Skip to Content

How To Hang A Gallery Wall

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 to hang your own gallery wall. 

*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Read our full privacy policy.

Our Empty Wall

I knew I wanted to redo our foyer. It all started when we got a new front door installed. We absolutely love the door and the light that it 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.

blank wall with toy chest and basket on floor.

Shopping For Matching 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.

Hopefully, this will save you some shopping legwork as you look for the best frames for your space.

Why Did We Chose Large Square Frames?

We knew large square frames in a matching color with black and white photos would create a unified look. If you do not want square frames, most of the frames I considered come in different sizes within the links to the retailers.

Square Wall Frames You Can Buy

7 different images of square picture frames with text square frames for gallery walls.
  1. 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

Most of the frames I had found were just too small. There was one more for me to consider and it is relatively inexpensive compared to other frames.

Ikea Ribba Large Square

  • Has more depth than other frames
  • Has plexiglass on the front which is better than glass for a young family

I do not live particularly close to an IKEA, but I was able to ship all 9 frames that I needed. 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 came very well packaged together.

(I am not even an affiliate for these frames, just telling you what I used).

Before You Begin

Plan Your Design

You can modify this 9-square grid pattern with any frames or art prints. Our tips will work for any wall design or different-sized frames.

Don’t Throw Away Packaging

  • No matter what type of picture gallery you are trying to create, you can use the paper in the frame as a guide
  • Don’t throw away the corner cardboard square protectors. These can act as spacers.
corner protectors from frames.

Most frames come with corner protectors. If not, you can easily make a spacer out of cardboard or other paper.

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. Once I saw the paper on the wall, I knew it would do just that.

corner of each paper with cardboard spacers.

Recommended Supplies

  • Ruler
  • Tape Measure
  • Hammer
  • Pencil
  • Hanging Nails, Dry Wall Anchors with Screws or Command Strips
  • Frames With Packaging
  • Optional: Small Torpedo Level

How To Hang A Square Frame Gallery Wall

Step 1: Take Frames Apart

Take apart the back of the frames and take the paper out. If you have your family photos or art pieces ready, you can add them to the frame then and get them set up. 

tape measurer on frame paper with frame flipped over.

Step 2: Mark Paper Where Nail Will Go

  • Put frames aside.
  • Fold frame paper in half, assuming that your hang mechanism is in the middle (you would think they all would be).
  • Open the paper templates 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. Mark 4” down on the fold.
  • You will need to repeat this for all frames now or as you need them.
hand marking 4" with pink ruler.

Step 3: Add A Paper Square To The Center Of The Wall

  • Use a measuring tape to find the center point of your wall.
  • Put your first piece of paper up at desired height.
  • I “eyeballed” to make sure it was level, but you could use an actual torpedo level to check. I could not do this because our ceiling is two different heights, but you could also measure down in 2 spots and mark the distance.
  • Line up the paper and tape it up on the wall.
empty wall in foyer with sketched out frames with arrow pointing to middle frame.

Step 4: Add Spacers Around Square Paper

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.

spacers from frames taped with blue painter's tape around white paper.

However, if you do not want that distance, you could always cut cardboard, tagboard or paper to your desired width to use.

two frame square papers taped on the wall with painter's tape.

Tape two separators next to the bottom of the paper square.

Step 5: Continue To Add Spacers And Square Papers

Line up the next frame’s paper square (it should already be folded and marked). Use painter’s tape to put that square paper on.

4 paper squares tape to wall.

Step 6: Work To Get 9 Squares Taped To Wall

Keep adding 2 cardboard separators around paper squares before adding another paper up.

Step 7: Look At The Plan From A Distance

Repeat these steps until your picture wall gallery looks how you want it. Step back and look at the wall. Double-check that it looks right to you and adjust anything accordingly if needed.

9 square paper frames taped on wall to make gallery wall plan.

Step 8: Hammer Hanging Nails In Marked Spots

When you are completely sure, use finishing hanging nails. You simply can hammer right on the spot you are already marked on the paper.

hand holding hammer with frame paper taped on wall.

Step 10: Carefully Remover Paper, Tape & Cardboard

Once the nail is in, carefully pull paper and cardboard separators off the wall. Make sure to have the nail slightly pointing upward.

nails on blank wall for picture frames.

Step 11: Hang Frames On Nails

Hang finished frames. You can adjust them to make sure they are level.

close up view of 6 black square frames with black and white photos.

Tips On Adding Photography To 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 helps 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 Gallery Wall Tips & Tricks

  • Make sure to step back from your picture gallery to look at it. 
  • Here are 12+ other picture gallery wall ideas that might inspire you.
  • 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 them 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. 

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.

