Introduction: Photo Wall Composite

Do you have an excess amount of photos laying around in your computer? Nobody can see them there! Instead you should create a centerpiece to your living room with a photo wall. This is an easy project that can be completed in an afternoon once you have your prints.

Step 1: Plan Your Wall

Determine the look you are going for with your photo wall. There are many options when it comes to layout, picture shape, or paper color schemes. We went with a grid pattern because it looks great and is easiest to position. You can always be creative and try other patterns.

Step 2: Choose and Print Your Photos

Make sure you choose more than the required amount of photos to make your photowall in case they screw up your prints or the quality is not what you expected. Choose your theme if you want or be completely random. We went with a nature theme with bright colors and limited human subjects. Print your photos using your preferred printing company. We used parabo press as they had great reviews and had competitive pricing for thick paper. We loved our photo quality of their square prints and they came within a week. Only one of their pictures was slightly off-center on the stock.

Step 3: Choose Your Layout

Once you get your pictures, one of the most important steps is determining your layout. Depending on your goal this could take a lot of time. We decided to try to separate pictures by their color and theme (i.e., flowers, waterfalls, mountains). We did this on our living room floor so we could get a good feel for how it would look. Lock up your cats so they do not chew on the corners or walk all over your project. Once you have settled on a layout, number the back sides of your photos so you can be sure they are in the right order when you hang them.

Step 4: Prepare Your Photos for Hanging

We did not want to spend a lot of money on this portion of the project and we wanted to mount the photos directly on the wall without paint damage. Initially we used a combination of masking tape and double stick tape as our adhesive. This was a complete fail because the tapes would not stick together. The missing ingredient turned out to be sandpaper. After trying multiple methods we finally settled on the following procedure.

  • Scuff the entire circumference of the masking tape on 220 grit sandpaper until the waxy appearance of the masking tape is gone.
  • Place the end of the masking tape on the edge of a table and unroll the masking tape one revolution until the entire sanded portion is free.
  • Place the double stick tape on the sanded side of the masking tape and lightly press together.
  • Cut the tape at the junction right where the sanding stops
  • Cut this long strip into 1.5" strips
  • Place a strip on the top and bottom of each picture. This gave a small gap around the edges. You may have to go around the entire photo if you want no gaps/shadows.

You could just use double stick tape alone but we had fears that it could remove the paint when the photos were removed.

Step 5: Hang Your Photos

Find a straight edge spacer that you can use to easily maintain constant spacing between your photos as you hang them. Find the center point of your first picture and hang it making sure it is level as this will determine the layout of each subsequent photo. We used our top middle picture as our starting point and went outwards from there. Use your spacer to position the pictures with respect to the parent. We had slight variations in the sizes of our prints so sometimes the eyeball method was used.

Step 6: Admire Your Work!

Now have a beer.