Kitchener Waterloo Wedding and Family Photographer » Stephanie Canada Photography

…Measure and Install a Wall Gallery?

Most of my clients order beautiful canvases or framed art for their walls, and enjoy my complimentary wall gallery installation service so they don’t have to do this themselves.  However, if you have a few pieces laying around that you’d like to hang, I thought I’d walk you through my process on hanging your own wall gallery.  Initially it can be a bit time consuming while you measure everything out, but it’s worth it for the fact that you only end up poking holes in your wall once.

First, you need a plan.  I help all my family and wedding clients design their galleries using my iPad and their images.  I’m using my “after” picture here to show you what my plan looked like:

Three 16×20 canvases, arranged with one canvas on the right, and two canvases on the left (offsetting the right one).  All of my adorable children in a series where I had them wearing my wedding dress.

I suggest clearing your workspace (an area as big as the gallery you’re creating) and getting all your supplies together.  I recommend a cordless drill, wall anchors, screws, pencil, tape measure, level, scissors, your art, a big piece of paper (as big as your wall gallery) and masking tape.

Start by rolling out your big paper.  If you don’t have a big enough piece of paper feel free to tape together more than once piece or even a bunch of flyers would work.  Then, use your scissors and cut your paper roughly to the size of your gallery (leaving a little room on each edge).

I cut my paper to 40 inches high, because the height of my entire gallery was about 35 inches…  It allows for tape to be taped without going over your design.

Next, lay out your art to make sure your paper is big enough, and get ready to measure!

Start with one piece of art, this will act as your “anchor” piece.  I chose the image on the right (from above) as my anchor, and drew around the entire piece.

Next, pick up your canvas, and hook your tape measure on the wire on the back and gently suspend your canvas in midair.  The measurement you see from the wire to the top frame of your art determines where you need to mark on your paper for your screw to go.  I measured 2.25″:

Remove your canvas from your workspace, and using your tape measure again, find the midpoint of your pencil outline of your art.  Mark it.  Note the giant hand.  It’s really tricky to take pictures of yourself with your non-dominant hand…  But I digress.

From your marked midpoint, and using the measurement you found in the last step (2.25″), mark an X where your screw/anchor will go.  I recommend always using anchors when hanging canvases, to ensure stability and safety.

Now here’s where the measuring gets a bit tricky.  In my design, I have one canvas on the right, and two offsetting it on the left.  I start by measuring the height of my drawn-out canvas (16″) and marking the midpoint there… (8″)

Then using the tape measure, measure the distance you want between your frames.  For the size of my wall, I chose 3″ apart.  Measure from your midpoint, and mark it.

Since my canvases on the left are offsetting the one on the right, I need to determine where the corners of the left-side canvases go.  From your marked distance, and knowing I want a 3″ distance between the the two canvases on the left as well (so all the spacing matches), I marked a point of 1.5″ both above and below my original mark.  This helps you get the rest of your art lined up properly.

Set another canvas down so the corner matches up with your new mark, and using your tape measure (I told you you’d need one!) make sure the distance between the original outlined canvas and the new one remains 3″ apart all the way down.

When you’ve gotten it laid out exactly right, gently hold the canvas down to the paper and outline that one too.  Now you should have two boxes on your giant piece of paper…

Do the same with the other canvas that has yet to be outlined, this time making sure your distance of 3″ works on both sides (in my case, below it, and beside it)…  Make sure you triple check that you’ve got it all right.

Once you’ve got your paper all outlined, go ahead and mark X’s for where the screws go for those canvases too (remember how we figured out 2.25″ above?).  Your paper is now all measured and ready.  If you’re uncertain, go back and remeasure your outlines using your tape measure.

Then, locate the wall space where you want your art to go.  I know you’ve done a lot of measuring, and marking, and triple checking, but this is where you’ll appreciate the time you spent on all those steps before this one.  I am hanging this artwork above my desk, so since I can’t have my desk in front and still reach the wall, I marked the where the top of my desk meets the wall with a piece of masking tape.  This just helps me visualize how high the art needs to go to make sure I’m not getting too close to my desktop.

Now the fun part!  If you have a spouse or friend nearby, you may want to have them help you.  Start by taping your paper up on your wall and eyeball the height.  It most definitely won’t be level.  Using a level and one of your outlines, check how far off you are.  You will need to gently adjust your paper, reapply tape, and check again.  This part is tedious, but is easier if you have an extra set of hands.  Once you have it exactly where you want it (make sure it’s lined up in all directions on your wall {horizontally, vertically, and level}), use your cordless drill to screw anchors into the wall right on top of your X’s.  Once you’ve done that, rip your paper off the wall!

Install your screws into the anchors, and hang your gallery…  Voila!

Using this method to hang a wall gallery is a lot more work up front, but it prevents you from making multiple holes in your wall and ensures your artwork is hung accurately and safely.  If you ever have any questions about hanging your wall art, or want some assistance with yours, please feel free to contact me – I’d be happy to help walk you through it.

Happy wall gallery hanging!