How to Hang a Symmetrical Gallery Wall [Diagram]
Hey there. I know I already posted a photo of my new gallery wall and my YouTube video but I wanted to make a quick reference with a diagram as well. (Not everyone is into watching videos like I am!) After making several mistakes and having to re-do the whole wall I figured out an easy way to make sure the spacing is perfect. So here goes...
1. Lay out your frames on the floor and figure out what spacing looks good. I like to keep groupings like this pretty close together. I used 3” spacing for mine. (My frames are 13.75" w X 16.75" h) The rows and columns should have the same spacing. Take an overall measurement of the frames including spacing.
2. Find the center (left to right) of the area that you want to cover with your frames. On that center measure up 60" from the floor. This is approximate eye level. Most artwork should be centered on eye level. I say most because there are always exceptions to the rule. If there isn't a specific reason why you are hanging something higher or lower, then eye level is the safe way to go.
3. Before you move forward take your overall gallery measurement you did in step 1 and make sure it will fit at that eye level. I have a vent right above my gallery wall. On my first attempt I went off of 60” and started with the middle print. Then I realized the top print would be impeding on the vent. I just had to move it down slightly so instead of centering it on 60” mine was more like 57”.
4. You will now figure out where to mark for the middle frame and work your way outwards. (I used 3 across but if you are using four photos across or any even number just pick the right middle frame and work from there.) Now that you have the mark at 60” on center you need to figure out where to make your mark for the first frame. (Remember you are centering your first frame on the 60" so you don't want to put a picture hanger at 60" because the frame will be too low.) Look at the way your frame is to be hung. (These are usually a saw tooth picture hanger or picture wire but not always). Measure from the top of the frame down to where the nail or picture hanger would hold the picture. Divide the height of your frame in 2 and then subtract that measurement. This will be the number of inches you will measure up from the 60” mark. Mark this with a small precise dot. Erase the 60” mark. This should give you the placement for the nail or picture hanger to hang the first print in the center. Don’t nail anything until all the marks are made.
5. Before you move forward with any other measurements look at the back of all of your frames and make sure the hangers are all at the same measurement from the top. Don’t assume because you have the same frames that they will all be at the exact same point. (This time around mine were but I’ve had issue in the past where I didn’t check and figured it out after I had all the holes in the walls.) If they aren’t you will need to take this into account in the measuring.
6. For the frames that will be above and below the middle one you will take the height of your frame plus the number of inches you want to have in between for the spacing. Example: mine were 13.75” wide with 3” spacing
13.75 + 3 = 16.75” or A + B = C
From the center point measure up C and down C and make a precise mark.
7. You can now use those center marks to measure over to the left and right. This time you will use the width of your frame plus your spacing. Example: mine were 16.75” wide with 3” spacing
16.75 + 3 = 19.75” or A+B=C
Use this C measurement with your level to measure to the right and to the left of each center mark. As long as you used your level precisely and measured accurately your frames should have perfect spacing. (If you have any issue with the spacing of your picture hangers you will need to adjust the each measurement as you go)
8. Go ahead and pound in your nails or picture hangers (or screws with anchors). My frames were very light so I used nails and they are fine. If you have heavier frames make sure to use what is appropriate for the weight of your frames.
9. Hang your frames and have your level close by. You will likely hang them and think you messed up. Each frame will need to be leveled and adjusted. If you are using the saw tooth hangers you have to make sure the nail is in the center of the teeth. You will be able to tell if it isn’t in the center. As you level and make sure each frame is hung correctly use mounting putty to secure them in place. This will keep them from moving slightly and then looking off. I usually just put a little blob on each side of the bottom of the frames.
Your frames will likely look like this at first until you use the level and add the mounting putty to keep them in place once they are leveled.
This is the type of mounting putty I usually use but there are other brands that will work just fine.
Voila, stand back and admire your new gallery wall!
If you are in the planning stages of your gallery wall I suggest using some graph paper and planning it out to scale beforehand. This can help you figure out what size frames to buy and how much space it is going to take up on your wall. I hope this is helpful. Let me know how it goes!