How to Create a Gallery Wall

Well, it took us a full year, but we finally hung a gallery wall in our apartment!

How to Create a Gallery Wall | alwayseatdessert.com

I’d been wanting to create a gallery wall since we moved into our apartment, but I have to admit that the task felt completely daunting. In April, while on our honeymoon, we purchased a hand-carved wooden fish to commemorate our trip to St. Lucia. I had the best intentions of hanging it as soon as we got home, but it sat on the TV console for months. Then, for our anniversary A gave me a framed copy of our wedding invitation, and that was the final push I needed. I poured over gallery wall inspiration photos, rolled up my sleeves and finally got the job done!

How to Create a Gallery Wall | alwayseatdessert.com

We decided on a wedding-centric theme for our gallery wall, featuring some of our engagement and wedding photos, plus photos – and the wooden fish – from our honeymoon. I’m absolutely thrilled with how our gallery wall turned it. It definitely required some patience, but in the end the juice was well worth the squeeze. Below are my stress-free tips for creating your own gallery wall.

How to Create a Gallery Wall


You Will Need:
-tape measure
-pencil
-scissors
-graph paper
-roll of kraft paper (or leftover wrapping paper)
-painter’s tape
-level
-hammer
-nails
-framed photos

Directions:

CHOOSE A WALL
– Select a wall to display your gallery. If possible, select a wall that doesn’t get too much direct sunlight so that your photographs and artwork won’t fade.

CHOOSE YOUR GALLERY ITEMS
– Choose the photographs, artwork, and mementos that you’d like to include in your gallery wall. Ideally, you’ll want to include a mixture of portrait- and landscape-oriented images to create visual intrigue.
– Decide which image you want to be the focal point of your gallery wall. This will be the largest image in your gallery.

PLAN YOUR LAYOUT
– Use your tape measure to measure your wall. You’ll want to know the width and height of the wall and the placement of any furniture or fixtures, like light switches, that will impact where your images can be hung.
– Draw your wall measurements on your graph paper. I recommend making each square on your graph paper equal to one inch on your wall for simplicity.
– Pick frame sizes for your photographs and artwork. Get creative and pick an assortment of sizes. Some common frame sizes are 5×7, 8×10, 11×14, and 16×20, and you can find standard frame sizes by looking at retailers’ websites (I used Michaels.com).
– Cut out pieces of graph paper to match the sizes of the frames to scale. (Note: When measuring the frame size, remember to include an extra inch or so for the frame itself. An 11×14 frame refers to the image size, so you’ll need to include some extra room for the frame.)
– Play around with arranging the frame cut-outs on your wall drawing. Get creative, and don’t try to make it too symmetrical or perfect. I recommend starting with your focal point and then arranging the rest of the frames from there. Keeping a consistent space between frames (I opted for 2 inches) will give the arrangement a more professional look.

Here’s my graph paper drawing:
How to Create a Gallery Wall | alwayseatdessert.com

TEST YOUR LAYOUT
– Once you’ve found an arrangement that you like, it’s time for a final test before you put any holes in the wall! Measure and cut your kraft paper to match the frame sizes that you’ve selected.
– Post your kraft paper frame cutouts on the wall using painter’s tape. Leave the cutouts up for a few days to give yourself time to decide if you’re happy with how everything looks. Make tweaks if necessary. Once you’re happy with the layout you’re ready for the final step!

Here’s my test layout:
How to Create a Gallery Wall | alwayseatdessert.com

HANG IT UP!
– Print your photographs and purchase your frames.
– Remove your kraft paper frame cutouts from the wall.
– Hang your focal point first, and then work your arrangement out from there following the layout you planned.

Here are a few tips for easy hanging:
-Hammer nails into the wall at a 45 degree downward angle.
-To get the alignment just right, measure from the edge of one frame to the edge of where your next frame should be and make a small mark with your pencil. Then measure the distance from the edge of the frame to the bracket to determine exactly where you’ll need to place the nail. Make an “X” in this spot so you know where to hammer your nail.
-Use a level to make sure you’re measuring in straight lines.

How to Create a Gallery Wall | alwayseatdessert.com

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