Wednesday, 14 March 2012

{ let’s create } a gallery wall for the pinterest challenge

I’m so excited that I finally have a project that I can link to the latest installment of The Pinterest Challenge! The gallery wall that I revealed on Monday was inspired by not one, not two, but FIVE of my Pinterest pins. If that doesn’t qualify for the Pinterest Challenge, I don’t know what does! ;-) So I thought I’d combine my tutorial with this fun challenge and show you how to create a gallery wall, and how mine was inspired by images I pinned to Pinterest.swoosh

pinterest board 3 with numbers

1. Picture layout from Living La Vie
2. Picture layout from Martha Stewart
3. Layout template from ROOST Marissa Waddell Interiors
4. Homemade picture hanging tool from The Scrap Shoppe
5. Chelsea Gray wall colour from Restyling Home by Kelly


Before you start laying out your gallery wall, you need to choose your art. My wall is a collection of ocean-inspired photos, prints, shadowboxes, tile art, and a canvas. Using art that’s meaningful to you makes your gallery wall extra-special, so incorporate as many personal pieces as you can.

If you want all your frames to be the same, a great choice is the Ribba series from Ikea. They’re inexpensive, include the brackets and wire for hanging, and come in both regular frames and shadowbox frames. Combining the two depths of frames adds some dimension to your wall.


1. & 2.  { Picture layout }
Inspired by
Living La Vie and Martha Stewart

inspire 1 inspire 2

Now that you’ve chosen your art, you need to decide on a layout. There are all sorts of gallery walls – symmetrical, asymmetrical, structured, random… check out my Gallery Wall board on Pinterest for some ideas. I combined elements from two of my favourite gallery walls to create my layout. I like the shape of the layout on the left (it reminds me of a wave), and I like the straight line between the two rows of pictures in the layout on the right.

Find a big empty space on the ugly pink carpet in your uber-messy basement and lay your artwork out on the floor. Move things around until you have a layout that makes you say “Woot! YES!”. Take a picture to refer back to – this is REALLY handy! Combining elements from the two inspiration layouts, I came up with this layout {still hadn’t decided on a picture for the big frame in the bottom row at this point}:

LOGO layout 2OMG, the mess in my basement is horrible! Oh well, nobody ever said the creative process was pretty ;-)

3.  { Layout template }
Inspired by
ROOST Marissa Waddell Interiors


Once you have a layout that you like, it’s time to make your layout template. Instead of wax paper, I used brown kraft paper from the Dollar Store. Decide how much space you want between your pictures – I chose 1-1/2”. Lay out your pictures on the kraft paper in the same order you had them on the floor. Use a ruler or measuring tape to measure the distance between each piece of art. My gallery wall has three rows, so I laid out my artwork one row at a time. If you’re creating a straight line, line the frames up right against the edge of the paper to make your life a bit easier :-) Then trace around each frame – easy-peasy!

LOGO lining up frames on paper

Tape your template onto your wall. Use painters tape so it’s easy to un-tape and move around. Some measuring and leveling are required here to ensure that your template is positioned correctly.

LOGO gallery paper layout

Now the fun starts! ;-)

4.  { Homemade hanging tool }
Inspired by The Scrap Shoppe

hanging tool

Once you’ve attached the wire or other hanging mechanism to the back of each frame, it’s time to figure out where each nail or screw goes for each picture. A hanging tool makes this job a lot easier. Using the inspiration clothespin hanger as a guide, I made my hanging tool by hammering a small nail though one end of a stick of wood. I actually made two – one for smaller frames and one for bigger frames. You want both the head and the tip of the nail to protrude out from either side of the stick.

LOGO hangers

Hang a picture on the head of the nail on your hanging tool, and then hold the picture up against the correct position on the template.

LOGO line up frame with pencil line

When you have the picture lined up, push the top of picture against the wall. The tip of the nail will poke a small hole through the paper and into the wall. This is where the nail, screw, or hanger will go. {Hangers like the one in the picture below need to be positioned so that the bottom of the hanger is lined up with the small hole}

LOGO hammer nail into paper 2Can you believe all the frames are actually lined up properly with the edges of the paper!? I mean, see how easy it is to line up your frames perfectly when you use a template and a homemade hanging tool? :-)

Repeat for every picture. It takes some time and patience, but you can do it! I hung my pictures as I went along because I’m impatient and wanted instant gratification…

LOGO in progress

…so I had to take them down before the next step. Pull the paper off of the wall, and your nails & screws are all exactly where they need to be without any pencil marks on the wall.

LOGO screws paper removed

Now hang your pictures! I recommend starting at the bottom and working your way up the wall. Check your pictures with a level to make sure they’re straight.

LOGO level

And voila, gallery wall!

