Sunday, May 13, 2012

To Honor Mom

My mom has taught me so many things through our years together. One is a love of my home and decorating. She has a lot more style and finesse than I ever will, but I aspire to be like her in many ways. She has always been one to do her own thing and not really follow the crowd. It usually ends up that she is a little ahead of the trend. One trend she beat by at least 30 years is the gallery wall. She has been grouping pictures for years, so when I started to see so many "gallery walls" on Pinterest I had to chuckle. Hers come together so effortlessly it seems. She just sort of throws a bunch of stuff together and it looks great. I still haven't become that confident, but  I did tackle expanding our gallery wall in the living room. I've had a gallery wall of sorts since I had my first house in Minnesota six years ago. Most of the pictures have changed since then but I hadn't added much. This past week I painted our living room (more to come on that), and decided I was ready to mix our wall up a little.


First, I put down a large roll of package paper in the extra bedroom floor. Then, I gathered all the items I wanted to use on the wall and started to lay them out on the paper. I had decided to continue using all black frames but add a few other items besides black and white pictures. I knew I wanted the outline to be a large box, and I knew I didn't want  the middle to be all straight lines. At first I had a center design and spread the rest around it. I decided I didn't really like how "perfect" that was making it look like it needed to be, so I changed it up a little more. Once I liked what I saw, I drew around each picture frame with a Sharpie. Then I measured for the center and marked that on the paper. Finally, I took a picture of the finished layout so that I could refer back to it when I was actually hanging the prints.

Once I had cleared all the frames away, I measured the wall where the gallery would hang to find the center. I lined up the center of my paper with the center of the wall and hung the paper with painters tape. Next came the tedious part that my mother has taught me well. Measuring, measuring again, measuring another way, and kind of eyeballing it to finish up. Actually, Mom can do a lot more eyeballing than I can. I measured from the top of each frame to the hanger, and then transferred that measurement to the drawings. With the paper hanging on the wall, and the measurements I had made, I nailed every nail into place. Then I tore down the paper and started hanging. I'll admit, they weren't all perfect. I had to rehang two, but out of eighteen I don't think that's too bad. The whole process took a couple of hours, toddler free hours thanks to a Mother's Day treat from the hubs.

The finished product! Sorry, it's not the best picture.

I like the look of all black frames, and thanks to six years of collecting and IKEA our gallery wall has grown. Most of the frames came from IKEA, Walmart, or Target, and I paid very little for any of them. That said, next I think I'll try a smaller grouping of a mix of frames. I'm liking that look too.

A few things I've learned:

  • Draw around the frames carefully and accurately. You can probably tell from the photo that I didn't do this for every frame but it would have been better.
  • Measure the distance from the top of the frame to the hanger for every frame. Even two identical frames may not have the same spacing. 
  • Use two nails or a picture hanger so the pictures will stay straighter once your done. 

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