On two of my downstairs walls, I knew I wanted to display lots of photos, both old and new. Also, part of my project on the entry hallway was to choose photos that were seasonal. I'm really not a seasonal/holiday decorator, but I do love the idea of having the house feel like "fall" or "Christmas" or whatever season it is. I thought the best way to accomplish this in my house was to have a photo wall where I could exchange photos with relative ease and not have a lot of bulky decorations to store. My plan is to replace my fall photos with winter photos, but still leave the fall ones in the frames in case I want to use them again next fall. There's no doubt I'll want to change some, but I like having the option of keeping the more generic ones as well.
So, I began by choosing my frames. The easiest for me was to choose Pottery Barn's gallery frames because I liked the size of the matting and they gave specific dimensions online for both the frame and the size photo it held. Also, the frames were available in a variety of colors and materials.
For the first wall, I chose the white and black wood frames and sprinkled in some chrome frames as well.
I measured my wall space (95") and used PowerPoint to arrange my rectangles in a way that suited me.
Notice, I color-coded my frames and listed out to the side what photos I would need to fill the frames, and whether the photos needed to be horizontal or vertical in orientation.
I should also mention that Stephen, our graphic designer at Studio Calico makes fun of me because of the way I clearly misuse PowerPoint and don't use PhotoShop, but this is just so much easier for me.
So, after arranging my color-coded rectangles and listing the photos I would need, I went in search of photos on my computer to fill these holes. As I found each photo, I edited it and saved it in a file named "Gallery Frames" so that I could upload the photos all at once and print them on the same type of photo paper.
Once, I received my photos in the mail (ordered from mpix.com on metallic paper, and they're beautiful!), I put them in frames and laid them out on the floor to make sure my schematic worked.
To hang these photos, we used regular picture hangers designed to work in drywall (sheetrock) and hold up to 20lbs since we knew the likelihood of hitting a stud in this arrangement would be close to impossible. Although, I came very close to hitting my stud after he lost the pencil for the 1000th time!
In between laying these on the floor and hanging them on the wall, both my dad and Greg were naysayers. They almost had me convinced that hanging my pictured like this would be impossible, but I stood firm. I was confident in my math skills (even while pregnant) that this project was not beyond my skill set. So, I wrangled Greg and we went to measuring, marking and hanging. Let me give you a few pointers from our experience:
- Start in the middle. Human reasoning might say to start from the left and work to the right, but you'd be making a mistake because it's much easier to put the middle photos up first exactly where you want them and work from them as your foundation.
- Measure, then measure again. You'll want to measure the distance of the hook on the back of your frame from the edge of the frame in both directions, then mark that on the wall. In some cases, we drew an x and y axis of sorts and placed the hanger at the intersection.
- Use a level. That one is self-explanatory.
- Use the angled hangers that I linked. Those are easiest to nail directly at the mark you want. Also, if you mess up, you will have enough room to use this type of hook without having to repair your wall (we only messed up once!)
- To hang these photos, you have to hang bottom first. So, if you want to change out the photos, like I will be doing, you'll need to remove a whole row from the wall to rehang the bottom picture. Make sense?
- Don't think that you need to glue all the frames together and hang as one. That was Greg's idea and I almost had the baby right then and there I was so upset about that idea!
On to the next wall, which was a bit easier.
For this wall, I planned to use Pottery Barn's Wall Easel system, which comes in 4' or 18" lengths for the horizontal bar. I measured my wall (125") and decided I'd need two 4' sections.
From there, I used my same weirdo way of laying out my frames and photos in PowerPoint, keeping in mind that the wall easel has vertical bars that each column of frames would be affixed to.
To hang this, I got my handy-dandy husband, who didn't complain at all about hanging these compared to the others. Then, we set out to affix the clasps to the rods. Word to the wise: again this is a project you have to work in order, except this time is top - down. I thought I'd be able to slide the frames in and out for easy photo replacement, but that's just not the case, so I don't see these photos being changed out all that often.
But, all in all, it's a great way to fill a large wall.
More house photos to come in the next few days & weeks!