How To Make A No Template Gallery Wall

While cleaning out closets for the garage last week, I pulled together a group of frames I had collected - mostly from thrifting. Although some of the frames and pictures I sold during the sale, there were some I had been meaning to put up. I've been wanting to make another gallery wall in the dining room, so Monday I dove in and just did it...

Without running out to buy anything new and using what I already had, here is how I made this gallery wall...

Use what you've got.
I've gathered a collection of frames through thrift & free ones being discarded at my old job. I cleared the space in front of wall and start configuring layouts. After I got the configuration I wanted, I took pictures of the layouts and did a little editing. I didn't want the wall completely filled, so I didn't use some of the frames / mirrors. 

Measure twice - Nail once.
I usually like to use the top of windows or doors as a "water mark" or guide for a starting point. My windows are 12" from the ceiling, so that's where I wanted the top of the frame to line up. I measured from picture wire to the top of the frame to know distance for nail hole. For the side-by-side pictures, I used a level. Since my wall is dark, I used chalk to make my markings, which wiped off easily afterwards with a damp sponge.

No template needed.
I had stacked the frames to the side to clear space, brought in the ladder, and started working the wall from the center - top - down to fill it.

As I worked my way out from the center, I brought over the two plant stands, to help line-up the best place for the frame to hang above it. Since I wanted them to be at the same height, after nailing one on the left, I measured the distance between the nail and the ceiling, and just used that centered with the stand on the right.

After the frames were hung, I removed & replaced each, one by one, to clean & replace pictures. I didn't want to use B&W photos - I was looking to add some print to the dining room for Fall, so I used animal print fabric, and scrapbook paper. You could also use calendar images cards, shopping bags or printed wrapping paper.

I found this great frame found while thrifting last year, (for only $7) but I didn't care for the painting - so I removed it and covered it with some faux leopard (great print for fall - and it's just a small dose). Since I ran out of staples for the gun, I had to improvise: I used a desk top stapler for the straight edges, and thumb tacks to secure the corners. Then I nailed the canvas back into the frame and hung it on the wall - LOVE it!

Clearing space, creating layout and hanging frames = 1 hour.
Cleaning frames & re-framing images plus cleaning up = 2 hours.
A simple afternoon project =)

I usually used this cluster of discarded fitting room frames as a quad (in group of four). This time, I singled them out and used only two.

I always liked the distressed finish of this thrifted frame 
I picked up last year at Faith Farm for only $3. 

More thrifted items: The pair of sconces I found earlier this year  at a church thrift shop for $5 for the pair. Both bamboo gold frames were found at Faith Farm in Ft. Lauderdale - but at different times. When I opened the lower right frame, someones personal photo (and address) was still inside. I'd like to post on FB to try to get it back to its owner. It was $7 and the top right frame was $5.

Here is the break-down of the gallery wall frame collection.

So if you've been thinking about doing a gallery wall - JUST DO IT!!
Whether you reuse frames you already have, or collected a
few new ones while thrifting, it's an easy afternoon project.
Maybe try it this weekend =)

Thanks for stopping by!



  1. That's awesome. I really need to get some more frames to finish my gallery wall. It looks great!

  2. just did a gallery wall in my own home. but boy do i love yours. i love that your frames stretch the length of the wall. brilliant. well done and thanks for posting.
    happy friday, friend.

  3. Hi Lynda!

    Thanks for visiting my blog. I love your gallery wall post! I'm always so nervous about putting stuff on my walls that I never do it! So I'm taking your advice and going for it :D

    Can't wait to read more of your posts :D

  4. I'm still working on a gallery wall I started about 3 months ago using frames and items I already had when we moved. I love what you've done here. So much inspiration to get me motivated again.

  5. Looks great Lynda! I cannot resist a good thrifty frame either :)

  6. Thank you!!! xo I was nervous too (even scared at first) to do the first one I did about 2 years ago... After that I did one for my mom, and I did a smaller one in our bedroom last Christmas.

    I think what might have been so un-nerving was the thought of it being permanent or the thought of making a mistake - but you can still always change it and you can't make a mistake!! All you can do is try. This one actually was done the quickest.

    Have a vision. Make a plan... and HAVE FUN making it happen! Thanks for stopping by!

    xo Lynda

  7. Lynda, that looks so beautiful! I love that you added the fabric and things to the frame. It makes such an impact! I started a gallery wall of family photos upstairs and I just add to it every so often. I started in the middle with no plan or idea and have just worked my way around! I love it!!! I love the soft browns in your dining room. I can just see it transitioning into a fall spectacular!!!

  8. Do you think this would work out on a stair wall? That's about the only place I have where there is a lot of wall space. Yours looks wonderful, and I really like the animal prints in the frames.

  9. WOW!

    I'd love for you to share your EXTRAORDINARY wall on my link party... I hope to see you there! Pinning right now!

  10. Beautifully done Lynda!

    I love changing my gallery wall. While there are some design "rules" to follow, what makes your heart go pitter patter is the best design choice.

  11. This is stunning! Thanks for the tips! I need to do this in my hallway.

  12. Your gallery wall looks great! And I love the slipcovered chairs. Did I ever tell you that your home on RateMySpace is what first inspired me to blog? I just love how resourceful you are! :)

  13. Your wall looks amazing! I could not have one because I would go nuts all day long making sure they are level.

    BTW - I am your newest follower.

  14. WOW!! Thanks so much!! xo Your sweet comments just made me smile ;-) YES Scribler!! You can most certainly accomplish this look in a stairway - I posted some inspirational pics the post before this one - or you can also use slim floating shelves at the stair landing wall to create a rotating gallery.

    I'm honored Lovely Little Nest xo Thanks for the invite Desiree!! And to help frames stay straight, Toni - just use doubl-stick foam tape on frame backs.

    :D Lynda

  15. I have been dying to try a frame gallery wall and you just inspired me to do it! Your wall is gorgeous and literally looks like it stepped out of a design or home decor catalog. I love your use of animal print too - so fun! I am a new follower! xo Meggan

  16. I love it Lynda, and I really like the new color to the dining room wall... did I miss the post when you changed it?

  17. This is totally incredible. I love it. Hugs, Marty

  18. OMGosh, it looks great! I ♥ how that turned out Ü

  19. It's stunning! You've created a gorgeous gallery. I love that you did this using what you had! Great job, Lynda! :)

  20. Looks terrific. This onces going in my favourites for future reference

  21. Wow your gallery wall really looks amazing..great job! Julie

  22. The gallery of frames is wonderful without a doubt ... but I can't get over the wall behind them! Would you PLEASE advise how you got that color and texture?

  23. Whenever I think of gallery walls, I think expense for the frames and "artwork". This is such great inspiration for using odds and ends and making something wonderful. It makes me sad that I got rid of a few frames recently.

  24. I love everything about this room! I want to move into it and live there forever hahaha! Thanks for sharing your tips :)

  25. You're phenomenal! Congrats on the feature from Under the Table Dreaming!

  26. this is one of the best gallery walls I have seen..they are my thing for sure. have been doing them in my home forever..way before they were cool..yours is wonderful...pinned it to my boards on Pinterest..

  27. That is simply one of the most beautiful gallery walls I have ever seen! It looks like it came straight out of the pages of a magazine. I love how you reused what you had and came up with such a stunning display! Pat yourself on the back lady:)

  28. Bravo! I absolutely love your practical writing and tips. I too and embarking in a rental in the next 72 hours. I am dreaming, pinning, and scanning over tons of ideas to make it "home". Your site has been a wealth of knowledge. Thank you!! By the way I live in Palm Beach. Love hearing about your finds in our neck of the woods. :)



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