Where To Print Large Photos

  • Shutterfly: Will run promo codes all the time so that you can get prints of any size.
  • 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 uniform look in our foyer.

9 black frames on wall above purple dresser.
This purple buffet was redone with DIY chalk paint for a fun addition to our foyer.

Read more about our ideas: DIY Creative Art Display Ideas 

How-To FAQs

How to easily hang picture frames?

Depending on the weight of your frames, you may be able to use command strips, small hanging nails or you may need to use drywall anchors.
Command strips are awesome for small pieces if you do not want extra nail holes. Just make sure you are following the weight limit guidelines.

How close together did our frames end up?

Our frames ended up being about 3/4″ apart to create the 9-square frame grid. If you want your frames farther apart we recommend making your own spacers or using a ruler to mark the distance you want.
When you use the frame paper the width of the frame is not shown with the template. If you are concerned then you will want to trace the frames on kraft paper or wrapping paper to make your templates.

Which frame should you put on first?

You should start with the middle frame in your layout or design and work outwards. This will ensure that you are keeping your wall balanced.
If you are doing different-sized photo frames and artwork, you may want to consider starting with the largest piece and filling in the entire wall from there.

Can you still buy Ikea Ribba square frames?

It appears you can get a 16″ x 20″ Ribba frame still at IKEA. However, at this time it doesn’t look like the square frames are available anymore. There are similar looks but different styles available like the Sannahed line from IKEA.

What is the correct height to hang a photo gallery?

A good rule of thumb is to start at eye level and add your pieces from there. A common mistake people make is hanging their new gallery wall too high.

Related Ceiling and Wall Posts

If you love art on walls, then you may love these two posts about wall painting ideas that can help transform your home!

Follow us on Pinterest, Youtube or Facebook for more DIY inspiration!

We absolutely love our picture gallery and are so happy that I was able to hang it in a few hours!

close up view of 6 black square frames with black and white photos.

How to Hang A Picture Gallery Wall

Learn how to hang 9 square frames in a fabulous picture gallery wall.
Print Pin Rate
Course: DIY Home Ideas
Keyword: how to hang a gallery wall, how to hang frames, picture gallery wall, square frames, wall frames
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Author: Erin
Cost: Varies

Equipment

  • Hammer
  • Painter’s Tape or Masking Tape

Instructions

  • Take the backing off of the square frame.
    tape measurer on frame paper with frame flipped over.
  • Put frame aside.
  • Fold frame paper in half.
  • Open the paper back up and measure 4 inches down from the top.
    hand marking 4" with pink ruler.
  • Find the center of your wall and mark it with a pencil.
    blank wall with toy chest and basket on floor.
  • 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.
    spacers from frames taped with blue painter's tape around white paper.
  • Line up the next paper from the frame next to the separators.
    two frame square papers taped on the wall with painter's tape.
  • Tape the paper square with painter’s tape.
  • Repeat until all paper from the frames is up in the design you want.
    9 square paper frames taped on wall to make gallery wall plan.
  • Right through the paper, hammer a hanging nail on the marked spot.
    hand holding hammer with frame paper taped on wall.
  • Remove paper.
    nails on blank wall for picture frames.
  • Add photos in the frame and hang on the nails.
    close up view of 6 black square frames with black and white photos.
  • Now you have the perfect grid picture gallery wall with square frames.

Notes

  • You may need to prep the wall before adding your picture frames. This could include removing old nails, patching holes or even a fresh coat of paint.
  • You could use this method to create any pattern or gallery wall design. Just save those frame papers to help you figure out your picture frame layout.
  • If you don’t want to use the frame paper, you could make your own templates out of butcher paper.
  • You can eyeball or use a small torpedo level to make sure frames are level.
Tried this Tutorial? Tag me Today!Mention @theDIYNuts or tag #thediynuts!
Tutorial Rating




I accept the Privacy Policy

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Aaron White

Tuesday 17th of November 2020

It's great to learn that you should keep the corner cardboard square protectors to measure a picture frame. My wife and I are preparing to move into a new home and we were wondering how we could hang up pictures on the wall easier. I'll be sure to tell her that we should keep the corner cardboard square protectors to hang pictures easier.

Erin

Wednesday 18th of November 2020

Hi Aaron. Yes, the corner protector worked as a spacer when planning out our wall gallery. You could also make a few one out of tagboard to any size of your choice. Good luck.

Jenn Summers

Monday 15th of June 2020

I love this! I want to renovate our living room some day and this would be such an amazing addition to our one blank wall ????

Erin

Tuesday 16th of June 2020

Hi Jenn. I really love how the polished this gallery wall makes our entryway work. I am glad I spent the money to buy all of the same frames.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.