In my past few places I've had a nice gallery wall of special stuff, including our engagement photos, vintage photos of people we love, some photobooth shots and even some cute little notes from the Husband from when we were dating. I love every piece of it, but hanging it was, frankly, a bitch.
The first time, nothing was aligned (and not in a cute way), there were holes everywhere and it was in no way was what I had in envisioned. Turns out you don't have to jack up your walls and drive yourself into a decorating fugue state. There is a better way.
The DIY geniuses over at Young House Love have a templating technique that is just too good not to share. Here's how it works...
Pick your spot and the art you want to put up. It's good to have a mix of sizes and shapes, so that you get that collage effect, but every space is different. The good news is, you'll have a chance to feel it out before you ever start hammering, so you can be flexible.
Use some old newspaper to trace and cut a template for each frame. Great way to recycle your old copy of a local food paper (thanks Sauce!).
Here's where it gets brilliant, use a pencil to polk through the newspaper where the frame hangers are on each. No measuring needed and no worries if your cheap-frames have inconsistent hardware. The template is doing the work here, not you.
Once all of your templates are cut and marked, start arranging with tape on the wall. Give a few arrangements a try and add/remove items until it's just right.
Once you find the arrangement that speaks to you (I sound like Oprah and that's fine by me), simply hammer in nails where you marked for the hardware on the template. See? No measuring... I promised.
You hammer right through the newspaper and then just tear it away. Hang your art on the perfectly placed nails and make sure nothing is tilted. Voila... gallery wall complete!