How To Hang A Frame Collage With A Sheet Of Paper

We finally got a frame grouping up on the wall in the playroom/future big-girl room. And as predicted it was definitely inspired by the bean. It’s full of things we think will be helpful and fun for her, and when it came to hanging it we tried a little alternative to our usual paper template method (which we outlined here when we hung our hallway frame wall). This time around we tried an old Candice Olson trick. Basically you use a giant roll of paper to make one big template (we used some protective paper from Home Depot leftover from our kitchen reno). Do you guys remember when she used to do this all the time back when her show had that sceee-bah-dee-dap-deee-dow-ahhh scatting intro? The good news is that any type of paper will work, so even if you just have a few pieces of printer paper taped together or a poster board or two, it should accomplish the same goal.

The first step to this project was bringing in all of the frames and art we have (most of which was cluttering up this room when it was a junk room, and was later tucked into the closet in the guest room) and laying it all out on the floor. Sure, it makes the room look crazy for a second, but it’s nice to see everything all spread out.

Then we just shuffled things around on the rug in a few different arrangements and switched things in and out and up and down until we liked the look of things. Oh but one tip is to measure the wall and take a guess about how wide and how long you want the arrangement to be and lay out two tape measures if you have them, just like we did below. That way you can try to build an arrangement in that predetermined width and height.

Once we were happy with the arrangement, we broke out the paper from the basement and cut a piece to that size. If we were smart we would have built the arrangement on the paper to begin with, but it only took about a minute to slip the paper under everything so it was sitting on that instead of the rug.

After we made sure we liked everything’s placement by nudging a few things around just a little here and there, we broke out the marker and traced the outline of each item onto the paper. That made it look sort of like a kid’s puzzle (easy to reassemble, if you know what I mean). Of course it’s important to use a marker that doesn’t bleed through and mark up your rug (we used a washable black Crayola marker from Clara’s collection since we worried a Sharpie might go through). Oh but just marking the art’s outline isn’t all. The key is also to mark where the nail – or nails – need to go on each item in order to hang it.

That way when you tape the paper up on the wall you know what goes where from the outline and you know where to actually put the nails thanks to those “x” marks you’ve made on each one. As for how we pinned down exactly where each nail should go on the template, we just measured where the hook or wire was on the back of the frame (ex: centered and an inch down from the top) and transfered that measurement to our paper by marking the center and going down an inch before making an x for the nail spot).

Oh and one “duh” tip would be to make sure your paper isn’t slanting up or down on the wall or you’ll end up with a wonky arrangement (we grabbed a level and ran it along a few parallel frame edges that we had drawn to make sure they were level before proceeding).

Then you can just hammer a nail right through the paper at each marked nail spot to hang things.

Then just rip the paper down after you add all the nails. They happily stay in the wall and the paper should come down with one swift tug.

Then you’re all set to hang each item on the assigned nails. Boom. No measuring at all.

As for the significance of the stuff we framed, we thought the clock would be functional since a few friends of ours have said they’re great to have in big kid rooms since you can say things like “when the short hand is on the eight you can get up in the morning.” Not sure if she’ll take our word on that once she moves into this room, but it’s a nice romantic idea. Ha!

A few items are especially meaningful book projects that we did (the Virginia cut-out art, the zig-zag paint chip art, the navy frames that a bunch of things are hanging inside, and the wood painted art with a Richmond monument on it). Then there are some other things in the mix like the red and orange painting that Clara made herself…

… and a sweet free printable that I got here and filled in with colored pencils.

There’s even a fabric napkin from HomeGoods that I grabbed for a few bucks and have been dying to frame.

I just cut it down to size and shoved it in. You know the girl likes flamingos…

And on the bottom next to the framed former-napkin, there are two plastic trays from Marshall’s a while back (they’re meant to be serving trays, but I just used 3M to hang them up among the mix).

We like how the navy in the frames and the whale trays ties into the curtains we made.

So that ends the giant paper template adventure that left an old blank spot in the room looking sweet and personalized for the bean. What are you guys hanging? Ever use the giant piece o’ paper technique? Have you hung any trays or napkins on the wall? Do you sort of miss that weird old scatting Candice Olson intro? I don’t think I realized how hilarious it was until it was gone. I took it for granted. Sniffle.


  1. says

    i like this method better than having separate sheets. do you remember the brand name of the paper that you used? i have a set of four pictures that i need to hang, but i’ve been putting it of because i didn’t want to deal with the fuss with trying to align all of them separately.

