Gallery Wall Reveal {with tips and tricks for layouts, hanging, photos and more} | i should be mopping the floor
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Gallery Wall Reveal {with tips and tricks for layouts, hanging, photos and more}

I finished our gallery wall and am really happy with the way it turned out. It's a simple gallery wall. I just used some tricks from my newspaper designing days to help me lay this baby out.

I'm a photo nut. Memory keeper. Mama-Razzi. I just love capturing moments that we can look back on and remember exactly what we felt/acted/did that day. I've been wanting to put together a gallery wall with some fuzzy feelings for quite some time. 

I picked up frames at both Ikea and Walmart and used some that I've had in the closet for years {the large one in the middle was put together by our photographer...I'm not sure where she ordered it from, but I can find out if you're interested}. It makes things easier to layout the design on the floor first. I snapped a phone photo and referred to it while I was hanging. 

The beauty of this wall is that it was fairly inexpensive. Some of the Walmart frames were as cheap as $3 each. But mixing them up with some nicer, "chunkier" frames and using my custom matte trick {explained below} helped them to look a bit more substantial and not so $3ish...{because let's face it, a $3 frame can look just like...well, a $3 frame}.  

Many of the cheap frames came with mats that I was able to dress up a bit. I did a post on this last year here {yes, that's exactly how long I've been planning this thing. Just taking my sweet time with it}. Looking back, I do think it's a little weird that I did an entire post on painting mats. Seriously, friends, thanks for sticking with me...even when I posted every little insignificant thing I was doing {today, I had cereal and a banana...what? You missed that post?}. I pray I've grown as a blogger since those days.

Keeping the mats all the same color {this color from Folk Art is called Sky Blue} helps tremendously with cohesion...especially since I used several frame styles. 

The frames that weren't black instantly became black with my trusty spray paint.
Again, this added to the cohesive factor since I mismatched my frames.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not a photographer AT ALL {so, please be kind if you think my lighting stinks or that I need a clue about my settings, you're probably correct}. I've taken a couple of photography sessions and refer to Kristen Duke's book *almost* daily. But I'm just recently branching out of AUTO mode on a regular basis on my DSLR. And most of the photos in my gallery wall are from years ago...some from FILM and {gasp!} disposable cameras.

One other thing I did is totally my own taste and not all people are into it. But, I made sure all of my photos {except the professional ones} were in the same tones. I was going for a bit of a vintage look with this gallery wall. 

I can't tell you how much I ADORE The Coffee Shop Blog. I've followed her for eons...she's amazing. And has the most beautiful preset actions {that are FREE...I can't get over that} to download {it is nice to compensate her in Paypal which there is an option for on her site}. You can use her actions in both regular Photoshop and PSE. I'm showing you how I used the PSE versions today because I think PSE is a lot easier to use for most people {and it's super affordable if you're in the market for a simple photo editing program}.

The above photo is SOOC {Straight Out Of Camera}. I even left the chocolate frosting on his lip for you to see {he's definitely my kid}.

After cleaning up his mouth and then just ONE CLICK of an action {okay maybe two}, this is what happens with the Velvet Cream Action. Truthfully, I sometimes run two actions on photos...I always, ALWAYS use her 2020 Action and then if I'm feeling extra naughty, I'll throw a cool vintage action on top of the 2020 {like the Velvet Cream}. {FYI, you need to flatten in between actions}.

Some photo purists may balk at the vintage effects and all that. But, this just makes my heart go pitter patter. So creamy and dreamy. And flippin' EASY.

Here's a screenshot of the Velvet Cream action running in PSE 11 {it's WAY better than the previous versions of PSE...actions load lickety split. I pretty much download new ones weekly, so that's a good thing for me}. 
Let's not talk about the fact that from this screenshot, it's completely evident that I have over 9,000 emails in my in-box. I'm an e-hoarder, I tell ya. Drives the husband nuts. 

After printing my photos at Snap or Shutter-something-or-other {wink}, I prepped them and was ready to hang. I started with the biggie since it needed wall anchors to hang and would literally anchor the entire wall visually. Once it was in place, everything else would just flow around it. 

