Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Photo Gallery Wall

I've known for a long time that I wanted to incorporate a photo gallery wall into our home. The problem was that I had no logical space for it. I had thought about the hallway but it's already narrow and I thought it would make it feel cluttered. However, once the basement got painted I had a space for it.

I started the project by sorting through some pictures and selecting some of my favorites. After I narrowed it down I began searching for frames. I bought a mixture of black frames with white mats from various locations (TJ Maxx, Homegoods, Target, and Walmart). Once the pictures all had frames I had to decide how to arrange them. This proved to be a more difficult task then I had originally anticipated. There was an endless amount of options. Below is one of the options that I had considered.

I knew I wanted an asymmetrical look but it still needed to be organized. I've done my reading and apparently, the way to achieve this thrown-together-organized  look has to do with using an axis. You can do your own google search online if you're looking for help on that. It's more than I care to get into and also gives a ton of options. In the end, I decided I needed to stretch my photos out across the wall a little further. Also, I decided that I needed the pictures high enough that little hands couldn't reach them. I played with the pictures on the floor for a while until I came up with the following.

I guess I should also mention that I was texting with Patrick throughout this process trying to get an opinion. He didn't really have one for a while so I went ahead and made a decision without him. Of course, then his text message came through.

"Don't know which one you like better with the axis (or what that means!). I think if you want them asymmetrical, in part so they're easier to line up, then the three rows makes more sense. The two rows might be tough to keep that straight line in the center. But whichever you prefer is great with me. I like them and love you and appreciate your work to make our home beautiful!"

Did I marry a sweet man or what? Well, I simply followed his text with a picture.

That, my friends, is my axis. Oh, and please ignore the water mark on the ceiling tile. That came when we had to reroute the water line for the fridge upstairs. We might get around to replacing them one day.

There was a method to the madness for choosing where that line would be as well as getting that line straight and level. First, I chose the biggest frame that I had that would be going on the upper row and made sure that the top of it wouldn't sit higher than the top of the door frame. That picture just so happened to be the vertical bridal portrait from our wedding. I held it up against the wall and then made a slight pencil mark at the base of the frame. I then used that pencil mark to determine where my axis line should go. I grabbed the level and leveled off a line across the wall using more pencil marks. Then I formed my axis line with painters tape. Oh, the vertical piece of tape is marking the midpoint of the wall, not the midpoint of the tape.

If you are still following, congratulations. Next, it was time to trace my picture frames and prepare to space them out. It went something like this.

I traced each frame and this allowed me to play with them on the wall before making any nail holes. Once I was satisfied with the spacing, I began the process of nailing. This took me holding up each picture and measuring where the nail needed to be for each particular frame. It took some time.

It was kind of fun to pull that blue tissue paper down and know that all I had to do was hang pictures on nails. Piece of cake.


That would be the first picture that I decided to hang. The FIRST one! Yep. Curse words.

Well, then I recalled the wise words of Dori from Finding Nemo. "Just keep swimming." So that's what I did. The show must go on and I would just have to find a replacement later. Needless to say, I was extremely careful following that first failure. I was making dang sure that each frame was secured perfectly on it's hook before my hands set it free. The result?

Which one of these is not like the other? I was pleased that I could see more of the vision, but extremely irritated at myself for being clumsy. I decided to leave it like that for  a while. This morning, I set out with Owen in search for a replacement frame.

I started at Homegoods since that is where the broken frame came from. Well, not only did they not have that black frame (they did have it in white), but they didn't have any black frames. I left there and went to TJ Maxx. I was in there last Friday, as in less than a week ago, and they had lots of black frames. Surely I could find one big enough. Wrong again. Did they have a run on black picture frames or something? I left there and packed Owen back into his car seat. This felt like deja vu. I thought about driving to Target but I've been there recently and was pretty certain that they didn't have much in stock. It was then that I decided I would swing by Kohls. Well, to make a long story shorter, I'll let you know that success comes at a price sometimes. That last frame was definitely the most expensive. As in, double but mostly triple the price of the others.

But it is finished. And I like it a lot.


  1. Look good! You should check out Hobby Lobby anytime you need frames. Majority of the frames in our house come from there, and every few weeks they always go on sale (usually 40-50% off!). I hardly ever pay full price there unless it's just something I gotta have right then. :)

  2. Thanks Amy! I've never considered Hobby Lobby. Good to know. I know that I was definitely desperate that day to find something! I was frustrated and just wanted to finish.