Monday, March 4, 2013

DIY: Hanging A Group of Frames

I've mentioned before that the walls of our apartment are a bit on the bare side and that I've been taking some steps lately to try to remedy that.

In early February, I came upon a great blog post on Young House Love that outlined a fool-proof way to hang up a cluster of frames and whatnots on a wall together. If there was one wall-related task I was certainly bad at, prior to this, it was hanging up multiple items together in straight lines. I'd try my damnedest to align things properly and everything would still end up askew when it went up on the wall.

But this time, armed with the knowledge I'd acquired from YHL, I was about to go H.A.M. on a whole wall's worth of shit. And this time I was, like.... pretty sure it was going to end well for me.

Here's how I not only did it - but actually did it WELL! As mentioned, this was based on instructions that I found at YHL, which in turn were found somewhere else. #CircleOfLife

Step 1: Get some shit to hang up!
.  uh huh, this my shit  .
I acquired some of my frames from The Kitchen Corner on 4th Ave in Vancouver, because they have a great selection of very reasonably priced frames. I got the other frames from the Salvation Army on 4th Ave which, if you follow my blog with any regularity, you know that I'm obsessed with.

I also picked up the jumbo clothespin and the oval mirror from the Salvation Army during my Thrift Store Challenge. The square clock and the small round mirror were both purchased at a different Salvay when I was checking out the Broadway store location a few weeks ago.

The small purple and green frames were only $1.50 each and were being sold in a big row of random things near the register at a Michael's craft store. They are super cheap frames with thin plastic sheets instead of glass and were intended only as desktop frames, with no means to hang them up on a wall. But I knew they were lightweight enough that some double-sided tape squares would hang them up, nooo problem. I love the detail on these little guys!

.  oh you're cute but i'ma paint the shit out of you  .
This was a bit of a motley crew of things to hang... clearly, none of the frames matched at all. But stay tuned because shit's about to get REAL UNIFORM. Keep readin'.

Step 2: Find a great arrangement for yo stuff.

Time to fiddle around, so get yo fiddlin' fingahs ready. Seriously guys, no shame here. Re-arrange as many times as you want until you see the arrangement that shouts "YES!" I shouted "NO!" several times before I found the right arrangement. Here's what I ended up with:

Step 3: Transfer that arrangement to paper, creating an outlined template of your grouping.

YHL used one large sheet of paper for this step, which is probably the best way to go. However, if you're not just casually stocked up with a ginormous roll of paper (you know, in case of emergency), you'll need to improvise here. I taped together several pieces of newspaper (remember, straight lines are important) to create one large sheet of paper that I could use to trace my arrangement.

You could have done this before Step 2 and then done all of your arranging on top of the piece of paper to begin with, but... shut up. Really though, it wasn't a big deal for me to snap a picture of the arrangement and then recreate it on top of the piece of paper.

Trace the outline of each item so that you have a template of exactly where everything will lie:

Because I was terrified that a black Sharpie marker would bleed through the paper, I used a blue highlighter marker to do this step (and the next one, too). Unfortunately it was so light that it didn't show up in these photos - so I went ahead and traced them for you so you can see the lines. If you didn't know, my Paintbrush skills are... unmatched. Notice I didn't say "incredible" or "super-talented." I said "unmatched." 

Step 4: Mark out where the nails will go. 

Get your precision hats on, ladies! Or just grab a ruler. No need to muss up your hair with a precision hat. Using the ruler, measure out on the back of each frame exactly where the nail will sit - how far "in" and how far "down" it needs to go.

Then measure that same spot out on your template, and mark it with a dot:

Step 5: Make your shit look a little more like it all "goes" together. 

This step is optional, depending on how well your particular group of stuff already looks and what kind of condition it's all in. Since my items were so random, I wanted to spruce them up a bit and paint some of them to make them look more uniform before I put them up on the wall. You know, make it look a little less like they'd all been purchased on several separate trips to three different stores.

I wanted the colors to be clean and gender neutral, since I share the bedroom with my handsome boyfriend. I chose a sage green spray paint and a matte white one. (Michael's has a great selection of spray paints in all types of finishes.) The plan was to paint some of the frames sage, some of them white, and leave some of them plain wood.

Before the paint though, you're going to want to give your frames a little washing, just to make sure your surfaces are nice and clean. Allow them to dry completely before you start actually painting them!

Most of my items had frames that I was able to remove before painting, but a couple of them did not. The square clock and the oval mirror both needed to have their frames painted, so I had to cover the clock face and the mirror by taping newspaper to them.

After laying out several sheets of newspaper on my balcony as drop cloth, I finally got to the fun part: spray painting!!  Since I'm not a tag artist by night, this isn't something I get to do often. Do as many coats as you want/need/desire. I kept re-evaluating and then adding more coats. Maybe I was just being spray-happy. WHO'S TO SAY?

I let them all dry fully for a couple of days (inside!) before I finally felt they were dry enough. This is definitely a project you need to have some patience for!

Very carefully remove the newspaper and tape from any faces you needed to cover during the painting process. Here I am admiring how well I taped my clock. I mean damn. Check out those lines.

Step 6: Tape your paper template to the wall in the place you want your cluster to hang.

Simple enough. Use a level to make sure you're hanging your template straight. You don't want to get this far and then fail at your template taping. DO YOU??


Ohmigodohmigodohmigod! Here's the step where you get to see if all of your hard work was in vain or if you actually succeeded in hanging up a whole wall full of stuff in straight lines that look good. READY??

Hammer? Check. Nails? Check. EXCITEMENT LEVELS HIGHER THAN REALLY NECESSARY? ...... CHECK. Let's get to nailin'.

Put a nail right through the paper in the center of each of the "nail dots" you made earlier in Step 4. Once you hammer in every nail, you can rip away the entire sheet of paper from the wall, leaving your nails in their correct places.

Hang up each of your frames and whatnots.... step back.... take a look.... and HOPEFULLY it's all straight!!!


And, look what it's right above - the holiday lights/jars light situation:

.  DIYs on DIYs  .
As you can see, I've still got some frames to fill. I think I'll make a collage for the tall rectangle on top. The square frame in the center has a generic flower painting inside of it right now, which came with the frame from Salvay. Not sure what to do with that one quite yet, but eventually some solution will present itself. The two tiny frames from Michael's each got a dainty little collage - the two smallest collages I think I've ever made:


The smaller rectangular frame on the lower left will eventually get filled with a photo I think. The photo in the lower right was a gift from my sister - it's a picture that was taken down the street from our parents' house in Pittsfield. Also, I love the jumbo clothespin. I feel like Queen of the World for finding that one.

I am pretty pleased with the color scheme of the frames - and I'm a particular fan of the pretty random way that they are arranged, color-wise. I didn't want to consider their placement when I was painting them; I just wanted to paint each frame the color that I felt it should be painted, if that makes any sense. For example, I knew I wanted to painted the round mirror green, regardless of where it ended up in the arrangement.

Has this blog made you want to go cover an entire wall in your home with frames and jumbo-sized knick knacks? Hope sooooo!

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  1. It looks great Bailey! I've been holding off on a "wall of frames" like this because our landlord didn't want us putting tons of holes in the wall. After seeing this, I mayyyy have to ignore that request.

  2. Just do itttttt! Putting them all up together in one cluster on the same wall is actually better for your landlord than you putting frames up all over your apartment. This way, they'll only have to touch-up/re-paint one wall when you move out!

  3. Stopping by from Kelly's Korner link-up. :)'


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