21 Essential Tips I Wish I’d Known Before Trying To Hang A Gallery Wall

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Make paper templates of your frames so you can plan out your gallery wall before you put holes in the wall.

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1.

Make sure you have (and know how to use) all the right tools before you get started.


thehomesihavemade.com

Depending on the project, you’ll need some combination of a level (seriously, learn from my mistakes), measuring tape, a stud finder, drywall anchors, a drill, a hammer, nails, photo wire, frame hooks, or adhesive strips. Many manufacturers demonstrate how to effectively use their tools in YouTube videos, so check them out before you get started. Even if you don’t need all the items for this specific project, it’s always good to have a fully stocked toolbox on hand!

See a tutorial for hanging frames with adhesive strips on The Homes I Have Made and get a 220-piece picture hanging kit from Amazon for $8.25 (originally $10.99).

2.

Hang art so that the midpoint of the compilation is about 60 to 65 inches from the floor.


Instagram / @timelessoak / Via instagram.com

I am really short, so I hang all of my art on the lower end of that range. Measure 60–65 inches up the wall from the floor and mark the point with a sticky note. This spot will act as the center point for your gallery wall.

See this gallery wall from Timeless Oak Design on Instagram.

3.

Or hang it so the bottom of the lowest frame is 6 to 12 inches above the furniture.


aprettyfix.com

Think of the furniture as an additional piece of the gallery — you want to create a fluid connection between the two without making them sit too closely together, as doing so will make the whole thing look cluttered.

Learn more about how to make a mirrored gallery wall like this one on A Pretty Fix.

4.

Keep the spacing between each piece of art consistent.


homeyohmy.com

Even if you have frames of all different shapes and sizes, you always want the spacing between them to be consistent. The art needs enough room to breathe, but not so much room that the dead space is distracting.

Check out this gorgeous gallery wall on Homey Oh My.

5.

Paint cheap frames to make them look more expensive than they are.


abeautifulmess.com

Framing all of your favorite photos and artwork can get pretty pricey, but luckily, you can find a huge array of affordable frames in different shapes and sizes from thrift stores or art stores! Remember to remove the glass and backing before painting.

Get ideas for decorating thrifted frames on A Beautiful Mess.

6.

Or attach some hardware to the frames if your style is on the glitzier side.


Jennifer Farley / Via curbly.com

Wire, chains, tiles, and brackets can give a lame frame that little pop of glamour your walls have been missing.

Get the tutorial for this Anthropologie frame knockoff on Curbly.

7.

Mix in sculptural pieces to make a mismatched frame collection look intentional.


thecraftedsparrow.com

The art that you hang on your gallery wall doesn’t have to be from the same artist, be the same size, or even be the same type of art. Including a variety allows each piece to stand out, so mix it up! Hang a vintage plate with a large painting, a small photo, and a cool graphic of your favorite quote.

See this wall on The Crafted Sparrow.

8.

Sketch a few layouts if you can’t even visualize where to start.


collectivegen.com

It can be hard to see the ~big picture~ when you’re looking at such a large space. Draw a few different designs and decide which you like best for the space.

Check out these designs on Collective Gen.

9.

Hang heavy items with special adhesive strips if you don’t want to make holes in the wall.


youtube.com

If you’re nervous about pissing off your landlord, don’t worry — you can get a set of Command Strips that can support up to 12 pounds! Follow the 3M tutorial for using these strips on YouTube.

Get a 16-pack of strips from Amazon for $10.22.

10.

Or cut paper templates into the shapes of your art so you can plan out your gallery wall before putting nails in the wall.


oursouthernhomesc.com

Using paper cutouts will allow you to play with the layout of your frames and assure that everything is evenly spaced and level before you start poking holes in the wall.

Cut the template out, then flip the frame over and trace the hanger onto the paper. Label each frame with a number and write that number on the corresponding template so you don’t lose track of where everything goes. Once you’re sure that you like the layout, hammer the nails into the hanger tracings, pull the templates off the wall, and hang the art.