LOGO done 2a

But because I like to make my life difficult, I decided to paint the wall a darker colour so the white frames would really stand out. Or maybe I did it because I just really like painting ;-)

5. Chelsea Gray wall colour
Inspired by Restyling Home by Kelly

After agonizing over the right shade of gray, I finally decided on Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray in the ulti-matte finish after I saw this bedroom painted Chelsea Gray.

inapiration colour[11]

It hurt to pay $60 for a gallon of paint – when did BM paint prices get up into the Farrow & Ball range? But a quart wouldn’t have been enough. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. And yes, I just painted right over the screws and nails {I taped over them first}.

chelsea gray logo

And NOW the gallery wall is officially finished!

LOGO gallery done 1

LOGO gallery done 2

Thanks to everyone who inspired my gallery wall project. And thanks to the hosts of The Pinterest Challenge:

Be sure to stop by their blogs to see their projects, to link up your own Pinterest Challenge project, and to see what everyone else has linked up.

Erin at The Great Indoors { Mason jar chandelier }
Katie at Bower Power { watercolour jellyfish art }
Sherry at Young House Love { homemade beanbag }
Cassie at Hi Sugarplum! { DIY faux antlers }

If you’ve been thinking about creating a gallery wall in your house, I hope you’ll find my tutorial helpful. And when your wall is done, please let me know, I’d love to see it :-)

If you want to see more of what inspires me, click here to check out my boards on Pinterest.

kelly sig



  1. Great tutorial Kelly! I have a hanging tool that I bought that works pretty much the same as the one you made. Makes me want to do another gallery wall. Loving the Chelsea Gray as well, perfect choice. BTW - Just bought some Ulti Matt Benjamin Moore paint the other day. Can't wait to try it out.

    1. Hubby is too cheap to buy a hanging tool, so I had to improvise! I love BM's ulti-matte paint. It goes on so smooth, and the finish doesn't show any roller marks at all. Which was perfect for this wall, because I couldn't do long, smooth rolls with all the screws & nails in the way. I also used ulti-matte in the family room.

  2. FABULOUS Kelly...your pics and instructions are crystal clear. Now I need a tutorial on how to put my watermark on my photos and how to do the collage at the beginning of this post.

    1. Maureen, I used Smilebox to create the collage. And there's a free program called GIMP that you can download and use to give your logo a transparent background. Then you just copy and paste it onto your images.

  3. Love your gallery wall! And what a great tutorial! When we started our gallery wall (which you can see here), we decided to just add things as we went so we have an organic look. So far it's working because we don't have a ton of matching frames!

  4. I am so impressed Kelly! Your wall of gorgeous art is wonderful and I like the color you chose behind it. Have a mentioned your new photo image is very nice!

    Please do come over to visit, I have a New Giveaway from Fresh Produce I think you will love!

    Art by Karena

  5. Looks great! Love the chunky frames. And I'm doing cartwheels for your perfectly level gallery! Wahoo!

  6. Terrific tutorial!
    I have a few gallery walls planned for walls in our house... eventually... I'm definitely going to take some tips from you :-)
    We may share this blog, but there's a benefit to living across the country from one another ~ I'm rarely in the loop on your projects and I always get to be just "one of the DTTD visitors" for reveals ;-)

  7. This looks so great! Hanging a gallery wall is no joke, trust me. I've found I'm too impatient to achieve perfection, but I wish I was because your wall is just that - perfection!

  8. This looks great! I love seeing different ideas for gallery walls.

  9. Love how the gallery wall turned out! We have a massed a collection of frames and art work to start one of our own. We just haven't yet. (Sounds like another pinterest challenge is in order!) Thanks for your sweet comments on the dresser.

  10. Oh my word - that is awesome and SO MUCH hard work! Excellent! Thanks for your comment on my blog :-) Good minds think alike - huh

    I LOVE the darker wall to accent the white.....

  11. Love it Kelly!!! The gallery wall is beautiful on it's own but it really pops against the new wall colour.

  12. This looks amazing! Just finding your blog! Love it. This was the first time I participated in the Pinterest challenge. It was so much fun! What a great motivater.

  13. I'm still in awe of your gallery wall, and I'm hanging on tight to this tutorial!!! Thank you so much for sharing it :-) Isn't the Pinterest challenge so much fun?

  14. Wow, your wall looks great! I love the beach theme with white frames. Very refreshing :)

  15. Well, you know I love gallery walls! This looks amazing Kelly and your instructions are brilliant! I usually don't go to all that trouble - just eyeball for an unstructured look but that's just me! :)

  16. Great job Kelly!!! It looks fantastic! Thanks for the great tutorial too.

  17. Ooh! Come to my house so you can whip me up a gallery wall! So well done, and thanks for linking up with the Winter Pinterest Challenge!

    Erin @ The Great Indoors