How To Hang A Gallery Wall (Like The Crazy Perfectionist You Are)

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Gallery walls are an awesome way to not only fill up a blank wall but display an eclectic array of art and personal photographs. However, I am constantly hearing from clients that they've always wanted a gallery wall, but were way too intimidated to do it. I am here to say that after seriously butchering a few of these, I have now figured out my tried and true method of planning and hanging these bad boys! My method does involve a computer, as well as Powerpoint (no, we won't be animating or soundtracking your artwork like in 7th grade Computer Science class). You'll also need measuring tape, scissors, butcher paper (newspaper or wrapping paper could work too), scotch tape, hammer and nails. 

Ok first things first- decide what kind of gallery wall you want. There is (literally) an endless supply of inspiration on a little known website called Pinterest if you're feeling like you need to get the creative juices flowing. Mismatched frames can look awesome, as can incorporating found pieces such as macrame hangings, vintage signs, taxidermy mounts, you name it. My boyfriend is an avid photographer and had a bunch of black and white prints he wanted framed, so I decided it would be cool to do a monochromatic wall and introduce artwork alongside the photography to break things up. 

Next, take photos of existing artwork and pull images of any pieces you're considering purchasing from online onto your desktop. 

 

Theres an awesome program called Icovia that basically gives you all you'd ever really need from AutoCAD (without having to learn the damn program and paying for the license). A lot of home furnishing companies have their own version of this - I use Urbanbarn's.

Measure the wall that you'll be installing your gallery wall on - Icovia will prompt you to create a new project- choose the "square" template and insert your length and width dimensions. 

The program itself is made for doing floorplans - so looking at a room from a birds eye view. But we're going to use it to do an elevation drawing (ie., standing in front of the wall). On the left side of the screen you'll see Icovia gives you a bunch of Generic symbols to choose from - pick something that is close to a rectangle. 

First, I want to draw my media console so that I can have a point of reference to start my gallery wall- I choose one of the square symbols and drag it to my plan. The console is 70 inches long and 17 inches high - since we're doing an elevation drawing, not a floorplan, I put the 70 in value in the "length" field and the 17 in value in the "depth field". Disregard the height field. 

Then, I start creating my artwork. My first piece is 26"x26"

I continue doing this until all my artwork is accounted for. You don't need to worry about the configuration yet- just make sure it's spaced out and nothing is overlapping. 

Then, I take a screenshot of the floorplan and I pull that screenshot into a blank Powerpoint slide. You can resize the screenshot a bit to fit the slide, but make sure to hold down the shift key when doing so to maintain the image ratio. 

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Next, start bringing in images of your artwork. I'll either pull them from the website I purchased them from, or just take a quick snap on my phone. Lay the images of the art directly over it square you made for it in Icovia - again, you can resize the artwork, but make sure to hold down the shift key so that it keeps its image ratio. 

Once you've added all of your pieces, select the screenshot of your Icovia elevation drawing and delete it. Now all of your artwork is on the page and to scale!  

Move your art pieces around until you find a configuration you're happy with. 

Ok, here comes the fun/labor intensive part- hanging! 

Lay all of your pieces on a sheet of butcher paper (you could also use wrapping paper or newspaper). Trace each piece with a pen or pencil. 

Measure the distance from the top of each frame to the point where the hanging wire stretches. 

Mark this spot on the outline you drew on the butcher paper, so you know where to put your nail. 

Next, cut out all of the pieces you outlined and tape them up on your wall according to your powerpoint layout - you may need to shift them a bit but this will give you a basic idea of what your gallery wall will look like hung. 

Hammer your nails on each of the X's you made on the cutouts. I always hang pieces by piece as you may need to make slight adjustments. Once you've hammered in the nail, pull the butcher paper off and hang your piece!  

Keep hanging piece by piece to make sure you're happy with the spacing. 

And there you have it- gallery wall completed! 

Counterclockwise from right: Linda Colleta, Blackjack, available at One Kings Lane //  Wake II via Minted// Palm Trees In the Wind via Minted   // Calculation via Minted // Solarium Shell via Etsy // Ala Moana Bowls - Photograph taken by Daniel Kadvany // Craig Anderson Air via Aika Collective (sadly no longer in existence) // The Boys - Photograph taken by Daniel Kadvany