How To Easily Create a Grid Gallery Wall

How to easily measure and hang a grid gallery wall of photos or art on a wall. No complicated calculations or laser level needed to create an eye catching display on any blank wall in your home.

Barnwood Vertical Paneling on an accent wall in a living room

A few weeks ago I showed you how I added vertical barnwood grey paneling to two walls in my living room. I told you that I had plans for the blank wall in the above photo and then left you guessing as to what I was going to do.

Over the weekend my decorating plans for the wall became reality.

How to hang a grid style gallery wall without the need of a laser level.

I created a large grid photo gallery wall. I wanted to add this for many reasons, but mostly as a way to display and bring my favorite photos that live only on my phone to life in the room.

How to Create a Grid Gallery Wall

How to figure out frame placement when creating a photo or art gallery wall.

For the wall, I also wanted the photo gallery to be oversized and done in black and white to create balance with the large Roman numeral clock on the adjacent wall.

Step 1: Choose Frames

Before you do anything you have to decide how many frames you want or have the space to use on your wall.

To figure out what size frames would work best for my vision, I bought two different sizes and had Ed hold them up to help me decide what size I liked better.

I liked the larger 16″ x 20″ black wood frames that came complete with wide white mats that hold 8″ x 10″ photos. I needed 9 frames – 3 rows of 3 across, also called a 9-Grid.

Nice frames with mats are not inexpensive. I did find frames that I liked that didn’t cost a crazy amount. I found them on Amazon. They come in a pack of two. Total cost around $50 – $25 for each frame that includes the mat. Many of the large wood frames with mats I was finding cost $80 a piece or more.

Step 2: Choose and Print Photos for a Gallery Wall

Once I knew the size frame I was going to use and the orientation for the photos, I searched on my phone for vertical photos and sent them wirelessly right to my new printer using the Epson iPrint app on my phone.

If you don’t have a printing app, you can send your phone photos to your email and print them from your computer using AirPrint on a Mac, Google Cloud Print or whatever way your computer and printer are configured to work. You can also send them to any photo processing store (Walmart, Walgreens, etc.) in your town and go pick them up.

Epson Eco Tank 2760 Printer on desk in my studioffice

My previous office printer died a few weeks ago, I replaced it with an Epson Eco Tank ET-2670 All-in-One Super Tank Printer.

Epson Photo printer being filled with ink.

I chose it because it is a printer that uses pourable bottles of ink that can last up to two years. Two years!!! No ink cartridges needed.

Epson Refillable ink bottles for eco tank printer to print photos for gallery wall

Using the bottles of ink have another benefit. They can save you up to 90 percent on ink costs. I use my printer a lot, so this fact alone makes me love this printer.

One set of replacement bottles is equivalent to about 80 individual cartridges, which means less waste and and fewer trips to the store. The cost of replacement ink bottles runs about $30.

Printing glossy black and white photos on my new Epson Eco Tank 2760 printer

In the Epson app, I could choose the size and color of the prints and if I wanted borders or borderless prints.

I used glossy 8.5″ x 11″ Epson Premium Photo Paper to print my photos in black and white.

I attached them to the back of the frame mats using painter’s tape.

Step 3: How to Hang Framed Photos in a Grid on the Wall Evenly

The tricky part about hanging a grid style gallery wall is getting the frames level and evenly spaced.

I am not very good at doing anything that involves too many calculations. I look for simple and easy and always use a picture hanging trick when hanging anything on my walls.

Making one of these DIY picture hanging tools will make it easy to hang a level gallery wall.

My grid gallery wall hanging trick does not require the use of a laser level, but does require you to make a DIY picture hanging tool with a paint stick and a nail or screw. You can find the directions to make one using this link:

How to Make and Use a DIY Picture Hanging Tool

tools needed to hang a photo gallery on a wall

I used a small nail to hang each frame. The back top lip of the frame hooks right over the nail, but you can use sawtooth hangers or Command Brand Strips. I would not use picture hanging wire. This would make it too hard to equally space and level each frame.

How Much Space Should Be Between the Frames on a Gallery Wall?

When hanging photos or artwork in a grid style on a wall, 1 – 3 inches apart keeps the photos cohesive in a grouping. This makes them appear as one large element.

9 Grid Photo Wall Gallery Tutorial

supplies needed:

(Some affiliate links are provided below. Full disclosure here.)

Time needed: 1 day.

How to easily measure and hang a grid style gallery wall

  1. Mark Top Center of Frames

    Before doing anything on the wall, first find and mark the center top point on each frame. Use a piece of painter’s tape and a pencil to mark this on each frame. Set aside.

    Measuring the frames to fit evenly for a grid style gallery wall.

  2. Find Center Point on Wall

    After you determine how many frames you want in your gallery, this is the most important step to hang all your frames evenly spaced and centered on the wall.

    Find and mark the center point on the wall. Mark this point with a piece of tape and pencil mark on the tape showing the exact center. This is where the center of the center frame in the gallery will go.

    Next, measure the height of your frame and then subtract half.

    Add the amount of this halved measurement above the center mark on wall. This is where your first nail will go into the wall. Hammer in a nail and place center frame on nail lining up the center mark on the frame with the nail.

    Hanging frames in a grid style on a paneled wall.

  3. Check for Level

    Using a small level that has a bubble viewer on the narrow side will allow you to place the level on the top of the frame to make sure it is level.

    Note: Double-check to make sure this center frame is centered where you want it on the wall and it is level as it will determine where all the other frames around it will go.
    How to level photo frames in a grid pattern on a wall.

  4. Use DIY Picture Hanging Tool

    Using a measuring tape and a DIY picture hanging tool, add the next frame, 1-1/4″ apart from the center frame.

