Gallery Wall How-To

Did you see the gallery wall in our lake house tour?  It has been a pretty big and important project for us.  Our family goes back 6 generations in the small town, and we wanted a way to showcase and celebrate our history there.  We thought a wall filled with family pictures throughout the generations was a great way to do that. 

We're not sure if this is how you are supposed to make a gallery wall, but this is how we made ours.  And the imperfect system (there's really no measurement involved) worked for our lake house space where imperfection and laid-back lifestyles are welcomed. 

It turns out this old roll of plastic table cloth has been one of our best crafting tools of the summer.  It was integral to the wall gallery (and also to a homemade rug - which we will share later!).

I covered the wall with the plastic table cloth and fit it to the area I was intending to cover with frames.  I ended up making it smaller in the end due to lack of frames, but the initial plan was mapped out directly on the wall like so.

The whole template was then transferred to a large enough floor space (lucky for us, it stayed right in that room).

Then, gather your frames!  We went with the Ikea Virserum frame in 4 sizes (8x10 picture, 5x7, 4x6, and 3x5).  The Ikea frames made the wall affordable, and the small sizes let us maximize the amount of pictures we fit on the wall.  In a different space, I probably would have chosen different sizes or unified sizes; be sure to put a lot of thought into the overall impact you want a wall to have before buying a bunch of frames.

Start laying out frames onto the template.  This takes LOTS of trial and error - it was our 4th or 5th try that got turned into a final layout.

We finally got something we liked! 

We traced the frames, which were wrapped in plastic still so they were protected, with permanent markers to keep track of the pattern.

It helped to move some off while we traced nearby frames.

All traced!

Then, grab your handy-dandy neighborhood Dad (and in our case, Uncle) to help put the template back on the wall!  We ran out of frames to completely fill the wall and live 3 hours from the nearest Ikea, so we decided to work with what we had instead of delaying and adding on.  But it worked just as well.

Hang the frames right onto the wall over the plastic table cloth.

This took a while, and it's a bit tricky when your frames are very close to each other.

All hung!

Then, carefully cut and remove the plastic from around the frames.  But be careful - they might fall of the wall easily if you bump them the wrong way!  You will have to lift some frames off, but the table plastic pulled away from the nails really easily.

Then, all of a sudden: 

It was done!  (Yes, we are still working on filling the frames :)

Special thanks to our dad who made it happen with his picture frame-hanging suaveness. 

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