  2. Kara says

    I still keep up a framed piece of artwork that my nephew made when he was 3 years old. People always comment admiringly on it and I love the looks on their faces when they hear a 3-year old made it!

    Love the assembly!!! I don’t think the paper trick would work for a larger area when you only have one person wrangling with it.

    • Alisha says

      I remember walking into a college friend’s family home for the first time and seeing this big, amazing painting framed near the entrance and being surprised it was a finger painting she had done as a little girl. This was back in the early 00’s (WAY before Pinterest, haha) and I had never seen little kid art framed before. I was taken with how the frame and matte made the art feel more substantial–and how just the paper not being wrinkled (like kid art usually is) highlighted the art and made it feel treasured.

      Can’t wait to do this myself someday and glad to see you are doing this for Clara.

  3. Mel says

    This has such a sweet look to it! I’m always amazed at your eye for picking unusual pieces (like that fantastic whale) and making them play well with your other choices. Clara is a lucky girl to have amazing, thoughtful parents like you both!

  4. Lauren says

    Looks great! The 3M strips are such a smart way to hang the trays. Do you have plans to hang something to the left of that window? I was surprised you didn’t hang these things there– can’t wait to see what you do with that big space! :)

  5. says

    I am in lurrvvve! Such a cute little collection. I love how they all have some type of meaning. And OMG, those whale trays. I have been wanting those a while, ever since they were on a Joss and Main sale and I missed out. I’m so jealous you found them at Marshalls!

    • says

      Oh yes, I frequently see things that are on Joss & Main on other places (sometimes, sometimes HomeGoods or Marshall’s, etc). So I usually try to search to see who has the best price or just snatch something up in a store to avoid shipping or having to wait for it to pop up on J&M again if it’s not currently for sale. I’ve also seen giraffe trays that are similar on J&M and at HomeGoods!


  6. says

    Clara’s big girl room is coming together so nicely. I love how you are pulling in some unexpected color with the blues and I love the whale trays!

    So, so bummed I missed you guys in Charlotte last night. I live in the Southpark area and don’t get to the university area that much. Needless to say, I got lost and drove around looking for B&N for an hour and a half :( Hope you guys had a nice trip and made it back safely.

  7. says

    I cannot tell you how much I love this arrangement! I’m particularly crushin’ on the whale and how it’s broken in two. I’m also oddly relieved to see the pic that says “I love everything about you” doesn’t say what I thought it said in the first pic which was “I young house love you!” ROFL! I mean, you’re obviously entitled if you wish but it cracked me up at the thought.

  8. says

    I loved Candice’s old show! Chico was my fav for sure!
    We just used this method to rehang our medicine cabinet and mirror on the wall during our bathroom reno. Super handy!

  9. Karen F says

    the paper template idea is genius! i’ve tried this using individual pieces of paper for each frame, and it never comes out right. I also can’t seem to measure where the nail needs to go. this makes it look so easy! I just repainted my daughter’s bedroom and am dying to hang some art in there – I’ll definitely give this method a try!

    I love all the pieces you chose! are you going to move/replace some of the personalized pieces from her frame wall in the nursery into her new room?

    • says

      Since she still sleeps in her crib in the nursery I think we’ll hold off moving anything from that room just yet, but some personalized things could definitely could migrate in here down the line :)


    • Alisha says

      I’ve been curious about the same thing! I was wondering if “Someday Baby” was going to be inheriting all of Clara’s sweet lovelies from the nursery or if they would be making the move with her and “SB” would be getting their own art and projects.

      Glad someone besides me was also curious!

    • says

      Oh yeah, no worries about Someday Baby getting neglected. You guys know we love personalizing things, making art, and decorating, so we’re definitely not going to just leave our future child with paltry leftovers. Haha!


  10. Maureen says

    Thank you for this! I was always really intimidated by the other way you did the frame wall for some reason. I recently moved some dining room furniture around and now have 2 giant empty spaces of wall on either side of my china hutch. I think I will use this technique and get some things on the wall! Do you think it would be too much to have a collage on either side of the hutch?

  11. Jessica says

    I had to hang a set of alphabet cards (from Half Price Books for $3) I had individually framed in 99 cent Walmart frames above my son’s bed- total project about $30 framed! That’s where the project got tabled for two months. It was overwhelming to figure out how to make it look straight and evenly spaced- until I looked at the back of my wrapping paper after Christmas and realized it was a giant GRID! Perfectly measured without the hassle- put marks for each nail hole, put the paper up on the wall and hammered away. Ripped the paper down and there were all the nails waiting for my DIY art.

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