Photo Wall: A Love Letter to my Husband

Photo Wall A Love Letter to my HusbandAt the beginning of this year one of my big goals was to finish my house or at least get it further along. You would think after living here almost 3 years we would be pretty much done but that is the total opposite of how we feel. We still have mostly bare walls, old furniture, an empty room and other uncompleted rooms. In all honestly don’t I think we have one room that feels completed, maybe a bathroom…does that count?

So in the spirit of working toward my goals for the year I thought it would be a cool idea to make a Valentineโ€™s Day gift out of an improvement. My husband and I have never been big Valentine’s Day people we are romantic and such but that day just doesnโ€™t hold anything terribly special for us. We don’t usually get each other gifts or anything but this year I had an ulterior motive.

We have a hallway with a massively tall wall that needed something to complete it. After hitting Pinterest and trying to find something amazing in all of my local shops, I was no closer to figuring out what I wanted. Then I had an epiphany, we have travelled all over the world as a couple…why not use some of the amazing photos we have taken as our art.

Photo Wall - Blank SpaceFor Christmas I asked for black frame sets as gifts, those can get expensive and I thought that would be a perfect gift that he would never suspect was for a bigger purpose.

Then I decided to go back through the thousands and thousands of jpegs from our 10 years together. I had only collected 15 frames in total so I only had a 14 to use (you will understand why later). They varied in sizes from 8×12 to 3×5. Half were matted and half not which I loved the look of.

After days of searching I found the 14 photos, which would make our wall. They all had different meanings, some I had taken, some he had taken, which was great.

Next, I had to decide how I wanted to display these 14 frames. Again I took to Pinterest. There are thousands of ways to arrange a photo wall; some make more sense than others. I did not want to incorporate anything other than the frames; I will save that for a different part of the house. I knew I wanted them in a tight-ish pattern so that I can add more to the grouping later down the road. I finally found my top three patterns I thought would look best and arranged the frames on the floor in front of the wall to see what I liked. I went with number 1.

Photo Wall- Template ChoicesI then gathered all of my materials for the display. The frames, the photos, blank white sheets of paper, pencil and painters tape.

I know my husband and OCD is not a term that I use lightly with him, if I was going to pull off the tight grid I had in mind I needed a way to make sure everything was properly spaced without a thousand holes in the wall. Normally I take kind of a blind approach to hanging but not this time.

  • I traced all of the frames on the blank white paper, for bigger frames I taped papers together to get them the exact right size.

Photo Wall - Trace the Frames

  • I then cut everything out and flipped the frames over. I took the pencil and feeling with my hands, punched a hole through the paper where the nail would have to hang.
  • I then took the papers and taped them onto the wall.

Photo Wall - Template Completed in Paper

  • I measured and leveled each sheet. Moving the painters tape is a thousand times easier than moving and re-measuring a whole frame.
  • Once everything looked perfect (and that took probably 2 hours alone) I placed the nails into the previously made holes in the paper

Photo Wall - Hang Nails using Paper Guide

  • Then it was time to start hanging. Again I wanted to make sure it was perfect before taking down the paper so at first I hung the frames over the paper then later removed and rehung everything.

Photo Wall - Frames over paper

In the end there was only one frame that was a little low, everything else was hung perfectly straight and spaced! What a huge sigh of relief!

I chronicled our travel love story from beginning to current and I think it turned out pretty great. There are no photos of us except for frame 15, the one in the middle is one taken on our wedding day, and we are very small so it technically is still an architecture photograph.

Photo Wall - Final Result!

Here are some of the biggest things I learned:

  • Always measure the spacing exactly, one millimeter can throw your whole eye
  • Don’t just look at the frame spacing remember the nails, one of our photos is a little low because the nails hang differently on it, I now have to rehang that one
  • If it’s a big space create a design you can add to. I want to buy more frames and hang more photos, we have gone to so many more places than the 6 I have chosen and I would love to add those to the wall soon. If I had chosen design #2 it would not have been as easy to add.
  • A center focal point creates drama. I saw tons of gallery walls with no center focal point and they were pretty but for my big wall the focal point was an absolute must.
  • Remember furniture will go under the frames. You can see a random piece of blue tape under the frames. We are buying an entry table for that wall and I wanted to make sure I did not hang the photos too low or it could have been a problem. (Truly almost happened)

I think this is a great thing to do. In this world of instant photos where we literally take thousands why not put some of them to great use and send a love letter to your partner.

