Hanging Pictures: How to Decorate a Large Wall

If you are like me and have a serious problem committing to decor and hanging pictures in your home, this post might be for you.  I have lived in my house for a year and a half and until a couple of weeks ago, pretty much the only decorating that had been done in my house is what my mother-in-law did when she came to help us move in.  I had sat and stared at the blank wall on my stairwell for so long that about a year ago, I hung some pictures of a couple of our vacations.  Let me be the first to say, it did not look good.  They stayed there for a year.  Finally, after looking at it long enough, I decided to take matters into my own hands.  I had a lot of pictures that I wanted to hang and I decided that I wanted a big collage with pictures of our family.  The problem, however, was that with all of those pictures, it was going to be hard to hang them so that a) they didn’t look stupid, b) they weren’t all crooked, and c) I didn’t put 700 nail  holes in the wall.  So I turned to Pinterest for ideas.  Finally, after doing the research, I combined about eight different ideas and went with it.

So first, I’ll show you how it turned out so that you can decide whether you want to invest any more of your time reading the rest of this post.  🙂  Let me just say that if you are the type of person who can visualize what you want to do and then go for it, you might not need to take this approach.

IMG_3694One of my concerns was how I was going to get all of these pictures on the wall and get them straight without having to rehang them a zillion times.  The answer?  Christmas wrapping paper.  To do this project, you will need wrapping paper, scissors, tape, a pen, nails on which to hang your pictures, and a level if you’re as type A as I am about things.

1.  The first step is to tape the Christmas paper to the wall with the back side facing you.  Here’s a tip.  If you happen to have wrapping paper that has the one inch squares drawn on the back of it to help you cut straight lines, use it!  I did this and it worked wonders!  More on that later.  You need to cover the entire area where you want to hang your photos.  If you have a large area to cover, you may have to tape different sections of paper together.  If you do, make sure that you tape the pieces together straight so that your one inch squares on the back of the wrapping paper remain in straight lines.

My stairwell wall all wrapped up in Christmas paper!

My stairwell wall all wrapped up in Christmas paper!

2. Once you have the paper on the wall, make sure that any seams are taped together completely.  Then take the paper off the wall and lay it flat on the floor (or on a table if your area isn’t as big as mine).

3.  Next, you’re just going to place all of your pictures on the paper just as you would want them on the wall.  This gives you the opportunity to move your photos around to get them exactly how you want them without having to commit to anything.  This is where those squares come in. You can  use them to make sure the pictures are all spaced the same amount of space apart and that they are even.  I also suggest starting with the one picture that you want to be the centerpiece, or the focus of the collage.  For me this was a large 16×20 family photo that was matted and framed.  It is large so I knew I wanted it in the center.  I just counted the squares to find the center.  You could also measure.

The beginning of the placement process.

The beginning of the placement process.

Halfway into the process.

Halfway into the process.

At this point, you should probably banish any husbands and children from your work area.  :)

At this point, you should probably banish any husbands and children from your work area. 🙂

4. When you are certain that you have all of the photos where you want them, I suggest taking a picture so that you can refer back to it later.

5.  Next, using a pen, draw around each picture on the paper so that you have the exact shape and size of each frame.  As you do, mark where the hanger is on each one and where the nail should go.  You can remove the photos from the paper as you go.

This shows the paper with the outline of the frames and the markings to show where the nails should go.

This shows the paper with the outline of the frames and the markings that show where the nails should go.

6.  After you’ve outlined all of the pictures, it’s time to hang the paper back up on the wall.  Once it is back up, all you have to do is nail the holes into the paper everywhere that you’ve marked.

Unfortunately, my nails were very light in color so it was difficult to get a good picture, but hopefully this will give you an idea.

Unfortunately, my nails were very light in color so it was difficult to get a good picture, but hopefully this will give you an idea.

7.  After you have hammered all of your nails into the paper, you get to have a little fun.  Rip that paper down!  You will then be left with just the nails and you’re ready to hang all of your photos.  You can refer to the picture you took earlier to ensure that everything gets hung where you intended.  Again, I recommend starting with your centerpiece or middle picture.

A shot of the nails in the wall.

A shot of the nails in the wall.

Halfway through the hanging process.

Halfway through the hanging process.

It literally only took me about 5 minutes to hang the pictures on the wall using this method.  Including the decorative items, I hung 26 pieces.  Even after pulling out the level to make sure everything was even and level, I only had to adjust two nails.  It was so easy and I was very pleased with the results! Hopefully you will be, too!

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6 thoughts on “Hanging Pictures: How to Decorate a Large Wall

  1. If the area is too large for this method, you could cut the paper into the sizes of the pictures and tape those to the wall. Of course, you would then have to level them all. You could place two pushpins beyond the rows of pictures and connect them with thread, yarn or string, leveling that….and repeating for each row. Put chalk on the hangers and press to the wall along the string, marking the placement of each nail.
    I like your method. It looks good to me. Keeping all the frames the same color lends unity, too.

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