Amazing wall art idea that anyone can do
Have you seen all of those fabulous framed art walls and just thought there is no way you would be able to achieve this wall art idea? While I am here to tell you that it is actually easier than you think.
I knew I wanted to redo our foyer. It all started when we got a new front door installed. We absolutely love this door and the light that is brings to the front of our house. As I have said in past posts, one project normally leads to several more.
I guess it is good that we have so much fun with our DIY home projects because we never run out of ideas.
So back to the big (now) blank wall…
I had a few white frames, with images that I was able to move upstairs. I hung those in a 4 grid pattern using the same picture hanging technique that I am going to teach you here.
Now, because we have younger children, our foyer also doubles a little as a play area. We have a storage bench and fun rug already in the space that we knew we needed to workaround. This storage bench, while smelling funny when we first got it, has been awesome to help store a lot of toys without completely looking like a kid storage space.
We also have a redone chair (yes..sometimes used for timeouts) with a fabulous rug that our kids can play on. However, now that our kids are getting a little older, I thought this entryway space will slowly start to evolve. Therefore, a picture gallery wall was the perfect start to redoing our foyer.
Shopping for the perfect picture frames
Just like when I was buying our foyer light (read all about our favorite light fixtures post), I search high and low to find the best home decor items. I always consider a budget and trying to get exactly what I want.
Luckily, I am at the point in our lives, that getting what I want is sometimes a little more important than budget. But I have found that in the long run you end up saving money if you buy the right thing off the bat.
I decided that I wanted large square frames to have a unified look. I also knew that I was going to put black and white photos in them (more to come on this later). If you do not want square frames, most of the frames I considered to come in different sizes within the links to the retailers.
Square wall frames to consider buying
- Better Homes and Garden Floating Frame 8″ x 8″ Walmart 2. Basics Wall Frames by Studio Decor Michael’s 3. 12″ x 12″ Black Frame Kit Target 4. 2 Pack Gray Fundamentals Shadow Boxes Michael’s 5. Gallery Frame, Black Lacquer West Elm 6. 8″ x 8″ Double Matted Gray Frame Target 7. Brushed Silver 8″ x 10″ Frame Crate and Barrel
The best large square wall frame
So most of the frames I had found where just too small. So there was one more for me to consider…
The Ikea Ribba Large Square frame won. I knew that this frame had enough depth and I actually liked that it was plexi on the front (hence the whole foyer also being a play area).
I do not live particularly close to an IKEA, but I was able to ship all 9 frames that I needed. I was hoping for free shipping, but just couldn’t find a code to make it work. For the size of these gallery wall frames, they are actually pretty inexpensive.
In addition to having to have to ship these large square frames, I was nervous that one would be damaged or broken and then I would be delayed even longer. Luckily, they can very wall packaged together.
(I am not even an affiliate for these frames, just telling you what I used).
You can check out some of our other favorite products here.
How to hang the perfect wall gallery
Use the paper in the frame! No matter what type of picture gallery you are trying to create, use the the paper in the frame as a guide (yes, I know I said it twice).
Also, don’t throw away the corner cardboard square protectors, you will need them. Most frames come with these, so no matter which frames you are using you may be able to use the corner protector pieces.
You will be able to see if you like your set-up before doing anything permanent. I was nervous that these large frames were going to be too much for our space or too low on the wall. However, I wanted this wall to be a statement and really showcase our family. Once I saw the paper on the wall, I knew it would do just that.
Related Reading: Looking for more weekend DIY Projects? Check out our post on 50 Home DIY Projects!
Art Wall Tutorial
1. Take backing off of the square frame and take the paper out. If you have your photos ready, you can add them to the frame then and get them set-up.
2. Put frames aside. Fold frame paper in half, assuming that your hang mechanism is in the middle (you would think they all would be).
3. Open the paper back up. Measure how far down the hanging hook is on the back of the frame. On the Ribba frame, it was 4” down from the top. Therefore, I marked 4” down on the fold. (You will need to repeat this for all frames now or as you need them).
4. Find the center of your wall. Put your first paper square up at desired height. I “eyeballed” to make sure it was level, but you could use an actually torpedo level to check. I could not do this because our ceiling is two different heights, but you could also measure down in 2 stops the distance. Then line up the paper.
