Take the pain and frustration out of hanging frames for a gallery wall with this foolproof method for getting level and evenly-spaced frames every time! When you’ve finished hanging your frames, you can fill your gallery wall with our free vintage botanical printables!
Until recently, one of the most dreaded commands from
The Commandant my dear wife was “Babes, let’s hang these picture frames. I want to make a gallery wall.” Oh, the humanity! The horror! The endless fiddling with levels and tape measures and hammers and nails and drills and screws and drywall anchors! The yelling, the cursing, and the frustration! And finally, after the last tear is shed, looking at the frames on the gallery wall and seeing that THEY AREN’T EVEN STRAIGHT! GAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!
I came to loathe the term “Gallery Wall.” I would hide in the closet, trembling with fear, whenever Handan went frame shopping or wanted to hang some of our printables.
Did you know that hanging pictures with your spouse is the leading cause of divorce, weight gain, hypertension, fatty liver, cancer, eyeball puss, flaky skin, webbed feet and gout? It’s true. I read it on the internet. That makes it 100% true.
Well, I have some good news for you today. I’m going to show you a 100% divorce-proof way of hanging picture frames with your spouse that is guaranteed to result in perfectly-spaced and level frames and a 100% reduction in eyeball puss, webbed feet and gout. You’ll need to eat less, stop drinking, quit smoking, start exercising and use moisturizer to cure the rest.
And if learning how to easily create a gallery wall isn’t enough for you to break out the Champagne, we’re also going to hook you up with a slew of new botanical printables to get you in the mood for spring.
Unless you want more winter.
In that case, you can stop reading, walk outside and cram some snow in your shorts. It’s up to you.
Oh, you’re still here? Huzzah! Then enough of my
fatty liver yapping – let’s get to it!
Our foolproof method to create stunning and straight gallery walls requires the following easily obtainable items:
- Command Picture Hanging Strips
- Painter’s tape
- 48 Inch Beam Level (or a yard stick and a small level)
- 9 or 12 inch torpedo level
- Frames (duh)
The picture below shows what you’re aiming for. When we originally hung our frames, we forgot to take pictures of the steps leading up to this point, but fret not, young Wall Warriors, we’ve recreated the steps below, so keep reading!
But first things first! This post is a part of our Dining Room Makeover series, and the second item on our checklist was to paint the room. If you remember, it used to be a darkish blue. We wanted to lighten the room, so we painted it all with Behr’s Natural Gray, except for a small accent wall that we painted with Behr’s Slate Gray.
What a difference! The lighter tone opens up the space and creates breathing room for the furniture we want to add. It also makes a great neutral backdrop for our wall hangings, including the gallery wall shown in this post.
Important note: wait at least a couple of days before trying this method of picture hanging (a week would be optimal), as it relies on adhesion, and the paint needs to be properly cured to avoid peeling it off the walls.
First, you need to establish a baseline on the wall from which you will reference all of your frames. We like to use 1.88 inch blue painter’s tape, as the width of the tape also acts as a spacer between frames. You may use thicker or thinner tape depending on your needs. To get that baseline, you’d normally have to put the beam level on the wall and mark the line with a pencil. Then you would run the tape along the line. This method works fine, but in the end you have to erase a pencil mark from your wall, and if you pressed too hard, you may never get it fully erased. Sometimes the eraser can leave a permanent mark as well. I’m talking from experience here, folks. But my genius wife came up with a solution. I mean, really, are you surprised? She’s like Wonder Woman crossed with
Here’s how you do it. Lay your beam level on a table and attach the painter’s tape as shown in the first picture below. Be sure the tape is aligned with one of the edges of the level. Next, double the tape back over, so the sticky side is facing up, and then run the tape down the length of the level. Tear the tape a little past the end of the level, but don’t attach it to the level like you did in the first step. Rather, you want to hold onto that end with your fingers. This will make it easier to make any last-minute micro-adjustments and to stick it to the wall.
Find the area where you want your baseline and simply hold the level up close to the wall. Once your level is level (heh), press it against the wall. Press the tape firmly against the wall with the hand that was holding the loose end, and then peel the other end off of the level. Presto! You now have a perfectly level baseline, and you didn’t muck up your beautiful walls with hideous pencil marks.
