Almost immediately after we moved in, I imagined a photo wall on the narrow wall between the kitchen and living room. It’s kind of a no man’s land for furniture. We tried a few things – a small table with a lamp and a small stool, a floor lamp. Each got the Pipsqueak treatment – pushing, dragging, hanging on, attempted climbs – and none passed. I finally decided clear and empty was best. But it also meant blank and boring. We are in the midst of painting rooms after which we will hang more on the walls but I grew impatient. The photo wall
I hope I’m not the only one who wondered how a photo decal wall came together. In the beautiful images I’ve seen around, everything is hung so perfect and straight but how did they do it? Do they happen to have a photo-wall-ready wall, one with the perfect dimensions? It probably has grid lines and everything. And no matter what image sizes are ordered, everything just fits, right?
*I used the peel & stick fabric posters from SnapBox. I’m certain you can use images printed in other forms with additional supplies like tape, mounting squares or frames even. The fabric posters make this really simple with their sticker-like backside. They are easy to hang, remove and rehang. With 15 sizes to choose from, I had lots of options on how to fill the wall.
Measure the wall. Get specific, at least to the nearest 1/8″.
Time: Fairly quick, as long as you know how to wield a tape measure.
Lay it out. Whether it’s physically on paper or digitally in a program like Photoshop, plan the layout precisely. I used Photoshop. I created a new board to the dimensions of the wall, 35 some odd inches by 95 something. Then, using the shape tool, I made rhombuses to the dimensions of the peel & stick posters and I plotted out the wall. It was a cinch to move the shapes around to find the best arrangement. Because I’m a nerd, I color-coded the decals by size and labeled them. If you are planning on paper, use other paper to make to-scale versions of the decals. It will make them so much easier to move about and adjust with much less erasing.
Insider secret: Sometimes the images overlap. This astonished me. It’s not one of those things you see in those gorgeous styled images. The prints don’t magically fit exactly in the space. There is overlap either to make things fit or to create straight edges. Scale back the opacity on the shapes in PS to see where the overlaps happened which, later, will help in putting the real wall together.
-Variety vs Uniformity. It all depends on your visual preference. A layout consisting of row after row of the same size image is striking as is a wall with varying sizes.
-Creating flush edges. Looking at the wall, notice the straight horizontal and vertical seams. If all the image edges laid out as they really are, all willy nilly, it would look messy and chaotic.
Time: This portion requires some time. First, to prep the parts to plan, on paper or in PS, and then to determine the best arrangement. Allow yourself to take the time so the final outcome is amazing.
Choose images. This part ranks second only to the completed wall. Bring on a memories! Comb through your image files and fill in the layout with images.
-Mixing it up! Don’t choose all perfectly posed images. It will give the wall a stiff, formal feel (unless you are going for that. In that case, carry on.) I find lifestyle shots are splendid and give it a relaxed feel.
-A cohesive look. To make all the images work together, use a filter or PS action on each one or change them to black and white. As you can see from my _________, I I love black and white images however, color images with a uniform color scheme would be gorgeous as well
-Phone pics. They work too! At least with SnapBox they do. Some of my favorite images of my children are from my phone and I’m so glad I was able to use them for the wall.
Time: This is another time heavy portion. Try lots of options, try lots of different arrangements. Photoshop makes this process easy too. Easy size manipulation, easy rearranging.
Hang it. Breathe deep. It’s almost done! The hard work of plotting out the wall is done, all that is let is to follow the plan. This is not to say the hard work is over, however. But, the view is quite lovely for this. :)
I think it makes the most sense to work from top to bottom. I began with the middle image at the top however, starting with one of the top edge shots would have worked too. Use the edge of the wall and the ceiling as guides. I’m skeptical of whether or not things are actually square so I occasionally checked my work with a laser level. I’m glad I did. The ceiling dips slightly towards the left edge.
Insider secret: Continually check your progression against the plan as far as arrangement, overlap and spacing. Only once did I use the tape measure to see if I was on track. Instead, focus on staying level. Perfectionism is not required but it would be completely silly to not use the plan.
See the overlap above. It really cleans up the edges.
Continue on until the wall is complete. And don’t sweat it if your children repeatedly questions whether or not everything will fit. You did the work. Of course it all fits.
I absolutely love it. It catches my eye throughout the day, even reflecting in the back windows and it all makes me smile. When we lived in a the rental, we didn’t unpack photos. It made it easier when we moved a second time, less to repack, but I missed seeing the faces of my babies and our family. I am thrilled to see them all now.
What do you think? Are you up for making a photo wall? I promise you will love it.
PS. I did this with all my children running about. Of course you can see Pipsqueak clamoring after my step stool. Also check the brown pillows. Doesn’t matter if I set things nicely, someone always has to dive onto the couch. :)
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