5. Use painter’s tape to put the paper square up.
6. Take apart the corner square pieces. These were the perfect 1.5” width to use as my separators to make sure the distance was equal between all frames. However, if you do not want that distance, you could always cut cardboard, tagboard or paper to your desired width to use.
7. Tape two separators next to the bottom of the paper square.
8. Line up the next frame’s paper square (it should already be folded and marked).
9. Use painter’s tape to put that square paper on.
10. Keep adding 2 cardboard separators around paper squares before adding another paper up.
11. Repeat these steps until your picture wall gallery looks how you want it.
12. When you are completely sure, using finishing hanging nails. You simply can hammer right on the spot you are already marked on the paper.
13. Once the nail is in, carefully pull paper and cardboard separators off the wall. Make sure to have the nail slightly pointing upward.
14. Hang finished frames. You can adjust to make sure they are level.
Read more about our ideas: 4 Other Art Display Ideas
Tips on adding photography to the square frames
-These frames had a clear film stuck on both sides of the plexiglass. Before, carefully peeling off make sure that your frame is dust-free.
-Also, try only to touch the corners. You really don’t want your fingerprints showing.
-When assembling the frames, I placed them on a soft, dust-free comforter on our bed. This help keep everything in one place. One time I tried to do frames on the carpet and instantly regretted it…can anyone say carpet fuzz…
–Check that the image is the right way before closing the frame and that it looks clean to you. The worst is when you think you are all set and flip over only to find that you put everything upside down. Or a huge piece of lint stuck in there. Trust me, just check it right before closing your frame.
Other wall gallery tips and tricks
Make sure to step back from your picture gallery to look at it.
Check that things look mostly in line with each other. Remember that sometimes, walls, ceilings and floors are not completely even. Therefore, you may have to adjust things slightly to make appealing to the eye.
Have some help you tell you if a frame corner is too high or low when hanging. It is hard to always see everything up close.
Have fun when creating gallery walls. You can even chalk paint frames or have all different sizes like in our home office.
Related DIY Home Ideas
If you love art on walls, then you may love these two posts about wall painting ideas that can help transform your home!
Photo printing tips
No matter where you get your photos printed, I recommend getting the photos printed on matte paper instead of glossy. I just think that the photos appear richer on that paper.
Also, make sure that edit your photographs before uploading. I have never really found the edit options within these printing services to be worth it. Here is a link to the photoshop settings I added to my black and white photos to try to make sure that our large photos turned out clear and not blurry.
A lot of our pictures were even done with our phones. You can youtube about any edit settings you may use to try to make sure that you have high enough resolution in your photos. Using natural light outside will also tend to help with the precise nature and focus in your images.
Places to consider when printing photos
Shutterfly: Will run promo codes all the time that you can get prints of any sizes.
Walgreens: We printed our prints from here this time. We need 12″ x 12″ designer prints (it is what they call them at that size).
CVS: They also offer a variety of print options and you should be able to find coupons to get some percent off.
Amazon Print: I have yet to try their printing service, but have read that they are rated pretty high.
Please note: I purposely tried to make the black and white photographs appear fuzzy in this image to protect our privacy. I was very happy with how our prints came and how clear our black and white photo wall is. I am so happy that I finally paid for matching frames to create this uniformed look in our foyer.
Here is a free printable with abbreviated how-to steps discussed above!
- Take the backing off of the square frame.
- Put frame aside.
- Fold frame paper in half.
- Open the paper back up and measure 4 inches down from the top.
- Find the center of your wall and mark it with a pencil.
- Use painter's tape and a level (if you want) to tape the first frame paper on the wall.
- Take corner piece of the frame apart and use it as even separator.
- Tape two separators next to the bottom paper square.
- Line up the next paper from the frame next to the separators.
- Tape the paper square with painter's tape.
- Repeat until all paper from the frames is up in the design you want.
- Right through the paper, hammer a hanging nail on the marked spot.
- Remove paper.
- Add photos in the frame and hang on the nails.
- Now you have the perfect grid picture gallery wall with square frames.
See full in-depth details in the whole post with images and frame recommendations.
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