Tips and Tricks for a Gallery Wall

I am not a handy person. Let's get that out of the way right now. Crafty, sometimes. Handy, no. I once tried to hang artwork in my boyfriend's condo.  After trying to drill into a concrete firewall we ended up using command strips.  You want assistance laying out a design? I'm your girl.  You want help hanging it? I'll help you look up the number for a great handyman. This was a one-time project and below are some tips that came out of the experience so hopefully you don't make the same mistakes I did. 


1. Sleep On It

Lay out your art work in a big open space.  I was lucky because I had a front bedroom with no use yet so I had a huge open canvas on the floor in there to work with. Do your best to make yourself space whether its in the basement or a spare bedroom. Aim to find pieces with a common theme or color scheme. Look to add variety and texture to keep things interesting. Rearrange, sleep on it, and then rearrange some more.  Sleeping on it for months is obviously preferred if you're me. 

2. Call Your Mom

After procrastinating for months, I finally decided to buckle down and get to work.  So naturally this is the point where you should realize you cannot do this project on your own and just call your mom.  Even better? Just skip tips four and five and hire a handy man.  Follow through with tips 1-3 though just because it's a day that ends in 'y' and you and your mom probably could use a glass of wine. 


3. Gather Your Supplies

You're going to need a level, measuring tape, pencil, painters tape, ladder, screwdriver, hammer, stud finder, nails, anchors/screws/command strips/whatever other hanging mechanism you decide on and MOST IMPORTANTLY, wine.  Whether you're going to go through with this project or hire it out, pop open that bottle.  Consider waiting until your first round of disaster strikes, and pace yourself because there will likely be several rounds of #gallerywallproblems. 

Once you've gathered your materials and mustered up the courage to go through with this thing, consider starting from the outside edges in and hanging the big items first. Some people suggest cutting out templates with newspaper and taping it up to the wall but that's a little too technical for yours truly. We centered the big items in the landings and then worked our way in from there. Of course we measured first and rearranged the layout on the floor to fit but that's about as detail-oriented as we got. This is not a solo project - make sure you've got a partner in crime to hold items up so you can step back and make the slight adjustments (thanks mom). Also, don't forget to use your level at this point - especially once the wine makes an appearance.

4. Make Sure You Have Touch-up Paint

If you're like me, the thought of putting a dozen or more holes in your wall makes you want to crawl back into bed and try adulting another day. Way too much pressure. So you've carefully weighed your artwork and scoped out the weight limits of your favorite command strip products (velcro all the way).  Feel free to try the command strip short-cut but be aware that they aren't going to work for everything, especially the odd-shaped pieces. Be ready to go on a hunt to replace the pieces that break falling off the wall and then get ready to hang it right next time.  My clock took down the rams head on its way off the wall leaving the clock a fire hazard and the ram in a hundred pieces on the foyer floor. The scuffs they both left on the wall/trim/floor were no joke and the touch-up paint had to make its way from the bullpen to save the day.

5. Get These

These self drilling anchors are a life saver. Skip the command strips (except maybe for the super light and not fragile items) and go straight for these. No drill needed, just use your everyday screwdriver and twist it right in.  Use your stud-finder though because if you're lucky enough to be hanging on a stud, the only thing easier than these self-drilling anchors are the nail in picture hooks.  Both hold up to 50 pounds which is way more than anything I was putting up and these babies aren't going anywhere.  No one wants to have a sign heading up their stairwell - "falling objects - walk at your own risk", so these picture hanging hooks provide some much needed confidence that your items will be staying on the wall where they belong. 

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