You guys know I don’t hesitate to hang things on our rental walls with nails. Every rental we’ve lived in has allowed it (with the requirement that we fill any holes larger than a quarter); and until all the peel-and-stick technology really advanced in recent years, nails/screws were really the only (good) option for hanging things securely. Since I was comfortable with making holes in our walls (and filling them) and it was what I had always done, I never really gave using Command Strips much thought until a friend of mine recently hung her entire gallery wall using them. Our current walls are textured and I’m not quite sure how filling them will go, so I figured it was a good time to give this popular nail-free technique a try too. Wouldn’t you know it…I found hanging a display of frames with Command Strips so much quicker and easier than using standard hardware. However, I found the actual process of measuring and hanging the frames much different. Today I wanted to show you how to hang a gallery wall with Command Strips so you can get the same well-spaced, secure, and removable display in your own home!
Applying the actual Command Strips to your frame and the wall is pretty straight forward: you just follow the directions on the box. It was the measuring, determining the final placement (because you can only stick them on once), and the leveling of the frames that took some ingenuity. Here is the process I followed to get awesome results on not one but two different gallery walls in our entryway!
What You Need
To hang a gallery wall with command strips, you will need a few things:
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- Frames (obviously) – but if you want to use this method, be sure you pick frames that have a solid surface along the back of the frame that you can secure strips to.
- Command Strips (obviously) – I found buying combo packs that contain different size strips (Small + Medium and Medium + Large) quite handy for hanging a wide range of frame sizes.
- Template Paper – Wrapping paper and brown paper bags are both great options for creating templates.
- Painter’s Tape
- Level – A mini level is ideal for this project so you can easily rest the level onto the frame as you’re sticking it to the wall.
Step 1. Clean off Your Wall
Anything that involves peel-and-stick technology is going to require that your walls are clean to ensure the adhesive works as well as possible. Since I was going to be hanging frames…with glass…in a high-traffic area…in a house with children…I wasn’t taking any chances. You don’t need to go crazy, just run a damp cloth or microfiber rag over the wall where you want to hang your frames.
Step 2. Create Templates of Your Frames
Creating templates of your frames is a good idea for any gallery wall project, but I found them quite necessary for this kind of installation. Not only do they help you design and properly space your display before sticking anything to the wall, but they will also help ensure your frames end up in the exact right spot when it comes time to actually stick them to the wall. To create templates, trace your frames onto wrapping paper, paper bags, or other large paper you have on hand.
Step 3. Stick Templates to the Wall with Tape
With templates created for all of your frames, you can set to work desinging your arrangement and measuring out your spacing. If you’re going for a more random and collected display, place and tape and re-place and re-tape your templates until you land on an arrangement you love. If you’re doing a very symmetrical or ordered arrangement (like shown here), be sure to take time to measure precisely at this stage in order to determine the exact spacing and layout you want. Once you determine the final placement for each frame you will be hanging, use tape (painters tape is probably best so it won’t pull your paint, but I found clear packing tape worked just as well!) to secure your templates to the wall. Although you don’t need to tape all the way around the template, be sure they are centered, level and relatively secure to the wall.
Step 4. Transfer Template Placement to Wall
If you were hanging your frames with nails, you would be able to puncture right through the template and place a nail hole exactly where you need it. But that same process doesn’t work when you are essentially using stickers to hang your frames. In order hang your frames in the exact right spots (that you so painstakingly determined in the previous step), you will need to transfer your template placement to the wall so that you can fully remove the template and put the frame in its place. I found the best (and most inconspicuous) way to do this was to create tiny dots on the wall at each corner of the template. These tiny dots will serve as your guides as you stick the frame to the wall. Once you are confident you can see your tiny dots around each template, go ahead and remove your templates from the wall.
Step 5. Apply Command Strips to the Frames
With all of the placements for the frames identified, it’s time to ready your frames for hanging. I recommend using the directions on the Command Strip box for determining where and how to put the strips on your specific frames. You might be tempted to skip the waiting time, press for less duration, or use less strips than the directions call for. I was too. But again, you’re dealing with potentially big and heavy frames filled with glass, so I chose to follow the directions to a T. I haven’t had a single frame fall down yet!
Step 6. Stick Frames to the Wall
Okay! It’s finally time to stick your frames to the wall! Woo hoo! To do this, you will use your small dot guides and your level to ensure that your frame is not only where you want it, but also level. After trying a few different ways, by far the easiest and best results come by following these steps:
- Remove the sticker backing from the strip that will go on the wall. Yep…go ahead…take them off.
- Find one of your guide dots (it really doesn’t matter which one), and line the corresponding corner of your frame up with that dot.
- Go ahead and press the Command Strip on that same side onto the wall, securing that one side of the frame to the wall in line with the dot.
- With one side secure, place the small level on top of your frame.
- Use the level to determine the final placement of the other side of the frame (yes, you can still slightly adjust the frame up and down with one side stuck to the wall), and then stick the Command Strip on the other side of the frame to the wall.
- Press and hold your frame in place according to package directions.
Step 7. Remove Frames to Allow for Curing
With your frame on the wall, in perfect placement, you will be very tempted to leave it in place. However, the directions recommend removing the frame, letting the strips cure, and then placing the frame back onto the strips. It sounds scary, but it’s not. Your little dots are still there to guide you, so go ahead and remove the frame using their directions. Lift the bottom of the frame away from the wall, ultimately separating the two Command Strips and removing your frame from the wall.
While your strips are curing, go ahead and repeat Steps 6 and 7 to hang the rest of your frames on the wall.
Step 8. Re-Hang Frames on Wall
With all your frames hung (and then removed) and your strips fully cured, you can safely hang your frames back up…for good this time! Use the exact same process you did in Step 6 to re-hang your frames. If you’re very precise, your strips should line right up and you will be able to essentially “click” the strips together and your frame will be back in place and fully secure to the wall!
Using Command Strips to hang pictures on the wall was a really interesting process for me. While it did take a bit more work (templates, cure time, re-hanging the frames, etc) and the strips themselves are quite a bit more expensive than simple nails or screws, I actually found that I had more control over the exact placement of my frames and got much, much better results using Command Strips. Not only was getting the right arrangement and spacing much easier, but I also love that the frames don’t move when someone slams a door hard or they are dusted.
It’s quite possible that I am just bad with hammering a nail straight into the wall, but I always find that there is a lot of variability in that process. The frame never ends up quite where I wanted it. With this method, where you stick it is where it stays. The two gallery walls I’ve now hung in our entryway using this method are the most straight, well-spaced and secure displays I’ve ever hung…and the fact that I didn’t make a single hole in the wall (and therefor have no holes to fill!) is the cherry on top!
You all might recall that these State frames started in our family room when we first moved in. After a few months of living in this house, I determined the entryway was a much better spot for them (plus, moving the frames to the foyer allowed me to add the vinyl stripe to the living room wall). I know you guys are antsy to see how the other big gallery wall turned out – I’ll be revealing the entire entryway here soon!
If you’ve never given Command Strips a try, I highly recommend it. They take some practice and you do have to re-think about how you hang frames, but I find the results so much better. Since doing two displays in our entryway, I’ve now hung two more collections (Henry’s room and the playroom) using them as well. If you’ve tried them, I’d love to hear any tips or tricks you’ve discovered along the way!
Hope you’re having a great start to your week! See you back here Friday!
Posted In 2 - DIY & Home Decor, California '16, DIY Decor, Rental Solutions, Renter-Friendly Walls, Tips & Tricks