Sunday, 31 January 2010

Photo wall how to - Linda style

disclaimer: this tutorial works for frames that have holes in the back for the nail, if your frames are strung you will need to find another way to group them and hang them straight

So I said a while ago that I would come back and post my way of getting the grouping of the frames on my photo wall the way I wanted it. Here it is. I don't claim to have found the fastest way in the world and I am sure there are lots of great ways out there to hang picture frames in straight lines. I just want to share how I did it.

1. Get a roll of cheap-o wrapping paper that you don't want to use for beautiful gifts. I am a hoarder when it comes to wrapping paper and had lots to choose from.

2. Roll the paper out on the floor so that it's long enough to cover the wall  you want to hang your pictures on and cut it off. If your wall is wider than the paper roll out new lengths and tape together lenghtwise until you have a piece that is wide enough. For me it was enough with two lenghts. You don't have to bother measuring or making sure that the lenghts are taped together straight. You just have to make sure the whole piece is as wide or wider than your wall.

3. Now place your wrapping paper on the floor with the back side facing up.

4. Use a ruler to draw a line across the top of the paper. This will act as a guiding line for your frames, and later also to make sure that you get them straight on the wall. Then take out your frames and start placing them on the wrapping paper, trying out different combinations to find a look that appeals to you. At this stage you don't have to measure for alignment and exact distances. Your main objective right now is to find a grouping that you like. As I used identical frames all I had to do was to decide how many I wanted on each row and how to arrange it so that there was a balance between portrait and landscape photos. Take your time and step back from the floor from time to time so that you can see the whole thing from a distance.

5. When you are happy with the grouping of your frames it's time to whip out the ruler and pencil again. If you are like me - anal - it's important that the distance between each frame is the same. Here's where the ruler comes in handy. If you have problems keeping numbers in your head like I do sometimes write down the measurements that you decide on, both between frames on one row and between two rows. If you have decided to go with a less strict pattern for your grouping you might not feel as compelled to measure and align. That is fine too. It means one less thing to worry about.

6. Once you have your first frame measured and aligned with the top line you drew earlier then trace along the sides of the frame. Repeat with the rest of the frames. If you are going with a free form grouping then trace along the frames after placing them where you want them. This step is important. Do not skip this step!

7. When you have traced all the frames it's time to remove them from the wrapping paper. Pick up one frame and have a look at the back. Measure the distance from the edges to the hole where your nail will go once you hang it. If you are like me you will want to write these down too. If you are using different frames you need to repeat this step for each different frame. Now on each of the the traced frame lines on the wrapping paper use your measurements to mark the center of the hole. This step is also important. Do not skip this step either!

8. OK, by this time you should have lots of traced lines on your wrapping paper with marks for the holes inside each traced line. If you do, you are good to go. If you don't, please go back and review.

9. Now it's time to get the wrapping paper up on the wall. If the wall is very wide you will probably need help from a second set of hands. Either that or you are a stubborn type-A personality who are adamant on doing everythin yourself, and perfectly too. That was me. Tape the wrapping paper to the wall, making sure that the top line is completely level. You can either use a level or use your ruler to measure from the top of the wall (assuming your ceiling isn't round).

10. When the paper is up on the wall step back and look for a while at the lines. This will be how your wall will look. If you aren't happy with the look, take the paper down and start from the beginning. If you like it go get your hammer and nails.

11. Put a nail right where each mark for the holes are. Make sure the nail goes in at the center of the mark. Once you have all the nails in the wall you are ready to take the wrapping paper down. If the paper is thick and sturdy you need to be gentle so that you don't rip the nails off as well. If you used really thin and cheap paper from IKEA, again like me, you can just rip. You will now have perfectly placed nails with no marks on the wall to clean up or paint over.

12. Take your frames and place them on your nails.

13. Step back and admire your work.

And that's it folks. Easy peasy, right? ;)


  1. Thanks very much. I can see this is an excellent method, better to have it all mapped out on the paper than banging holes all over the wall.

    I am now going to work on getting my photos framed and ready to hang.

    Great instructions! :)

  2. Great tip!!

    Just another suggestion to add to your method. If you are using different frames sizes and or the actual placement of the photos is important, it might be helpful to take a quick picture of the frames on the paper after you have outlined, but before you have laid out the nail placement.

    That way you don't have to take extra time to remember which photo you meant for the top left corner. ;)