Recently, I’ve been seeing DIY photo hanging kits in craft and home improvement stores. These are great and easy – they include all the frames, photo mats and a template to put up on the wall so you can place your nails in the perfect spot. My only complaint is the price. This system is $350! Michael’s also has templates, and you can chose how expensive of frames to purchase. This can be less expensive, but you can do it even cheaper!
The first step is to choose your photos and your frames. I prefer to have all the frames in the collage the same color and style. However, as I learned, sometimes the frames go out of stock, so you can’t find the same style. In this case, using the same color works great. Some people really like incorporating many different styles and colors of frames and that’s good, too. Just not for me.
Stores such as Target or Wal-Mart have cheap, black frames for $4-$5 each. You can find 4×6, 5×7 and 8×10, all in the same style. Be sure to buy more than you need – you may want to expand your display later.
Once you have your photos and frames, you’re ready to determine the placement. Trace each frame on a sheet of paper and cut it out. This is much easier if you’re using standard frames – all 4×6 frames will be the same size, all the 5×7’s and so on (although, remember, the frames are larger than the photo size!). For my frames, I was able to get one 5×7 and one 4×6 frame out of each 8 1/2×11 sheet of paper. Note that 8×10 frames are larger than your standard sheet of paper. If you have larger paper, or a newspaper or paper sack, you can use that to trace your frame. Or, note how much larger the frame is and use the sheet of paper, but mark on the wall with a pencil the outer edges of where the frame will hit.
A great tip is to mark on the paper where the nail will go. On each piece of paper, use a nail or pin to poke a hole where the top of the hanger is. This will make hanging much easier. This will also help you to know with each sheet of paper if it should be hung vertically or horizontally.
Using your cut-out paper, start taping them to the wall. You can arrange and re-arrange as much as you want. If it is important to you which photos are hung where, you can write on the paper to note which photo it represents. As you are hanging the paper, you can be as picky as you want – use a ruler to make the spaces between each one is perfectly symmetrical, or just eyeball it. Play around with the layout until you are satisfied with how it looks.
Now you can begin nailing. If you poked holes in the paper already, this will be a quick task. If not, make sure to check on the back of your frames how far down the hanger is. Measure that distance from the top of each piece of paper and put the nail in the center (assuming the hanger is in the center of your frame).
Once you have nailed in all the nails, you can tear off the paper and hang your photo frames.
Ok, sure, the pre-made systems may be a bit easier. But if you enjoy saving a few bucks and being a true DIY’er, this is a fun and relatively simple project you can do in a couple hours that will really make an impact in your home.