The sad facts were obvious. Two of my kids hadn't even made it on the wall yet, for one. Also, most of these pictures were over 5 years old. Not because I hadn't had newer pictures of the kids taken, but because I had them on my computer and was too lazy to have them printed out. And I'm fully aware of the fact that placing the pictures in a straight line across the wall lacks any creativity as well as being completely aesthetically unpleasing. Plus, buying new frames? Creating a new layout? Ugh. I am about as far as you get from an interior designer, and our house shows it. Simplicity reigns.
Well, thanks to the YMCIA, I had the first step in my wall transformation taken care of: current pictures were printed off and resided at the top of my dresser. I had even already collected a hodgepodge of great picture frames from local thrift stores which were being stashed in the garage loft. I realized I just needed to get this done and dedicated a day to figuring the whole project out.
First, I laid the pictures out on our bedspread until I found an arrangement that I liked.
Then I gathered my picture frames from the loft, dusted them off and laid them out on the table.
I removed all of the prints from the pictures and cleaned all of the glass.
Then set up a table outside for spray painting the frames black. I decided this would pull the whole wall arrangement together better than leaving the frames in their hodgepodgey state.
I left the frames on the table to dry and then moved on to the next step in my process: sketching the layout. I taped together two pieces of some leftover Christmas wrapping paper in the approximate size of the finished wall arrangement.
I then laid out the pictures the way I wanted them on the wall, but on the wrapping paper. I took time to measure between pictures (I'm a little OCD) and scoot them around quite a bit.
I even rearranged some of the frames at one point because I felt like the balance was off...
Once I was happy with the layout and swapped a few pictures around into different frames, I traced around each picture with a sharpie.
I needed to tape the wrapping paper to the wall at this point, but I couldn't find any blue painter's tape. I only had packing tape, which I knew would pull the paint off my wall and create a larger project. I did not have the patience to drive to Home Depot and buy some painter's tape, so I decided instead to get creative. I stuck the packing tape to my jeans to make it less sticky...
then peeled it off. It worked perfectly! Voila - my own kind of blue tape:
Once the layout was up, I could step back and get a good look to make sure it was straight and centered the way I wanted. I had to move it around a few times, but that was great. It made the whole paper layout thing worth it.
Here comes my favorite part. The part I found online. The part that will change the way I hang pictures for the rest of my life. I made this awesome little tool out of an old paint-stirrer and a nail:
But then realized after my first try that the nail was too long and wiggled when trying to hang pictures. So I switched it out for a smaller nail on the other end:
which worked perfectly! I would suggest using a clothespin, I think it would hold the nail better. But I didn't have one, and that laziness thing kicked in again, so I made the paint-stirrer work. Anyway! Are you ready for this? You take your tool and hang the picture on it, like so:
Then you place the frame up against the wall where you want it to go.
In my case, I just lined each picture up with the sketch of it on the wrapping paper, then pushed on the frame with my other hand.
This left a small hole where I wanted each nail to be.
So I grab our random nails jar out of the garage,
and start pounding away!
I have to admit, it almost seemed too good to be true. I had to actually put all of the pictures up to make sure they lined up and looked good before I tore down the wrapping paper and re-hung them. And now? I love my picture wall! The day I put these up, Little O came to me and said, "I get to have my pitshure on the wall too, Mom! Thank you for my frame with me in it!" FOUR years this kid has been in our family and he's just now getting his picture on the wall. Pretty sad.
The kids commented that it was like I had remodeled the dining room, which this wall is a part of. My favorite part is that we now have a wall that we love, with everyone's pictures included.