    Note: If you don’t know how to use the DIY Picture Hanging Tool, you can find out how to use it in this post: How to Make and Use a DIY Picture Hanging Tool

    Basic tools to use to hang a gallery wall evenly and level

  5. Attach Picture Hanging Tool to Frame

    Attach the picture hanging tool under the lip of the frame and in line with the center tape and mark on the frame. Then line up the frame 1 -1/4″ away with the frame next to it and or above or below it.

    Once you found the right alignment, press the top of the frame into the wall so that the nail on the picture hanging tool marks a hole in the wall. Remove the tool from the frame and hammer a nail into the hole that was made by the picture hanging tool.

    Note: When hanging the bottom frame under the center frame you may have to remove the center frame first so you can use the picture hanging tool without hitting the center frame. Use painter’s tape and place a mark on it where the bottom edge of the center frame ends, then hang the frame below it. Re hang the center frame. Hang the other two bottom frames and then work your way up the wall with no need to remove any of the frames from this point on.
    Framed artwork hanging tool that makes hanging art or framed photos level on a wall.

  6. Hang the Rest of the Frames

    Follow steps 4 + 5 to hang the rest of the frames on the wall.

    Living room wall with a 9 grid black and white photo gallery wall.

  7. My Secret Hanging TIP: Use Poster Putty or ReStickable Dots

    When hanging this many frames to look perfectly spaced, you are bound to have one or two that want to hang slightly off line. To easily fix this, simply add a piece of poster putty or a restickable dot under one or two corners of a frame and then press into the wall to hold the frame in place.

    My Secret trick to perfectly hang a grid style gallery wall.

  8. Check Perimeter

    After I had all the frames hung, I went around the perimeter of the gallery of frames with a bubble level to ensure that the outer sides of the gallery were straight.Living room wall with a 9 grid black and white photo gallery wall.

I could not be happier with how the wall looks now. My house is not large and the living room is small so I have to be picky when adding decor as I don’t want the space to look cluttered.

The added white from the frame mats and all those smiling faces of the people I love makes this one of my favorite decorating projects.

How to hang a level gallery wall

For anyone that doesn’t like the white outlet and switch plate covers…. I will be changing them out to barnwood. I just haven’t found covers I like yet. I think I will have to buy an unfinished wood style and stain them to match the paneling. Will be checking this off my to-do list soon.

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Easy measuring to hang a grid style gallery wall without the need of a laser level.

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20 Comments

  1. This is the ONLY post I have found and read that has this much detail in the step by step process. Thank you. We have an 11 foot wall and I have been trying to figure out for the longest how to perfectly hang the frames because measurements are not my friend. I’m going to save this in my Pinterest for later reference.

  2. I love your gallery wall and the instructions too! What I love most about it is that there is something for people of all heights to see — I think children will really appreciate that!

  3. Nice! Diane, can’t you cut out a piece of your paneling to use as a plate cover? You’d have to stain or paint the edges of course, but it might be really cool!

  4. I love a good gallery wall. Mine goes up my stairs and is the only place I have family pics. As for the wall plate, I did a mat black one with matching flat rectangular switch on my wood wall. That way, it disappears and doesn’t look like it’s trying to be too matchy-matchy. Just my humble opinion.

  5. I like it! I usually just wing it when I hang things, but I would def need a method to attempt this size gallery. And I didn’t even notice the switch since the gallery is so pretty!

  6. I really love what you did. Not only with the barnwood paneling, but the pictures. You should be surrounded by things you love…and your family pictures are just that. Kudos to you and your hubby! ;)

  7. I’ve always just eyeballed… and I’ve hung a lot of pictures in my time, lol! My living room has a gallery wall about 3.5 ft tall and 11-12 ft wide. When I have to move and rehang it, I’ll try out this trick, rather than just eyeballing and correcting with putty. ;) I won’t lie, though, the refillable ink bottles were what really caught my attention! I guess when I need a new printer, I know what to save up for.

  8. I’ve followed you for years and am constantly amazed at your creativity and evolution. However, I’ve thought about this all day and decided to comment. I LOVED the first picture of blank paneled wall so when I scrolled down and saw the gallery wall, I admit I was dismayed. I thought, maybe just four pictures would have been better, but no, in my mind the negative space is so important in waterfront property. I understand the need to have the absent family member’s pictures around you. I’m a mother of three and grandmother to three AND great grandmother to almost three(due in April) . You rarely do anything I’m not 100% on board with( I’m not a fan of kitchen island!) but sometimes need to share my opinions. At my age most people don’t listen!?

  9. That looks amazing! I love both the black and white photos, and the size you chose. It really finishes off that area.

  10. Looks great! I think black switchplates would look good too — less work for you, and they’d kind of disappear.

  11. The barn wood and gallery wall look great! I’m going to try the picture hanging tool. I used the lip of a frame to hang a picture in the past, and, over time the top of the frame bowed upward. I wonder if it would be good to add extra support by adding an additional tack for each frame, so that the weight would not all be on one nail. Your home is lovely, and I always enjoy your blog and style!

  12. Love your gallery wall Diane and your precise instructions. I will be referring to this post for all the great tips.

  13. Awesome…..Love it! You’re so creative and Ed is so helpful and productive. Happy Wife, Happy Life.

  14. Great job Dianne. Love your personalized hammer. The white outlet seems to play nicely with the pictures and the other white decor spread throughout the space IMO. Maybe some Retique it (That liquid wood paint) would work. Thanks for answering my question about your outside edge cuts on the paneling as well.

    1. I just love your ideas Dianne! I’ve been watching and following you for many years now, and I still love your style! I definitely will save this post to do my own. Thanks so much for your tips!