Honestly, it was on its lonesome for a few days before I got my rear in gear for the others. At one point, my youngest pointed out that it looked "nekkid" up there all by itself. Ahhh....a future designer, maybe? {Surely all future design enthusiasts say "nekkid" with a drawl}.

I laid out the rest of the wall using visual lines running throughout {I showed them with some red lines above...drawn in PSE after the fact}. Again, this is an old newspaper layout trick I used to use back in my newspaper designing days...but I think design is design and can be applied to all facets of life.  Keeping the edges and corners touching these "lines" creates a pleasing visual layout. If I were to have "floated" any of those frames in their own "areas" it would have broken up the cohesion. The "jagged" edges around the outsides of the layout aren't as "icky" as "trapped white space" would have been within the layout. 

Also, I worked hard to keep the layout really tight. All of my "lines" and space between frames are about an inch thick. Anything much more than that and cohesion breaks and things aren't as connected to each other. 

If you read all of the above and don't think I'm a complete OCD nut, God bless you. 

I really do plan to add a lot more photos to this gallery wall as well as one that will be on the opposite wall in this hallway {I plan to do that one in white frames with the same "Sky Blue" mattes...because I'm cray-cray like that}. It will have more extended family photos that are sitting here in a stack on my desk glaring at me with cutting eyes for not using them in this layout. Cray-cray, I tell ya.

Love the peeps in these pics.
Favorite pic {hands down} is the one of them on the bottom right in their dirty undershirts on the grody dog house wearing 1980s sunglasses. That was life as we knew it five years ago. Perfection.

Neglect your chores like me and don't miss a thing:


  1. I love your wall, Kristi! It looks great! I love what you did with the pic of your son. Thanks for sharing the info on the software used.

    I am just now venturing into using Manual Mode on my DSLR. I have a lot to learn but it's fun to experiment! Pinned to my Photography board!

    Julie @ This Gal Cooks

  2. Love it, and I hope to do something similar in my home soon. I've had to rearrange some things and now I have a large vacant wall that is just screaming "gallary wall!"

  3. Love the gallery wall! The blue matte looks great with the black frames. Love it!!

  4. Gallery Wall looks beautiful!

  5. Very well put together, really like your wall gallery! :-) Ingrid

  6. My gosh- I love this wall! You did a great job!

  7. Looks great! I think the matching frames and blue mats bring it all together. Pinned to our homemaking board.

  8. How darling is that wall AND THOSE BOYS! WOW. I have yet to create a gallery wall but you have really inspired me. So much love and good feelings emanate from yours!

  9. These are great tips, Kristi! I always take a ton of photos of my kids, but none ever make it up to the wall. I definitely need to create a gallery space. I'm feeling inspired! :)

  10. Great tips, Kristi and your gallery wall looks FANTASTIC! I gave it a go a few months ago but was disappointed with the way mine turned out. I plan on trying it again soon. Pinning your tips!

  11. This turned out amazing! You have such a cute family!! Pinned

  12. Awwww.. Such an adorable family gallery wall.. :)

  13. It's gorgeous Kristi! I just did this last weekend. Wish I would have seen this first!! :)

  14. Your gallery wall looks awesome Kristi! I took mine down when I did my Mom Cave room but I totally miss it :( I need to find a new wall!

  15. Your wall looks awesome! I loved all the different sizes you used! Great work girl!

  16. wow, that really lovely!! I adore photo walls, and I love the BIG size of all your frames and photos! Have you seen the offer for a free fathers day card from TREAT? I've posted the details on my blog and it really is free! No tricks :o) Just trying to pass along the offer!
    Emily @ Nap-Time Creations

  17. I really happy to read this post,I was just imagine about it and you provided me the correct information I really bookmark it,for further reading,So thanks for sharing the information

  18. Love your gallery wall! It was a great idea to have all the frames and mats in the same colors.

  19. Such a cute family Kristi :) Your wall shows how much you love them!

  20. LOVE this. New to your blog enjoying going through all your tutorials. Wow, I have a lot of work to do in my home.