20″ frame, with a 12″ x 16″ photo with the mat
  • we did a two inch gap between frames

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