Some of you may remember when I posted this little number on Twitter (and if you don’t follow me…well…it’s your own fault you were left out):

It was my first photo collage. I liked it, but there was something not quite right about it. Well…several things.

First, the cluster was a bit too tight. The wall above the back of my couch is spacious. And since I’m not allowed to paint it a soft grey (hrumph), the extra space around the frames seems especially barren. (At least to me. But remember, I’m the one who has to stare at it every time I come home.)

Secondly, the frames themselves are an issue. I’m not going to lie to you; they’re cheap. They came from Target in one of those insta-gallery sets. I just wanted to get stuff on the walls, and at the time making an investment didn’t seem that important.

My stylish friend Jessica actually inspired me to upgrade. She is doing something similar in her living room, and the last time I visited she had the frames in place. Nice frames. Pretty frames. And I knew it was time to join her in the grown-up world of grown-up picture frames.

Fortunately, I also had a Crate & Barrel coupon. And you know how I feel about coupons.

So I made the commitment to nicer frames. Next, I wanted to make sure I got the arrangement just right. I read a blog post (I can’t remember which blog, so I can’t find the link…this is bad blog karma) about how to measure without measuring, which, incidentally, is right up my alley.

First step: Measure your wall space. (D’oh…ok, there is some measuring. But this is easy, just measure one end to the other, width-wise.)

Second step: Unroll a large piece of wrapping paper to the same width of your wall.

Third step: Arrange your frames on the paper.

Fourth step: Using post-its, number the frames and label them. (This is important! The original how-to I read didn’t include this step, but I think it makes your life a lot easier. You’ll see why.)

Fifth step: Trace the frames onto the paper. Then mark in the traced boxes where the nail will go. (You may have to actually measure for this step, depending on the structure of your frames. Sorry.) Don’t forget to label each box with the number of its corresponding frame.

Sixth step: Hang the paper on the wall. (You may need a buddy for this…hubsters are especially helpful.)

Seventh step: Hammer in the nails into your pre-marked spots.

(See the number 2? That corresponds with the frame with the number 2 post-it. In case that wasn’t clear above.)

Eighth Step: Tear down the paper! (It’s like a giant present.) The nails will remain in the perfect spots. (You might not want to rip the paper up, though, so you can still see the numbers.)

Ninth step: Using the wrapping paper as a guide, hang the frames in their rightful spots.

And you’re done! (Well, I’m not done. Obviously I still have a few empty frames. But the point is, I’m done hammering.)

See the poster there in the middle? I’m totally smitten.

Anyone else have a gallery wall? What are your best tips for getting the arrangement right?

One Response to Picture Perfect

  • Dad says:

    When I do a collage, I just hang the first picture and orient the rest around that. I usually am more concerned about them all being reasonably evenly spaced, higher than anything below them, and horizontal to the floor than measuring from the floor or walls. That way the collage looks like it was intended to just float on its own without regard to its environment… I am such a free spirit!

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