Sunday, July 5, 2015

12 Frame Gallery Wall for $25

This is an easy way to style a wall if you're on a budget. My dining room really only has one wall that can make an impact. One wall is a big window with curtains, and the one across leads into the dining room and is very small. The wall behind the table is quite large and I knew I wanted a gallery wall. The only problem was even inexpensive frames from Ikea in the size I wanted are $12 each, and I wanted 12 frames so that's easily $144 just for frames alone. 

I found these Malma mirrors for $1.99 each at Ikea, and I saw on a couple of other blogs people printed pictures and used Mod Podge or other glues to adhere the pictures to the mirrors. I love the look of the chunky white frame and the small picture, plus I saved a lot of money because I printed six pictures on one piece of paper. You can use regular printer paper, but I have matte photo paper that is great for printing on. I chose 12 of my favorite pictures from tea parties that I've hosted, and I printed them in grayscale. I cut one picture until the size was perfect, then used that to trace and cut out the remaining 11 pictures. I didn't secure the pictures with anything because there is a gap between the frame and the mirror, so I sort of shoved the edges of the pictures in that gap and they stay put perfectly. As great as the idea is for this gallery wall, the way I hung the frames is really what is wonderful. 

I knew with 12 frames and my history of everything being crooked I needed a good plan for this project. I've seen so many ideas on Pinterest, like tracing the frames on paper then hanging that on the wall or attaching a tack to the back of the picture to mark on the wall where the frame needs to be. My favorite strategy is definitely using painters tape. I measured the height and width of my wall and determined how much space I wanted these frames to take up. I went with three inches between each frame. I lined up four at a time upside down against my baseboards to make sure they were straight, I measured at least three times to make sure the frames were spaced exactly 3" apart, then I took a piece of painters tape and stuck it over the frames right across the hole for the screw. Then you take the screw you're going to hang these on and you poke a hole in the same place on each frame.

On my wall I marked the center in three points, each point was where I needed my tape to line up. I also marked the center on the tape. So all I had to do was stick the tape on the wall with the two center lines matched up, then I used a level to make sure the tape was straight. The next step is easy, you just drill the screw through the tape where you marked your holes. Also be sure to measure the vertical distance from screw to screw for the subsequent rows to make sure the spacing is the same.

Unfortunately, because I needed to use screws in order to secure the frames once you rip the tape off you can't reuse it to mark the next rows. So I had to repeat all of those steps three separate times. But I think it worked out well! After I drilled the first row of screws I hung the frames and measured just to make sure I wasn't messing up.

Once I had the 12 screws in the wall I went ahead and double checked the rows with my level, and they were perfect! I was so excited, because then all there was left to do was hang up the frames. They will be a bit wonky at first since they have wiggle room due to only being secured by one screw in the center of each frame. My tip is to again use a level to straighten the frames, then take a piece of painters tape that you've rolled to make it double sided painters tape and secure the bottom part of each frame to the wall. This will ensure that all of the frames stay level and will not wiggle around. You can use any double sided tape, but I like painters tape since I don't have to worry about it ruining the paint on the wall or the frame.

I loved the look of the mirrors, but I knew keeping them clean would be a challenge and I really had my heart set on a black and white gallery wall. Once I added the black and white pictures I knew it was the right way to go, I absolutely love it. I hope you found this tutorial helpful! 

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