How to Display Photo Frames

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Photos are captured memories that grasp a fleeting moment in time. New digital photo frames allow multiple images to be stored in a single frame, which is particularly nice on a bedside table where space is limited. But we often want to display our photos so that we experience the presence of our family and friends close to us, while at the same time, we want our photos to be visually pleasing beyond their content.

Things You'll Need

  • Framed quality copies of original photos 3-5 yards of kraft paper Pencil Scissors Wall anchors and screws Package of picture-hanging materials Power screwdriver Level Small hammer Wire cutters Small ruler Tape

Displaying Photos and Frames

  • Unroll your kraft paper on a large table or floor. Trim your paper with scissors so that it is the same width as the space where you want to hang your frames.

  • Lay out your frames starting with the largest. Do not line them up. Arrange them with one or two high and one or two low and try not to group similar frames together unless all of your frames are exactly alike. Fill in the empty spots on the paper with your smaller frames (go from the largest to the smallest). Each frame should be the same distance apart, so use your ruler to check distances. Keep arranging your frames until you achieve a nice balance of color and weight. Have other people look at your arrangement as well. This is a project where second opinions are often useful.

  • Draw around your photo frames with your pencil, being careful not to disturb frames you haven't outlined yet. On the paper note the contents of each photo in the square where it was positioned. This gives you a template and guide. With each frame in your hand, measure and mark where the photo hanger is placed on the back of the frame and mark the spot on your template. This will give you the location of future screws and hangers. Do all of your frames this way, removing each when you are complete.

  • Take your paper template to your picture wall and tape it firmly to the wall. Try to make sure your frame outlines are generally level. Place this template so that the middle of the paper is at eye level for a person of average height. This is about 5 feet from the floor. If you are installing this arrangement on a slanting wall (such as a stairwell) then do the same process but stand on the stair at the center of the proposed arrangement to select your height.

  • Poke a hole in the paper at each hanging point and mark the wall. Do this for all of your frames. Remove the kraft paper.

  • Install your wall anchors (excellent for heavier frames) and photo hangers, appropriate for lighter or some wire-back frames. Make sure you allow for the hanging "spot: to line up with your mark. Some photo hangers are angled hooks, so you want the bottom of the hook to align with your mark as this is the spot where the hanger is on the back of the frame.

  • Hang your photo frames by simply matching the photo with the template. Your photos should create a balanced and pleasing arrangement. Use copies of photos for displays around your home. All of your original photos should be stored in archival boxes out of direct sunlight. Your wall or displayed photos are likely to fade over time, even in indirect sunlight.

Tips & Warnings

  • At the arrangement stage of this process invite a few close friends over whose decorating opinion you value. Getting the arrangement balanced is the key to a pleasing wall display. When you hang your photos you are likely to find one or two that hang higher or lower than you intended, leaving an uneven white space between pictures. Don't worry about it. No one will measure your gaps. Being close is usually fine in large installations. This is one reason you don't want to line up frames. Add good lighting to show off your new display.
  • Pay attention to the weight limit on hangers and opt for heavier hangers for safety, particularly where the wall is exposed to traffic such as in hallways or staircases. Use screw-in-wall anchors for large pieces and double screws spaced two inches apart on extra heavy pieces. Use museum putty to stabilize large pieces in areas subject to small earthquakes.

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References

  • Photo Credit NinaMalyna istockphoto#5427010
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