Usually I am really quick to get pictures up on the walls in a new home. I hate the look of blank walls; having wall art and photos up helps to make the new place seem more like a home. Since this house is OURS though, and we plan on staying for a while, I have been more deliberate and slow to hang things. I want to get it right the first time so I don’t have to live forever with off-center artwork.
I finally got around to putting up our family photo gallery wall in our front hallway, and I discovered an easy trick that helps to lay out a large area of pictures gallery-style.
To make a Large Gallery Wall, you will need:
dollar store contact paper
dollar store adhesive dots
framed photos, artwork, etc.
First you will need to trace all the elements of your wall onto dollar store contact paper. Cut them all out and label them with: 1) what photo they are of, 2) which direction is up, and 3) the location of the nail hanger. I used up two rolls of contact paper to trace the elements for this wall.
Now you can peel the backing off of the contact paper, and test out as many different arrangements as you would like. The contact paper peels right off the wall without damaging it, and easily moves to a new spot, so you can be as indecisive as you like.
I wanted the gallery to have a strong eyeline like the photo gallery in our old house, but with many more photos, I needed to fit all the puzzle pieces together as best I could. I finally decided on a layout that I liked after about an hour of putzing.
After I had the layout complete, I got out my level to mark the center eyeline. Usually when I hang pictures, I just eyeball where they will hang. DO NOT DO THIS FOR GALLERY WALLS! There are too many pictures involved and each new frame can get you farther away from level. See how far off my eyeballed contact paper is from the level painter’s tape? That would have bugged the crap out of me for years if I hadn’t taken the time to fix it all.
Adjust the contact paper according to your new level eyeline and pound the nails into the spots you already have marked. Easy peasy. Hang up all your photo gallery elements, and check everything for level. Then you can go back and peel off the contact paper and painter’s tape.
Before you rehang the photos, place small rubber dots on the bottom of each frame. You can buy packages of these rubber dots at the dollar store, and they will help to keep your frames from shifting into a dozen crooked angles. There is nothing so aggravating to my eye than a wall of pictures that are all crooked. Makes me crazy.
You’re done! Step back and admire your work. Because you used the contact paper trick, you can be sure that your final layout is what you really wanted, not just the one you settled for.
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Thanks, Jessica Hill
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