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Be sure to check out the Gallery Wall post #2 for further information!

First things first. A few weeks ago, B and I discovered this truly massive spider in a truly massive net strung across our rose bushes. Eek! B had to hose it down with bug killer for a solid few minutes to kill it. He estimated it was about 4-5 inches from tip to tip.

Yikes! Even seeing the photo creeps me out. Moving on…

So today we decided to complete a project we’ve been prepping for since we moved in (May 2011). We have a very long wall at the end of our living room, and we needed to do something with it. This image was taken before we moved in and repainted.

As you can see, it’s very long. Right now our dining table sits in front of it, and then the couch. We were immediately struck by this image on Pinterest:

Via Pinterest

We really liked that all the frames are centered around a horizontal axis, and that the bottom row is a reverse of the top (more on that later). The trick was planning and gathering the frames. So here’s what we did.

First we started gathering frames. We ended up getting all our frames from Target, not on purpose, but that’s how it went down. We decided early on that rather than have all of the same frames (as in the original picture), we would just make all of the frames match for each size. So in other words, we got all the same 4x6s, the same 8x10s, etc. This helped. It meant that rather than finding 20 frames that were all exactly the same, we could break the buying into segments. Here’s our frame breakdown:

  • 16 x 20: 4
  • 8 x 10: 4
  • 5 x 7: 4
  • 4 x 6: 8

We waited until Target had frames on sale, and sometimes had to go to multiple locations to make sure we got 4 or 8 of the same design. And then we just did the same thing again for a total of four different shopping trips on various weekends over the last four months. As you’ll see, it became impossible to make sure we got all white like we wanted, so we finally decided we’d get some in black and just spray paint them white to match.

The Step by Steps

1. First I drew out the design from the Pinterest photo on notebook paper. I had to figure out what sizes we needed to buy. Since the original article (via Martha Stewart) doesn’t actually give you frame sizes (helpful, Martha), I had to eyeball this myself and guess to come up with the list above. Here is my design.

I should point out that our sizes are for the frames–not the images inside the frames. A lot of our Target frames made a distinction and would say something like, “Image size: xx, Frame size: xx” so keep that in mind. Doesn’t make sense? Skip down to the very last image and you will see that our 16 x 20s actually are matted, so the image size is not 16 x 20, the frame size is. (It doesn’t actually matter if you make sure that you buy the same frame for each size as mentioned before, since the spacing will work out evenly no matter what if the frames are the same.)

2. Next, we arranged the top row of frames upside down on the floor. Make sure that all the hangers are at the top and straight.

I put the measuring tape out, aligned it with one end, and used it to arrange each frame exactly 1.5 inches apart.

3. Next, I took a long piece of wax paper and laid it on top of the frames. I aligned it with the top of the frames and weighted it down. Then I used a Sharpie and marked the very end of either side (the far right and the far left of both sides) for reference. Then I went through and marked a dot where each hook was for each frame.

Now, my wax paper wasn’t long enough for the bottom most row of hooks, so I had to then add another sheet of wax paper, carefully tape it to the first sheet, and mark the remaining hooks.

4. Then it was time to start hanging. It took B and I both to carry the wax paper gently downstairs (yeah…we started upstairs for a project that had to be done downstairs. You think about these things in hindsight). Here is our very long piece of wax paper lying over the couch. The two dots toward the very bottom are where I marked the end of the last frame on the left. The other dot you see is the first nail mark.

5. We then measured the wall to find the perfect center. We marked this with painters tape.Then we marked the center of our wax paper (using the two points on either side that your marked for the ends!). We then aligned our center on the wax paper with the center on the wall. Now we knew our wax paper was centered, and all we had to do was stand on either end and hold it up until we decided how high we wanted our center 2 inch line to be. Then we hung the wax paper on the wall using painters tape and a leveler to make sure the paper was taped up nice and straight.

6. Next we nailed into the wall at each spot we marked for the frame’s hooks. Since we wanted to conserve our wax paper, we didn’t nail all the way through, but just enough to mark the spot. Then we removed the wax paper and returned the nails to their holes and finished nailing them all the way through. If you aren’t worried about your wax paper and have plenty to spare, you could just nail right through it and rip your paper off.

7. Next we hung the pictures! No, Scout did not help this time. She was exhausted from her (first) trip to the creek earlier that morning. She snored through the entire process.

Don’t you love all the toys she has around her bed? Yes, that is Cat in the Hat!

8. We then had to do the entire process, including laying the frames out on the floor and marking the hook spots with the Sharpie on the wax paper, for the bottom row. What you’ll notice in the original pic is that the two rows are actually not perfectly identical on the top and the bottom. The bottom row on the right is slightly different.

Via Pinterest

I didn’t want this, I wanted both rows to be mirror images of one another, so we adjusted our design accordingly.

FYI: You can’t just flip your wax paper and hang it upside down back on the wall. That’s because the bottom row isn’t vertically aligned the same way as the top; it’s aligned to the center, and this means that the measurements don’t work exactly the same way. Trust me, we made the mistake so you don’t have to. Re-measure again and don’t poke extra holes in your wall that you don’t need to.

9. When we hung our wax paper again for the bottom row, we first put a piece of painters tape directly below our first row of frames. Regular painters tape is exactly 2 inches wide, so we used this as an easy marker for how far below the first row of frames to hang the second. We just aligned our wax paper with the painters tape, and knew it was level and even all the way across.

10. And we ended up with this:

Keep in mind we don’t have art in all of these, and I haven’t decided yet whether to do all black and white images or throw in some color, but the beauty of it is that we can change it out as often as we want. If we’d spent hundreds on a canvas or something for this spot, we would be stuck with the art forever or until our tastes changed and we had the mullah to replace it. This will encourage us to hang pics of our family and and quotes we enjoy, and be an ever-changing exhibit of our lives.

Oh yeah, and we still need to spray paint those frames. 🙂 B and I figure that by taking the time to use the wax paper-hanging technique we saved ourselves a TON of inevitable re-measuring. In fact, out of a total of 20 frames, we only had a single nail that needed to be adjusted. Hope the tutorial is helpful!