When we moved into the house [1.5 years ago], I knew one thing I really wanted was a photo gallery wall. We had a lot of stuff we needed to get done on the house so of course I had to find an inexpensive way to make this happen. I was very particular about what color I wanted the frames to be, and I wanted them to be different sizes.
I looked on many websites, went to many different stores and either found what I wanted for an out of the question price, or found my price point, but not a color I was interested in.
My next thought was that I needed to make it myself. I went back to square one and thought cheap, but could be altered. I checked Ikea on line and found what I was looking for in the Ribba Frame Series.
Here’s how to make your own photo gallery wall for a very doable price. You need very little crafty experience:
Get whatever sizes you would like in the Ribba Frame series or any other store that has sizing and frame styles you really like. I really recommend varying the sizes this makes it more visually stunning.
Buy a paint in whatever color you would like. I went to Lowe’s and bought a quart of the Olympic Brand no VOC paint. No VOC paints is something I always get. I highly recommend getting a no VOC paint for your safety, and the safety of your family. For more information on home painting and VOC’s you can read here. While getting your paint you should get a no VOC primer.
Buy sanding paper or a sponge in a fine grit and rubbing alcohol. I recommend 3M All Purpose Sanding Sponge for sanding.
Begin by taking out the glass and all of the insides of the frames, set those aside in a safe place. Sand all sides of the frames. You don’t need to remove the finish entirely you just need to remove the sheen of the finish. Sanding each frame allows the primer to stick to the frame.
Once you are done sanding take a rag and rub all of the sides with rubbing alcohol. This will remove the fine dust sticking to the frames from the sanding.
Once the rubbing alcohol has dried (takes about 5 minutes) paint the bottom side and all 4 sides, not the top, with primer. Wait about 2-4 hours for this to dry. Flip the frames over after you have waited and prime the top. Let all of this dry for about 24 hours from when you began the bottom.
Put the frames upside down again and paint the backs and all 4 sides with the paint color you chose. Wait about 6 hours this time before flipping again to do the top. Again, wait another 24 hours.
You may need 2-3 coats to get the desired saturation of color. In the end you’ll be happy you did more coats then leaving it one coat.
Once everything has dried you can put the photos in the frames.
Hanging the pictures and getting them exactly the way you want them to look takes time and precision, but believe me you’ll be happy you did it “right” the first time. You will need an extra set of hands for this part. You will need a level, tape measure and pencil.
Measure from the ceiling how far down you want to go. This will be the top of your frames. Once you have decided draw a line all the way across from edge of the wall left to right. Use your level to keep this line straight all of the way through.
Now measure from that line how far down you’d like the frames to go. This should be where you want the bottom of your frames. Repeat the line across as you did on the top.
Begin hanging pictures left to right. Example if in that frame you created you only one 8″x10″ on the left you hang that first. Now decide how far from the the right side of that frame you would like the next frame(s) and keep that spacing in between all the way to the right. Also keep the spacing from the left on the wall to the left of the first frame. You’ll want to keep that same measurement on the right to the right side of the last frame.
If you are doing floor to ceiling then be sure again to keep the same distance from the floor to the bottom of the frame as the ceiling to the top of the frame.
Look below and you will see how measurements as described above work out to make the gallery look professionally done.
If you have any questions feel free to comment below and I’ll help you out. Although this project is labor intensive the end result is wonderful, and makes you really proud of the work you put into it.