From here, your next step is to hang the middle frame of the bottom row. Depending on how heavy your frame is, you’ll either need two or four Command Strips to secure it. Our frames are 16×20 with Plexiglas instead of glass, so we only needed two strips – one on either side up top. Frames with real glass might require a strips on the top and bottom corners.
The key here is to attach the Command Strip flush with the top of the frame, as shown in the second and third pictures below. This will make remounting the frames after a picture swap a breeze.
Once you’ve applied the strips to the frame and peeled off the backing for the wall side, simply find where you want to hang that middle frame and align it by matching the tops of the Command Strips to the bottom edge of the tape.
You can check your work with the torpedo level. You’ll see that the frame is perfectly level.
From here, it’s just a matter of putting more strips of tape on the wall, using the sides of the hung frame as a guide.
You can use your beam level to check those vertical bands of tape, and you’ll see that they are perfectly level.
You can hang the first frame of the top row by referencing the bottom of the frame against the top of the baseline tape. Then you can run another line of tape across the top of the frame, as it’s easier to hang while referencing from the top.
From here, you just hang them one-by-one until your gallery wall is finished. As the last step, peel off the painter’s tape and enjoy your new gallery wall!
Hanging tip: be sure to really press hard on the frames to secure the Command Strips to the wall. The frames are held on the wall by tiny plastic hooks and loops (basically like extra-strength Velcro). If you don’t press really hard, you risk having the wall adhesive give way before the Velcro.
To re-hang your frames after swapping out pictures, you align the top of the frame with the top of the wall-side Command Strip. Since you already applied the frame-side Command Strip flush with the top edge of your frame, you’ll have no problem hanging the frames perfectly, time after time.
I don’t know what I like best about hanging pictures with the Command Strips. You can’t beat how easy it is to replace the frames over and over again, but equally awesome is the fact that if you ever want to move the frames or remove them entirely, there are no holes to fill and repaint. No. Holes.
Do you know how many times I’ve had to patch and repaint our walls? I don’t either. I can’t count that high.
With the Command Strips, you just pull down on the tab until the wall-side comes free. No holes. No adhesive residue. It’s brilliant!
Okay, so now that you have your awesome new gallery wall, let’s fill it with some printables! Since spring will be rolling through in a month or so, we thought it would be a good time to push out some spring-themed printables. We’re offering three sets of six printables: flowers, birds and orchids. Each set comes in two sizes (16×20 and 24×36) and with two different borders (ivory and aged paper). The bird prints come also come with a blue fabric-texture border. That’s 84 printables! Jeezum Crow, sometimes I think we’re nuts, but you guys are worth it, right? 😀
Here’s a peek at the room so far. The walls are painted, the gallery wall is up, and yes, that’s the Afghan rug on the floor. I’ll cross it off the list, but I’ll also talk a little more about it in a future post.
Dining Room Makeover Checklist
Moodboard and plan. Paint the room. Create a gallery wall and design printables for it. Decide on the rug.
- Buy Chairs.
- Build dining table.
- Build a small console table.
- Makeover/upcycle antique wardrobe.
- Makeover/paint the buffet table.
- Decorate dining room.
Click here to see more dining room makeover posts as we continue to cross items off our checklist!
And now let’s get to the free printables. Although Handan designed today’s offerings to fit into a 16×20 inch frame or a 24×36 poster frame, you may scale them up or down as necessary. 24×36 inch scales down easily to 20×30 / 16×24 / 12×18 / 8×12 / 4×6 inches, and 16×20 inch scales down to 12×15 / 8×10 / 4×5 inches with no problems. If you need help with scaling down these printables so you can print them using your home printer, then make sure you check out our “How To Easily Resize Pictures” post.
Note: If you don’t have a large format printer like the Canon i8720 Printer (prints up to 13×19 inches) and are wondering the best place to get these large printables printed bigger than 8×12, we recommend trying Staples in your area or Amazon print shop. Both stores offer custom-sized prints on matte or glossy paper, and they both cost about the same. Staples also offers Engineering Prints, which are really affordable for large-format prints, but in some areas (like ours), they must be ordered from their online print shop.
Okay, now that I’m done blathering on about sizes and print shops, you can click on the button below to download the printables you’d like! You’ll find all these vintage bird & botanical printables under the “Vintage Illustrations” tab in The VIP Patch.
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