We have lived in our current home for almost 4 years. And how many pictures had I hung in that time? About 5.

That’s sad.

BUT we have been renovating this house from top to bottom. When we moved in there were holes in the walls and ceilings. I just couldn’t bring myself to hang pictures when I knew I would have to take them down again due to dust and renovations.

In April we FINALLY fixed the holes in the ceiling of the entry hall so I decided it was time to start hanging pictures.

I was overwhelmed because I had too many pictures to hang! But I decided that I had to start somewhere, so here are the steps I took to create my gallery wall.

Gather ALL your items in one spot to begin figuring out what to hang on your gallery wall.
  1. Gather ALL the items that you want to hang on your gallery wall.
    1. Go through old pictures.
    1. Pull memorabilia from other locations in your home.
    1. Gather everything in one space and start going through your items. If you immediately love an item or a photo, it goes into the YES pile. If you don’t love it, it goes back into a box.
  2. Determine what you need to buy.
    • YOU WILL NEED TO BUY A TON OF COMMAND STRIPS. Buy more than you think you need! You will usually need at least 4 Command Strips per photo. (Sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the size of the frame that you’ll be hanging.) SPOILER ALERT: Because you will be using Command Strips, you will NOT need to put nails in your walls!
    • Maybe you need more frames? Order frames. (I bought almost all my frames from Target and Amazon.)
    • Maybe there’s a photo on your phone that you really love but you don’t have a physical copy? Order prints.
    • Maybe you want to add some type of memorabilia to your wall (like a plate, which you will see on my wall) but you don’t have a way to hang it? Do the research, find out how to hang it, and order what is needed.
    • Buy or order a roll of butcher paper and painters tape so that you can create a template for your wall (see #4 below).
    • This process will take a couple weeks as you wait for items to arrive. That’s ok. Because while you’re waiting on your orders, you can move on to Step #3.
  3. Figure out a theme.
    • I had SO MANY PICTURES that I felt overwhelmed with how to organize them. My initial thought was to have the photos flow up the stairs, like a rainbow. See this blog for an example of what I’m referring to. But when I began to look closely at my photos, I realized that I would not have enough of each color to pull off the rainbow idea. So I started brainstorming and decided that I would divide the photos into seasons. I grouped all the spring/summer/fall/winter photos together and I also made a pile of miscellaneous items/photos that were not specific to any season. (This way I would have some flexibility to fill in spaces that seemed sparse.) Once I decided to move forward with seasons, I realized that I had more or less grouped similar colors together because each season tends to have it’s own unique colors.  
  4. Create a template
    • Choose a starting point. I decided to start with my spring photos so I grabbed about 10 photos and started tracing. I used the butcher paper to trace and then cut out a few 4×6, 5×7, and 8×10 frames. I also traced and cut a template for any frame or image that was an irregular size/shape.
    • Lay the cutouts on the floor so that you can start to get an idea of how different sizes and shapes look when they are next to each other. Rearrange as necessary.
    • Lay the actual photos on top of the cutouts so that you can see how the photos will look when displayed. You will be able to quickly see that you need to rearrange again. It might be because you have too many similar photos, or maybe you need to mix in some black and white photos, or maybe you realize that you have too many pictures of the same person and you need to break that up a bit.
    • Keep rearranging until you have a look that feels “right”. There are no rules for this, it’s a gut feeling and a personal preference!
  5. Clean the frames!
    • Now that you’ve been tracing and rearranging frames, you will notice that they need a good cleaning. I took all the frames apart and cleaned both sides of the glass (Can you tell that I am an Enneagram One?) Most of the time a quick wipe with a damp cloth will be enough to clean the frame.
    • Wait for the glass to dry and then put the photographs back into the frames.
  6. Start hanging
    • Grab your supplies: your templates, painters tape, command strips, a pencil, a level (if you have one), and a pair of scissors. Congrats, you’re ready to start hanging your pictures!
Gallery Wall Template
Gallery Wall Template

Notice that the title of this post is 6 Steps to CREATING a Gallery Wall. Hanging the photos on the wall deserves it’s own post, so stay tuned, I’m working it!

I’d love to see pics of your gallery wall and I’m sure you have tips that I didn’t even think of, so shout them out and link your pics in the comments!

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