Decorating Quick Tips

Incorporating Family Photos and Hanging them Up

Wrapping paper for tracing pictures
Wall of family photos

Family photos cover the walls in this image from “Living With What You Love”

With five (soon to be six) children, six siblings, six siblings-in-law, nine nieces and nephews, forty-four aunts and uncles, and over 200 first cousins, between my husband and I, we have a lot of family.  Obviously with families that big I don’t hang up pictures of everyone, but since moving to our new home I seem to have gone to the other extreme and hardly have any photos up at all.  So now I am in the process of trying rectify this situation…tastefully.

While contemplating what to do I stumbled across a book recommendation for the book Living With What You Love on The Inspired RoomBook CoverIn the book Monica Rich Kosann teaches how to incorporate the things you love into your home whether it’s heirlooms, jewelry, your pet, or family photos.

One reason the opening photo from the book inspired me is because I’ve always steered away from pre-made collage frames, but the owner of the pictured home certainly wasn’t afraid of them.  Nor were they concerned about exactly matching all the frames.  The “almost” unifying characteristic is that most of them have the same colored mat and a darkish frame.

Now the question is, how to actually get a whole bunch of pictures to look good together.

I found the best way is to lay it out first either using painter’s tape squares, or as seen here from, using actual papers cut to size.

papers on wall

In case perfect brown butcher paper is scarce at your house like it is at mine you can use your least favorite Christmas wrapping paper.  Just lay the frames on the paper, trace and cut.  Wrapping paper for tracing picturesThen start arranging to your hearts content.  Just be sure to use painter’s tape so you don’t hurt the paint on the wall.  No need to repaint unless you have to.

Paper squares on wall

The first two squares of a picture collage

Here’s our collage of the kids.  This arrangement is at the bottom of our stairs in the main hallway.

Kids photos on wall

Because of the central location of my family collage it was constantly being jarred crooked by my kids who never run up and down the hall, or bash into the walls playing nerf guns, or knock things off the walls twirling as princesses, or anything like that. Never.  But upon a daily basis I continued to find the collage crooked.  The best solution I’ve found is a little BLUESTIK by DAP.

If you’ve never heard of BLUESTIK you might have heard of Plasti-Tak, Blue-Tak, or Fun Tak.  Another one is Scotch Adhesive Putty.  They’re all very similar, just different brands.  Growing up we just called it sticky-stuff.

Put a little piece of “sticky-stuff” on the back of the frames on the bottom corners and the crooked problem is quickly solved.

If you’ve never used sticky-stuff it’s great.  It holds things on the wall remarkably well without damaging the wall or the paint.  (It can damage paper though, so I suggest putting a piece of clear tape on the paper before using the sticky-stuff in that spot.  Of course the back side of a picture frame should be just fine.)

Finally the most important tip I’ve discovered for displaying family pictures is that it’s okay to sacrifice the background.  Digital images are easy to crop, and most programs used to download your pictures to the computer, or online ordering service, have some sort of cropping tool.  Go ahead and zoom in!  Capture the faces of the ones you love and make them the focal point.  Sometimes it can even be fun to get really close to see all the details.

I can’t wait to get this one framed and on my walls somewhere.  I think it might be a good one for the bathroom.Close face of wet girl

I could couple it with a cropped version of the following photo.

Boy all wet

Total Sweetness after running through the sprinklers

Nothing like pictures of water in the bathroom.

Happy picture hanging.


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