Have you ever created a wall like this? What are some of your tips?


The Perfectionist Mom

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  1. This is a great idea. I have a photo wall, also. I love walking down the hall and seeing all the pics. I need to update it with the new baby’s photos and newer ones of the toddler.

    1. Thank you! I am dying to set up the timeline of our lives and how we became a family in our room. I love photo walls I think they are so much more personal than random art you find at Homegoods or where ever.

  2. We are in the process of finishing building our dream home. This post is going to come in SO handy!!!
    Brittany recently posted…Watergate CakeMy Profile

    1. Thank you I am so glad it helped! Congrats on your dream home!

  3. What a fantastic idea — tracing them and putting the paper up first! I LOVE gallery arrangements, but like your husband have severe diagnosed OCD and inconsistencies make me uncomfortable. That being said I usually have 100 holes in the wall before getting it just right lol Now I can try the paper method first! Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚ and it looks great by the way
    Brittany recently posted…#Stop50ShadesShamingMy Profile

    1. Thank you so much. That one frame that is one the left if you are looking at the wall drives me nuts everyday. It is going to be fixed before this weekend ๐Ÿ™‚
      MOMentous Moms recently posted…Listen Up…Butter is GOOD for you!My Profile

  4. The paper guide idea is great! I love how your wall turned out!
    Alex recently posted…Wedding Wednesday: Creative BouquetsMy Profile

    1. Thank you so much. The paper literally saved me. It would have taken 10x longer.
      MOMentous Moms recently posted…Listen Up…Butter is GOOD for you!My Profile

  5. What a sweet gift…for the both of you! And you really nailed the look. It’s perfect!
    Donella Crigger recently posted…Sensory Bin for St. Patrick’s DayMy Profile

    1. Thank you so much! Easily the best idea for a gift I have had in a while.
      MOMentous Moms recently posted…Listen Up…Butter is GOOD for you!My Profile

  6. Ohhh I LOVE this!! My hubby and I have done some traveling, as well, but I truly just adore the design ideas you had (I’m a big fan of #2). I usually buy the collage frames, but I might just have to pick a wall and go to town with some plain black one as well. <3
    thecrumbycupcake recently posted…Strawberry Lemonade CupcakesMy Profile

    1. Number 2 was my favorite until I realized that I needed to add more frames and it would be more difficult with that pattern. I would love to see how your wall eventually turns out ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I’ve been wanting to do this for a very long time! Unfortunately, we are renting and the walls are concrete so we can’t drill into them. ๐Ÿ™
    Jhanis recently posted…Bantayan IslandMy Profile

    1. Oh that stinks! You could try and use those removable strips that velcro to the back of the frames. That is what I did when we rented last time, worked like a charm.

  8. This beautiful! I have a hallway wall that needs to be filled, but I’m scared to start a gallery wall but you made it look super easy and organzied!

    1. I was terrified to actually start doing it. That was why Valentine’s Day being a deadline really helped. I work well with a deadline I guess ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. This is beautiful! I must admit. I purchased frames but got completely overwhelmed when I thought about the hanging process.
    Earl-Leigh recently posted…Biscuits, Buns and Athletic TightsMy Profile

    1. Thank you so much! That is why having a deadline worked so well for me because I was ready to scrap it and say never mind. I just kept telling myself that I had been ignoring that wall for 2 almost 3 years and it was time to take control! You can do it!
      MOMentous Moms recently posted…Listen Up…Butter is GOOD for you!My Profile

  10. Very smart! Gotta try this.
    Joyce Brewer (@MommyTalkShow)J recently posted…Easy School Fundraiser with Tea Collection ClothingMy Profile

  11. Jody

    You did an amazing job! The time and effort you spent putting this together really paid off, love the idea of the architecture!!!

  12. Melanie

    Oh my goodness the Paper Thing is THE BEST IDEA!!!!!!!!! I have always wondered how people did full photo walls because I could barely do 4 frames and make them look decent! So smart!

  13. Great ideas on the wall! I personally love to take frames and configure square frames and rectangular frames into square configurations; I think the symmetry makes them all more interesting! Great post!
    MissLaughsLot (@LDYPrefers2Save) recently posted…Spring Bulb Care!My Profile

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