Running from the Law: Home Project in Progress - Staircase Frames

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Home Project in Progress - Staircase Frames

The stiarway leading upstairs to the bedrooms in our house has been completely empty and really bothering me.  It's not a super huge space, but we needed something to fill it and give it some personality.  And what a better way to do that than with a stairway photo gallery!  I'm not much of an "art" person - I'd much rather look at pictures of us and our friends and family (does that make me vain?  oh well, I think we already knew that).  Anyway, I started looking for inspiration pictures and ideas for a stairway photo gallery.  I didn't find many, but here are a few.

As much as I like the "Pottery Barn look" of doing all matching frames, I thought it would be more interesting (and less matchy-matchy) to do a variety of different shapes, sizes and colors of frames.  Plus, I'm not really into precision and measuring the exact space between frames and getting out the level and all that, so the non-matchy hodge-podge idea appealed to me.  So, I've been collecting frames over the last few months.  Any time I was in Target  or Hobby Lobby or Pottery Barn or Michael's I'd pick up a frame.  I finally had about 30 frames to work with. 

Step 1: Use plain paper, cut to the exact size and shape of your frame to use as a template.  I took all the frames I had and numbered them.  Then I made a paper replacement for the frame to hang on the wall and numbered it the same as the frame.   I used white paper because our walls are tan, so they showed up well.  If you have white walls, consider using a darker shade of paper.  Tip: When tracing the frame, flip it over and mark the spot where the nail would go.  This will save you a lot of time.

(Sorry again for the crappy quality of the pictures.  My camera is still out sick and these are from my cell phone.)

Step 2: Put the paper replacements on the wall, where you think you want them.  By using the paper and tape, I could place them where I wanted to get the right look without having to drag frames around or attempt to "visualize" (yeah right).  This way I could rearrange again and again and get everything exactly where I wanted them without having to make a million different nail holes if I changed my mind. 

(Mally helped)

Step 3: Since you've already marked where the nail will go, get your hammer out and go for it!  Hammer the nail directly into the paper, then remove the paper and replace with the frame.  Viola!

As you might notice, there are still 4 frames that have yet to be hung.  They're really high!  I don't know how in the world I'm going to be able to reach up there to hammer in the nail.  Ryan could barely reach high enough with a stick to place the paper frame.  Anyone have any ideas?  Anyone know someone 9 feet tall?

Also, I still need to replace all the stock photos in the frames with real photos of us.  I wanted to get them all hung up and ready before making decisions on what photo will go in which frame, so I can distribute them equally and balance the colors.  This is probably just me being completely anal.  What's new.  I'll update again with the final product once I get real photos in the frames and get the last 4 hung up. 

So, it's still a work in progress, but getting better.  I think it looks pretty good!  Do you like the non-matching frames?  Should I have gone with all the same color?  Leave a comment and let me know!


  1. What a FANTASTIC idea! We have started doing this in our stairs, but not with all of the planning ahead you did. We are about to start on the other wall, so I will definitely be using this technique!!

  2. Hi Mally!

    I really like the non matchy matchylook so much better. Then again, I'm kind of a fly by the seat of your pants type person, so, that explains a lot.

    It looks really good! I'm also a fan of photos versus art--I figure, I know the people in the photos and I really like them--I want to see them :) I'm trying to do a gallery wall like that on this big empty space we have in our living room, but, currently, it has one big huge photo in the middle of it, and I guess I have to work around that. Hmm...

  3. PS. Thank you so much for the donation for OperationJack--I really appreciate it :)

  4. That looks great - I love the non-matching frames. I need to do this same thing in our house. Our staircase wall is totally empty, and it's hideous! But I had no idea how to get started... this helps me so much! I'm putting frames on my Xmas list now =)

  5. Your frame hanging technique is genius! I'm definitely going to have to remember that in the future!

    PS- Thanks for the tip about the videographer. I think we're going to hire one now! ;-)

  6. The paper templates are a great idea!! thank you for the tip!