We have a large open spot on the wall that after living here for a couple of years I finally decided a gallery wall would look really nice there. I realize I'm slow, but I am of the personality that I leave it blank until I know exactly what I want to do.
So, I started to do some research aka I looked around on Pinterest and found a couple of Gallery Walls that peeked my interest. One of the gallery walls had all black and white canvases. I thought that looked really cool. Another gallery wall I liked had all frames that were the same color.. I decided I wanted to do a bit of both.
I soon realized I could not afford to do all or pretty much any canvas pictures. However, I really liked them. So, I DIYed some canvas pictures; check it out here for a tutorial.
Then I couldn't quite find the frames that I was imagining/picturing in my head. Therefore, I made some and I am much happier with them. All I had to do was buy some plain frames at JoAnn's being thrifty using my 40% off coupon and painted them myself. Check out that Striped Picture Frame DIY here.
Now that I have everything ready, let's get down to business with the DIY Gallery Wall Tutorial.
Materials you may need:
- canvas, frames, and pictures
- large butcher paper to cover your gallery space on the wall
- painter's tape aka blue tape
- hammer and nails to hang
First step, buy however many canvases and picture frames in various sizes that you want. I seriously just went with my gut thoughts as I stood in the canvas aisle at the store. Canvases and unfinished frames are really cheap with a coupon so if you buy more than you'll end up using I'm sure you'll find some fun project like this fun crayon one I saw on Pinterest that you'll need a canvas for.
Second, lay out your canvas and frames on the ground. Explore options and possibilities for your gallery wall layout until you find one you are happy with. Below are just a few of the options I was brainstorming.
Third, now that you have the layout down you need to pick which pictures will go on which frames. We had just had family pictures done and picked from those.
I do think it would look cool if you took great pictures yourself or had several family picture sessions throughout the years to pick from. You could have a mixture/gallery of pictures from several points in time.
I'll have to work on that for down the road and switch out canvases and pics as I see fit. Personally, our only other family pictures were taken when I was 9 months prego. That was ridiculous and no women should ever do that; those pictures are no bueno and are definitely not going up on a gallery wall.
Fourth, order your pics and make your canvas pics and frames using the tutorials linked here.
Fifth, get some large paper/butcher paper and lay it out on the ground as seen below. You'll need the paper to be at least as big as your gallery wall.
We used engineer plans for our paper and taped it together. As far as where to lay it out, I would suggest laying your paper out on hard flooring like tile or wood to help with your leveling process down the road.
Sixth, lay out your pictures on your paper in the layout you had initially decided upon. We ending up moving it a bit more once it was on the paper again, but your initial layout will save you a lot of time in this step.
Seventh, using a ruler and level make sure the pictures are straight and even. We opted to have the majority of the top of the gallery wall to be level on one line, but the bottom isn't. We also wanted the sides on one line as well. My husband is an engineer; he gets more exact and excited about the numbers of centering on paper etc. I personally just went with the visual of how it looked, but then used the ruler and level to make sure it was straight.
Eighth, after your pictures are straight use a pencil and trace around the top and half way down the sides of each picture. You'll want to be precise here b/c this will give you an exact location of where to put your nails. This is why the previous step is so important, and it will save you a lot of hassle in the next few steps.
Ninth, remove your pictures from the paper. You should see your pencil markings underneath.
Tenth, tape your paper onto the wall you are hanging your gallery. Again, you will want to make sure you paper, or at least the line that the top of your gallery wall is lined up on, is straight and level.
Eleventh, use a hammer and nails and hang up all of your pictures. We ended up doing two nails for each canvas to give us a steady and secure location for the pictures to hang. We used the pencil outlines to know exactly where to hang. While hanging the pictures we would measure the back of the canvas where the nail would hang (under the wood frame), and then measure down that same distance on the pencil markings on the paper.
Hanging the pictures was actually incredibly quick b/c all of the precise work was done before.
Finally, remove the pictures from the wall, but leave the nails in. Then remove the paper by lifting the paper up over the nails. All of the nails will still be in place, and you can easily put the pictures back up on the wall. We didn't even need to double check it after putting the pictures up again; it was all level and looking good.
Gallery walls seem scary; they did for my husband at least. I had actually completed all of the pictures over a month ago, but my husband was not excited and downright nervous to hang them all. He figured it was going to be challenging, frustrating and all around beastly. Therefore he procrastinated until I said we were doing it.
Using the paper as a layout and measuring everything before outlining the pictures made all the difference. My husband even commented after that "it was a lot easier than he thought it would be."
Sure you may think a gallery wall looks really neat, but actually getting it all planned out and on the wall is much too difficult and time consuming. However, it really isn't difficult or time consuming. We completed the hanging of the gallery wall during nap time.
A gallery wall takes some planning, but it doesn't take nearly as much time as you would think.
Plus, it really is worth it. My kids love pointing to their pictures on the wall, and all of our guests have commented on how fabulous the gallery wall looks.
Now, I am excited to switch out canvases over time so that our gallery wall looks like a true gallery built over years and years.
On a completely different note, I participated in my first Link Up party over at Living Well Spending Less, and I even had someone find my blog and get some book ideas from that Link Up party. Exciting stuff! Just had to share my excitement with yall!
Happy DIYing! As always, holler if you have any questions or need any clarifications.