This past weekend, I finally tackled a project that has been in the works since well before we moved – I hung our playroom alphabet letter gallery wall!
I wanted to make sure the whole thing was centered pretty well above our couch and that there was a little bit of order (but still an organized chaos) to the letters, so I knew that I couldn’t just start hanging without a little bit of a plan in place. I thought up this idea for making a template for the letters before I got started, and it ended up working wonderfully! This would work well for any complicated gallery wall – the process is pretty straight-forward and definitely doesn’t have to be used for just letters. Plus, this template is really inexpensive. I think I paid a dollar for the drop cloth to do this? You can’t beat that!
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Check out the method to this madness below:
Hanging Letters (I got an amazing deal on our set of letters…they were a quarter a piece at a local discount store about a year ago. Unfortunately, they’ve been discontinued from what I can tell, but it’s the Kidkraft brand and the style is preppy, sweet, and dreamy… if you really need them, you can still find some online!)
At least 50 1/2″ to 3/4″ nails
One very inexpensive plastic drop cloth (it needs to be a cheap one…get as thin as you can find. This is the one I used.)
First, measure the space you want to fill on your wall. Mine ended up being 70″ wide by 48″ tall.
Lay your drop cloth out on the floor. Weigh it down at the ends and make sure it is as flat as possible (with few lumps or pulls in the plastic). Cut the plastic to about 20″ bigger than you need it to make it a little easier to work with (so I cut mine to 90″ x 68″).
(It helps to wear socks while doing this!)
Measure out the space you’ll be working with from the wall and tape off the edges with masking tape to give yourself a little bit of a frame.
Now, lay your letters out the way you’d like them on the wall! It takes a little bit of tinkering to get this right…there’s really no science to it. Make sure they’re centered in your frame and level with the rectangle you’ve measured off. Once they are the way you want them, make sure to take a picture to reference while you’re hanging them in a minute.
Next, use your finger to find where each nail hanger is on the back of each letter. Don’t move the letter, but carefully put your finger underneath the letter and mark the spot it touches on the drop cloth. Move the letter carefully and mark your spot with a sharpie on the cloth to note where your nail hole will be. Most of mine had 2 nail hangers, so I had to make sure I put the letter back where it was originally to mark the second hole too. I wrote the letter on each nail hole set to reference what I would be hanging on those.
Once you mark all of the nail hangers for a particular letter, you can move the letter out of the way for now.
Once you mark all of the nail holes, you can put the template on your wall! I trimmed it back to where I had marked the edge of the frame before I put it up.
IMPORTANT: Before you start the next step, make sure your template is level and centered.
Hammer a small nail (1/2″ to 3/4″ was perfect) in each hole mark on the template. Hammer in all of your nails before attempting to hang the letters.
Now the fun part…let’s hang those letters!
Starting at the top, slowly (2-3 letters at a time) peel off the drop cloth to leave just the nails. Hang a few letters, then move on to the next ones. I did it slowly so I wouldn’t start confusing which nail holes went with which letters.
The nails will hold your template on the wall until you’re ready to peel it away to reveal your nails for hanging.
I used a few half inch nails to secure some of the letters to the wall that weren’t very snug. For example, the b and the k in the above picture were hanging off a little…I just put a small nail at the top in the crease of those letters to secure them. It’s not super noticeable.
It’s exactly what I was envisioning when I planned out this space! It adds the perfect little bit of whimsy and fun to this room.
Best of luck, DIYers!
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