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If you’re anything like me, chances are there’s a task at home that you’ve been putting off doing for months, or even years. For me, that task comes in the form of an old Rifle Paper Co. calendar that I’ve been meaning to take apart and hang the illustrations.
The end goal has always been to use the illustrations and set up a Pinterest-worthy gallery wall above my television, but alas, procrastination and a general feeling of not knowing where to start has held me back. Now that I’m essentially at home 24/7, I really have no excuse for not getting things done.
In order to give me the motivational push I’ve been looking for, I reached out to Leigh-Ann Allaire, a TV personality and DIY expert, for her tips on getting started.
“I’ve done my fair share of gallery walls, so I wouldn’t say I’ve perfected it but I have it down to a pretty good science in terms of effectiveness and how to do it quickly,” she says with a laugh.
If you’re ready to tackle your own gallery wall, read on for everything you need to create the interior space that you’ve been dreaming of.
What you’ll need
Step 1: Trace
The last thing you want to do when hanging a gallery is to start hammering away, only to find that you’re unhappy with the placement of your frames. Instead, Allaire suggests starting with a paper guideline before even touching your walls.
“Especially for odd-shaped items, if you have a round mirror or you might have a memorabilia piece [like] a hockey stick as part of your wall collage - trace every single item,” she says.
To begin, simply trace out all the elements that you plan on hanging up on your walls - old newspaper, craft paper, even wrapping paper will do.
Step 2: Cut and label
Once you’ve traced your objects and frames that will eventually be hanging, you’ll want to cut out the paper versions. Before moving anything around though, Allaire stresses that you’ll want to make sure that you’re able to match the paper templates with the actual items when it comes time to hang them.
“Make your life really easy by taking a piece of painter’s tape and number [each] piece of artwork, because you might have multiple pieces that are in the same size frame,” she recommends.
Step 3: Layout
Once you have your paper templates, it’s time to get creative with your layout. If you have room for it, Allaire suggests taping out the dimensions of your walls onto the floor, then playing with the spacing of your items by placing them on the ground.
Alternatively, you can attach painter’s tape to the backs of your paper and play with the layout directly on your walls.
Step 4: Add space for hooks
To save yourself trouble when it comes time to hanging up all your frames, you’ll want to make sure that you know exactly where your nails and hooks will be when they go up on the walls.
If your templates are on the floor, Allaire suggests placing them on the backs of your objects before carefully flipping each item over. Next, you’ll poke a hole over the spots where your hooks or nails will go, leaving behind the exact locations that will guide you when hanging.
If your templates are on the walls, you’ll want to take them down one at a time and repeat the same process.
Step 5: Level
Once your holes are all in place, Allaire recommends arranging your templates on the wall and quickly making sure that everything is level.
Step 6: Hammer in nails and anchors
In the final step before hanging, you’ll want to insert all screws, nails, or anchors into the wall through each template. Allaire recommends that you do the hammering all at once to avoid damaging the artwork, rather than nailing and hanging one frame at a time.
“You can hammer the nail right in, rip [the paper] off, and then go right up and hang your artwork,” she says.
Step 7: Hang
Once your first piece of artwork goes up on the wall, you’ll want to carefully repeat the process one at a time for each item in your gallery wall. Then, step back and enjoy your work!
Planning on completing your own gallery wall? Let us know what projects you’re tackling and which ones you could use some advice on in the comments below.