Learn more about this tip on Our Southern Home.

11.

Or! Just tape up the inserts that came with the frame.


megoonthego.com

If creating all those templates sounds like a lot of work, just tape up the photos that came with the frames. The pictures will be slightly smaller than the frames so keep that in mind when you’re positioning them!

Check out this tip on Meg O. on the Go

12.

Use tape to map out the area that you think the art would fit best.


thediyplaybook.com

It can be helpful to use tape to visualize the space, especially if you’re hanging a symmetrical gallery wall. Arrange the frames on the floor in the format you like, making sure that the spaces between the frames are equal. Then, measure the length and width of the layout. Tape up the outline of that area on the wall, checking that the tape is level and centered on the wall. Leave it up for a few hours so you know that you absolutely love the positioning of it before you hang the frames.

See this layout on The DIY Playbook.

13.

Or map out unconventional layouts using push pins and string.


Ellie Sunakawa / Via zmeinogorsk.ru

It can be difficult to hang a gallery wall so that it is parallel to the stairs, but using a piece of string as a guide can make it much easier. Push two pins into each side of the wall, making sure that they are the same height above the stairs. Wrap the string around each pushpin and you’re ready to go!

Learn more about this tip on My Domaine.

14.

Attach hanging wire to the frame so you can level out the frame after you’ve hung it on the wall.


thediyplaybook.com

Hanging wire is much easier to work with than traditional frame hooks, especially when you’ve got a large piece — you can just slide the frame’s wire on the nail until it’s centered!

Get the tutorial for using hanging wire on The DIY Playbook.

15.

Make a picture-hanging tool using a paint stirrer and a screw.


viewalongtheway.com

Attach a nail to the paint stirrer so that the point pokes through. Catch the picture wire or hanger with the head of the nail and position the frame on the wall. Pull away the frame while leaving the paint stirrer in place, puncture the wall with the screw, and nail the hook into the hole. Simple!

Get the tutorial on View Along the Way.

16.

Poke holes in a piece of tape so you know where to put the nails.


centsationalstyle.com

Frames with two hooks help prevent tilting in the long run, but they can be a pain to hang. This tip will make it so much easier. Lay a piece of tape across the length of the frame and poke a hole where it lays over the hangers. Place the tape on the wall and adjust it so it’s level. Then, nail the hooks into the holes and pull the tape away.

Learn more about this tip on Centsational Style.

17.

Or just order a specialized tool with built-in rulers and levels to take the headache out of hanging frames.


Amazon

Get this one from Amazon for $22.95.

18.

Dab a bit of toothpaste onto the frame hooks and press the frame onto the wall so you know where the nail goes.


paisleyproposal.com

I can personally confirm that this totally works. Apply the toothpaste to the hook, press the frame against the wall, and hammer a nail in the spot where the toothpaste rubbed off.

Learn more about why toothpaste is a great tool for hanging frames on Paisley Proposal.

19.

Hold the nail with a clothespin so you don’t end up hammering your finger.

20.

Catch drywall dust with a sticky note so you don’t make a mess hanging heavier items.


youtube.com

Pre-drilling holes is a necessary evil if you’re using screws to hang your art. The drywall dust gets everywhere — that is, if you don’t use this handy sticky note trick. Just fold the note up so the paper sits at a 90-degree angle on the wall. Once you pre-drill the hole, fold the note over tightly and grip the dust pile while you carry it over to the trash. Dump the dust and stick the note back up for the next hole.

See the trick in action on YouTube.

21.

If all else fails, sign up for Framebridge to get custom layouts and frames.


Elizabeth Lily / BuzzFeed

The service is pretty pricey, but it might be worth it if you find the process of finding good frames and planning the layout complicated or stressful. The pre-traced layouts they send are easy to hang and move around your home and even have marks for where you should place the photo hanger. If you can’t swing the price, just position your frames on a piece of paper and trace.

Get a custom layout and a $40 credit toward frames from Framebridge for $199.