Picture Frame Collage

I have attempted frame collage walls in two of my past apartments. I guess I just like the grand look and the personalization of adding all your own photos or prints that mean something to you in those frames. And then, the way you can change out the pictures in the frames whenever you want a new look.

In the past I had never really been satisfied with the way the frame walls turned out. Both times I had used plain black frames in a few different sizes. Since Matt and I have been living together he tends to prefer – and tends to sway me to his side – light color schemes and accessories. I was all about black and white before we moved in together. Our living room/dining room/entrance area is painted a light blue color and we’ve started to use a lot of white accent pieces and accessories, so we decided that white frames would undoubtedly look best, and we decided to try and mix in different styles of frames.

Here’s another little secret: we love Young House Love and we’re often envious of (or obsessed with, tomato tomahto... ) John and Sherry’s design ideas, so when we saw that they did a frame collage wall too (albeit on a much bigger scale) we were excited to put ours together.

We knew we wanted the wall to be anchored by something in the middle. Over the summer I found an artist who made really neat typographical prints of Syracuse that we both loved. So I bought a large print in yellow because we thought it would look nice with the blue and white, and we centered it on the wall.

And then it just stayed there for a few months. Matt had designated the frame wall as mine to conquer and gave me free reign over it, but I was hesitant to start hanging frames until I knew what I wanted to hang in those frames. But finally I got fed up with my own laziness and just decided to go for it.

We decided to use 3M adhesive strips to hang the frames instead of nailing them into the wall. It seemed a little more expensive to buy all the strips but we thought it was well worth it if it meant we didn’t have to repaint that wall someday if we decided to move the frames.

The first thing I did was gather all the frames I planned on using and traced templates of them using magazine pages. This way I would be able to move them around a lot easier than heavy frames and I would be able to tape them to the wall to get a clear idea of what the frames would look like once they were on the wall. I know maybe some people can just eyeball something like this, but I feel like I have to plan everything out first. So first I laid them out on the ground and played around with the arrangment until I got something I liked.

The next step was to tape the pages on the wall (and for a brief moment I pondered just leaving the pages up there to enjoy the bright colors):

If I had been nailing all the frames into the wall, the magazine pages would have been even more convenient because you can just measure where your nail should go on the magazine paper while it's still taped to the wall, hammer the nail into that spot, and then pull the paper away.

Then I slowly started replacing magazine pages with frames, making sure to keep the frames at least 1-1/2″ apart in order to achieve a little consistency. I knew if I tried to just throw them up there, it would look exactly like I just threw them up there and not like some effortless yet creative masterpiece. I also tweaked my design a little bit as I went just because I seemed to find arrangements I like better once I could see the frames on the walls.

And without further delay, the (almost) finished product:

The arrangement of knick knacks on that table drives me a little nuts, but for now we have no other shelves or surfaces really to decorate, so they’re just all hanging out together for the time being.

One of my favorite aspects of the collage wall is the texture from using frames with different depths and designs:

As you can see, I still have to choose pictures and prints to put in the frames. And I ran out of 3M strips and need to get another package before I can hang up the final frame at the top center. But overall, hanging the frames was a huge improvement and the room doesn’t look quite as empty anymore.

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3 thoughts on “Picture Frame Collage

  1. Have you filled in any of those frames with artwork or more pictures yet? I’d love to see what you’ve come up with. I’m at that exact point with my own wall and need ideas. haha

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