How To Hang A Gallery Wall

I have a slight addiction to gallery walls…I want to hang all the pictures! Have you ever had to hang a bunch of frames, you and your other hold a frame, eyeing if it’s the right spot, and you measure everything (twice), you hang the pictures, and the spacing is off? And the large frame isn’t level? And the small frame is sitting too low?

Gallery walls can be a huge headache to try to measure. One person holds the frame while another says up a little, down a little, too far! You find the perfect spot, hammer your nail, and it’s 3 inches farther to the left now. Nothing makes me want to throw a frame out the window more.

But with these tips, you’ll be able to hang a gallery wall, solo!

You’ll first want to get a general idea of your frame arrangement by doing a rough layout, like on a table or the floor. I tried several different layouts and took pictures of each one, that way if I like the first one out of five, I would remember where each went.

Now that you have your arrangement, trace each frame to get a template. I bought a roll of craft paper for around $7 but you could also use newspaper, brown paper bags, circulars, etc.

tracing frames
Keep your frames spaced tightly to conserve paper and reduce waste

I labeled my templates because a lot of our frames were similar shapes and sizes

Label templates
Label with a brief description of the frame and/or picture

Cut out your templates and hang them in your arrangement. Now you can easily step back to see – is the spacing adequate? It’s much easier to shift some paper around with painter’s tape to find the perfect spots than it is to fill nail holes.

templates hung
If the layout looks correct, it’s time to hang!

Admittedly, I should have shifted the top left frame a teensy bit left, and slightly up. With a gallery wall, you should try to keep a consistent space between frames, but it doesn’t need to be exact.

To hang the frames, I lightly penciled small dashes on the top left corner, and removed the paper. Using my method of hanging level frames easily*, I hung each frame in their correct spot. These were traced, hung, and placed after work one night before Jon got home, that’s how easy it is!

Gallery wall hung
Learn from my mistake – buy cohesive frames

Did you notice there weren’t any tips on how to design a gallery wall? Yeaa…so this is a bit of a smorgasbord. Originally when we got super excited to finally hang pictures, we went shopping with pictures in hand and bought frames that went well with the pictures, not really considering how the frames looked together. So what we have has little cohesion – teal frame, dark/light/medium wood frames,  cool and warm gray frames, etc.

Sometimes ‘random’ can work but it still needs to be intentional.  This is accidental random and I’m not sure it worked in this case, but I’ll just keep telling myself it looks great until I decide to paint them some day 🙂



*I discovered that frames with the triangle hook are a little tricky because they can shift around from where you measure. To address this, apply a piece of painter’s tape to the hook to keep it from shifting.

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