Staircase Gallery Wall

Another house, another gallery wall.

I can’t help it.  It’s one of those things that with our many moves tends to make a new house feel like “home” to us.

So after weeks of having piles and piles of pictures frames on my living room floor, ordering updated prints {am loving the quality from mpix, by the way!}, and sending some new items off to the framers, I was ready to tackle this project.

The most important part {in my humble opinion} to doing a gallery wall is making paper templates.  It’s also the most time-consuming and boring part.  And it was more tedious than I remembered from last doing it about five years ago.  But it’s worth it, I promise!

Once you’ve traced all your frames on paper {any sort will do – Kraft paper, newspaper, etc}, make sure you’ve written some sort of notation as to what that image is.  As I was placing my papers on the wall, this was especially helpful as I realized I suddenly had four photos of Little Cutie all in the same section.  While I think she’s adorable, I like to mix things up, so it was good to be able to see that before I had actually hung things on the wall.  It’s easy to get mired down in the art of mixing sizes, shapes, kinds of images, etc.


{as you can tell, I was finishing this part of the project into the wee hours of the night}

So I always like to share with you the Keystone Cops antics of my projects so that you can learn what not to do and in case you decide to tackle something similar yourself, you will not share in my misery.  I’ve never done this project before in the Dog Days of Summer.  Which is why I didn’t know that my painter’s tape wasn’t going to stick as well or as long with the heat and humidity in my non air-conditioned hundred year old house.  Or that the attic ceiling fan running all night would have me come downstairs to half the templates on the floor and another quarter hanging precariously.

There are not enough curse words out there to express what went through my head.

Fortunately, I had taken photos for the blog post, and at least could regroup from there.

After some chocolate for breakfast, of course.

Now back to business.

The beauty of the templates is twofold: not only do you get to preview your wall but you have a place to work when measuring where to hammer.  To get my spacing right, I just flip each frame over, measure how far down from the top the nail needs to go.  Then I find that spot on my template {I write all this down directly on the paper because I have the short-term memory of a gnat}.  And hammer!


Repeat about forty more times and voila!



Sometimes there is a spot on your wall that will be in your way.  My best advice is to just work it into your design; no need to fight it.


This time around I opted to include some things other than just photographs.  I framed our boarding passes moving to Japan and back to America, our Japanese residency cards, and a very humorous “report card” the children received from a Japanese nanny service we used on our “look-see” trip to Tokyo, detailing everything they did that day.  I also framed the card that accompanied my original print from Lilly Pulitzer that The Husband had done for my 40th birthday.  It makes me happy because it’s Lilly and it mentions what a great guy he is!


I think what makes me smile so much about family gallery walls is that for us they’re a bit of history.  With all of our moves, we are always far from our families.  This wall now includes five generations from both sides of our families.  There are pictures from weddings, beach trips, births and now Bat Mitzvahs.  When I first did this project in one of our first homes, I struggled a bit to find enough pictures to fill the space.  Now, I have to edit my choices, because we’ve had so many years of memories with so many more people.

Good problems, y’all.  Good problems.


P.S.  Michaels is having a big sale this weekend on custom framing if you want to get started on a project like this!

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8 Responses to Staircase Gallery Wall

  1. Awesome wall. Lovin’ it!!

  2. Shelli says:

    What a beautiful wall but something is missing. A huge photo of Ira and me

    Sent from my iPhone

    > Photo

  3. Lisa says:

    Using paper templates is a brilliant idea! I feel dumb I didn’t think of it and instead played “guess where the nail should go” while precariously eyeballing the wall.

  4. Great job– It’s not an easy one!

  5. poppajdawg says:

    Great work and reflection of love… Your work is unique and your vision is special.

  6. Laurie says:

    Inspiring, as always! Well done and thanks for sharing.

  7. msumissa says:

    Sorry, I got distracted when you mentioned not having air conditioning… thank goodness you have that napping couch! Wall looks fantastic!

  8. Pingback: 写真をおしゃれに飾りたい!!流行りの『ギャラリーウォール』レイアウトのコツ

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