Step by Step Instructions to Create the Perfect Gallery Wall
So, I have this thing for gallery walls. They’re such a great way to fill empty wall space, if you’re into that kind of thing.
Bare walls give me the heebie-jeebies in my house, so I have to cover them up. I've created at least 6 in my current house and a number of them in our townhouse as well. And yes, I switch out images in some of the frames seasonally so one still says Merry Christmas. 🤣 Add that to my list of things to get to.
Here is my tried and true method of hanging art for a gallery wall.
Brown craft paper, newspaper
Step 1-Choose the wall where your gallery will hang.
You might have to think outside the box on this if you don’t have a clear space in mind. Could it go on the staircase, back wall of a powder room, or down a hallway?
Step 2-Gather your pictures and/or items
You may choose to have all your frames match or you may prefer a more eclectic mix of different frames and objects.
There’s no right answer; choose pieces that you love and will want to see everyday. Once you’ve chosen your art, use the brown kraft paper, or newspaper, to make templates.
The easiest way to do this is to lay the art down on the paper, trace the outside edge and then cut out your shape.This might seem like a lot of work but trust me, it’s worth the effort. If you have some art that is horizontal and some that is vertical, be sure to indicate that on the brown paper with a marker or pen as this information will be critical on step 4.
Step 3-Decide on a layout.
If you’ve chosen identical sized frames and are orientating them the same, you might go with a layout that is more symmetrical and uses an even number of frames. If they’re the same color, but are different sizes and are a mix of horizontal and vertical, then a more random layout will work best.
If your mix of items is random, then an off-centered collage style would work best and you can work in odd numbers. There are a million and one ideas on Pinterest, so head there for more inspiration and free templates to download.
Step 4-Arrange your art
Gather your framed art and paper templates and find some open floor space near your wall. With your layout in mind, start placing your art on the floor. Keep in mind that the spacing between frames should be roughly 2”. Too far apart and it looks disconnected, too tight and it becomes cluttered.
You may have to spend some time rearranging it until you’re happy with it. When you’re done, place the paper templates on top of the art-this will help you in the next step. Once your arrangement of art is laid out it’s time to hang the templates!
Step 5- Hanging the paper templates
Most designers would agree that art should be hung at 57” on center for optimal viewing. That means that the center point of your art should be 57” from the ground. Since you’re creating a gallery wall, you have to consider the entire collection as one piece and locate the midpoint of the combined art. Refer back to the art on the ground and find the center point of the gallery.
If your gallery wall will be centered on a wall space, you’ll need to find the horizontal midway spot on the wall first. Measure from wall to wall and divide by 2. Once you have the midway point, measure 57” from the ground. This will be the exact center of your gallery wall. Depending on your layout, this spot may fall between art or under a piece. Transfer your first paper template to the wall using blue painters tape, keeping your center spot in mind. Continue to place your surrounding paper templates on the wall exactly as you had them on the floor, getting the spacing as best you can for now.
Once they’re all up, take a step back and look at your wall. Are you happy with how the pieces are arranged? Which pieces need to move up/down/left/right a bit? Does it look too small on the wall? You might need to add more art. Don’t get temped to space out the art much further, it won’t solve the issue and will look disconnected.
Do you want to rearrange a bit? Feel free to remove and pieces and swap paper templates around until you’re happy with it. I recommend that you walk away for a few hours or even a few days and come back to it.
Step 6-Hanging the art!
When you’re satisfied with your arrangement and with the paper templates still on the wall, grab your hammer and nails, or picture hanging kit and let’s get to work!
You’ll need a tape measure here to determine where to place each nail for each piece of art. Start with any piece of art, find it’s coordinating paper template, measure from the edge of the frame to the center of the hanger on the back and then place an mark on the paper at that same spot.
You can now hammer a nail straight through the paper and hang your first piece of art! Follow these same directions for each piece of art and voilà you’ve created a beautiful gallery wall!
If you are creating a symmetrical display, I highly recommend using a level or picture hanging laser to make the job even easier.
If all of this sounds like a great idea, but not up your alley at all, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask about my gallery wall services. I’d be happy to help!