I wanted a high-end look on a low-end budget.  I also wanted to hang my pictures as perfectly as possible without investing a day in doing it.  I managed both!  Check out my quick, easy AND inexpensive gallery wall!

*This post contains affiliate links to the items I purchased and used.  For full Amazon affiliate disclosure, please see sidebar or bottom of the page.

I was adding some finishing touches to my master bedroom makeover this weekend and I made a video on Instagram showing how you can hang a perfect gallery wall in less than 15 minutes.


The video did REALLY well, so I thought I’d share it here too (for those of you not on Instagram).

First, let me show you what I wanted:

Nine by nine gallery wall - Pictureplays
Click image to be taken to PicturePlays website


A nine frame by nine frame square gallery wall.  I found this set on a website called PicturePlays and it was PERFECT!  You can change out the frames for whatever colour etc you want, they come matted, and PicturePlays will even insert your photos before sending the entire set to you.

Fantastic!  I almost placed an order…

Except that my total came to about $505 US (~$650 CDN) plus taxes, plus duty…  it’s a LOT.

I called a local framer and showed them the same image and asked for a quote on something as similar to the above photo as they could manage and their quote came in at $112 per frame – $1,008 CDN (plus taxes).

If you have the money – by all means, go for it!  I’m sure the quality is impeccable.  I just don’t have that kind of budget to spend on one wall of my house…

I did a search on Amazon for a 15″ x 15″ square frame and found these 16″ x 16″ Natural Solid Oak Wood Picture Frames:

Opposite wall poster frames


They are slightly larger than my initial gallery wall plans, but the price tag (above, in CDN) was definitely more in my ballpark.

(I did check Ikea, but the largest square frames they sell is 12 ½” by 12 ½” – they are however, only $10 Cdn!)

16" x 16" frame

I will tell you that these are considered “poster frames” – so aren’t as fancy as (obviously) custom framing and likely not as detailed or elaborate as the ones from PicturePlays – BUT they are wood frames!  I’m VERY pleased with the quality to be honest.  Not plastic, not cheaply held together; they do have plexiglass instead of actual glass, but I would have ordered plexiglass anyways to stave off a bit of yellowing.

What they don’t have is a mat board to make them look like custom framed pieces.

Easy enough fix!

I bought this Logan Do it Yourself Mat Cutting Kit for this mat cutting post a few years ago and between my parents and I we have turned many a dollarstore frame into an actual piece of art just by including a mat.

Logan Mat cutting kit

You can buy uncut picture mats in just about any colour, but I had black/white leftover from when I made my Dad’s jersey case, so I was set to go.

I traced out the insert from the frame onto the mat and cut it with the included knife.

Quick and easy gallery wall

Logan mat cutting kit

The appeal of the gallery wall I was looking at was that the frames were square, the overall layout was square, and the photo area was also square.

I went with an 8″ x 8″ opening (so I didn’t have to buy photos larger than 8×10).  This meant marking my mats 4″ in from all sides.  Draw it out on the back:

cutting a mat

The mat cutting kit provides you with a bevel cutter as well as a straight blade, so you just line it up with your lines and slide.

Quick, easy, inexpensive custom mat!

Insert your new mats into the inexpensive frames and you are almost done!

This is the part I love the most – hanging the gallery wall in the fastest, easiest and most accurate way possible (this is also the video that did so well on IG).

How to hang a quick, easy, and inexpensive gallery wall

  1.  tap 2 small finishing nails, on on either side of the back of your frame.  Leave the heads of the nails standing out of the frame about ½” to ¾”.
  2. find the centre of your wall, and the centre of the first (top, centre picture)
  3. line up the centre marks.
  4. place a level on top of your picture frame.  Once level – shove the frame into the wall.  (the nail heads will poke into the drywall)
  5. use the level to space your pictures equidistant apart – top, bottom and both sides. This is true whether you choose to do a square gallery wall like I did, or a random-sized-frames wall – the aesthetic and balance is in the equal spacing between frames.
  6. check for level each time and shove your pictures into place!

Quick, easy and inexpensive gallery wall

Poster frames guys!

This gallery wall could have cost me over $1,000, but I got the same look for considerably less!!

Quick, easy and inexpensive gallery wall

Now I just need to send photos over to Staples to print so I can fill up the rest of the frames.

Oh!  I didn’t tell you!  That’s kind of the best part!  You can easily change out the photos in this gallery wall by undoing the clips in the back of the frames.  Something you CAN’T do as easily with custom framed pieces!

I’m so thrilled that I just had to share.

Quick, easy and inexpensive gallery wall

So… you want to know how much mine cost?

I’ll give the breakdown including the mat cutting kit and mat board (since that’s what you’ll need to replicate this), but I had both already from previous projects.

PicturePlays came in at $505 US and my local custom framing quote came in at $795 US

Did I write the word “THRILLED” somewhere in this post?  Because I really, really am!

Have a great one!




Linked to:  Between Naps on the Porch