Photo walls are a really great way to add interest and colour to a blank wall space. The problem is you will need to take out a small loan to buy all of the frames you will need (for photo walls, in my opinion, more is definitely more). The alternative of course (the one we all secretly want to do) being that you source your frames from flea markets or vintage fairs or skips. This will definitely save you money, but will take you a few years to find the amount you need, by which time you will have forgotten what they were for, filled the space with something else, or moved.
We have a really big blank wall in the hallway of our home that was crying out to have some photos on, but neither of the options above seemed too appealing. I had a little think about alternative ways that I could make a photo wall, that would be quick, cheap and impactful, and came up with a solution that I think looks pretty, didn't cost a load and took a few hours to put up.
First things first, you need to sort out what photos you want to display! I decided I wanted all of mine to be square and the same size, with a thin white border, just like old photos that my parents have from when they were younger. To make the display more interesting, I wanted to have some photos in black and white and some in colour, and I wanted very natural photos, none that were overly posed, so when looking at the wall it feels like you are looking into private moments.
I messed around with all of my chosen photos in Instagram and saved them to my camera roll, which meant it was easy to upload them together. Using Instagram also meant that the photos were all cropped square, which saved me time not having to do that later on the computer. (At first I was only editing these on my phone when I was on the train and had no signal as I didn't want these photos to all be added to my Instagram feed. Then I realised that you can just turn 'Airplane mode' on, edit to your hearts content, and all the photos fail to upload to Instagram, but save to your camera roll. Wish someone had told me that before I started...)
I used Photobox to get these printed as they are one of the only online printing services I could find that would print square, they do a 5 x 5 inch (12 x 12cm) option with a thin white border which was exactly what I wanted. They were really cheap and came within a few days.
I then just had to find something to hang the photos from, I used a beautiful hand dyed 1.5 cm silk ribbon, but any ribbon around this width will work.
Once your photos arrive, you need to prepare them to be hung. To do this, I cut a 1 inch slit in the top and bottom of the photo, for the ribbon to be threaded through. The photos were 5 inches wide, so to make sure the slits were all in the same place I just lined the ruler up and cut between 2 and 3 every time.
I also wrote on the back of the photos their date and location as I hate looking at photos and not remembering where and when they were taken.
Next I laid out all of the photos on table to figure out the order, I didn't want to get too many colour photos together, or photos of the same people next to each other. This helped me decide how many rows I was going to have and how much space I wanted between rows, so I knew the total width of the 'work'.
Now I knew how wide it would be, I could work out where it should hang. I measured the width of the wall, and put masking tape on the floor to mark out where each row needed to be hung to make it all central. As the ribbon was going to be hung very high, I made a plum line (from some string and a medal - boyfriends, not mine, obviously...) climbed up the ladder and marked the wall where my hanging plum line met up with my markings on the floor. I then hammered in picture nails to these marks, and these are where I would tie my lengths of ribbon from.
Working row by row, I attached the ribbon to the picture hooks (and tied a bow at the top) then threaded my photos up the ribbon. I stuck some masking tape across the backs to stop them sliding down the ribbon. Attaching them like this means they are very easily moved, if you want to re-arrange them when they are up, or shift them to add more photos at a later date.
I used 39 photos, and I thought that would be way too many, but now that they are all up I think I definitely need more. I will perhaps also string up things other than photos to break it up a little. I may also add beads at the end to stop the loose ends moving in the breeze.
In total, this probably took me around 3 hours to complete, so definitely an achievable rainy day project. The ribbon was the biggest expense, at £24.75 for 15 metres, but I had lots left over, and we do have ridiculously high ceilings, so I over-estimated the amount I would need. Plus I think I bought the most expensive ribbon available on the internet. The photo printing cost £11.99 for 39 photos, but I stupidly ordered in two lots, so paid postage twice.
For under £40 I'm really happy with how this photo wall turned out, I like how easy it is to move the photos around and add more, plus there are only 7 small nail holes in the wall now, compared to the hundreds (well, maybe not) that there would be had I used individual frames.
I'd love to hear your comments, and see your photos if you have made your own photo wall.
Bye for now,