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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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
(Some affiliate links are provided below. Full disclosure here.)
- 9 – 8″ x 10″ black and white photos
- Photo printer paper
- 16″ x 20″ Photo frames that hold 8″ x 10″ photos. These are sold in sets of two.
- Measuring tape
- DIY picture hanging tool
- Small basic torpedo style bubble level
- Painter’s tape
- Small brads or nails
- Poster Putty or Restickable Dots
Time needed: 1 day
How to easily measure and hang a grid style gallery wall
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Hang the Rest of the Frames
Follow steps 4 + 5 to hang the rest of the frames on the wall.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.