...because home doesn't happen overnight.

A cinder block wall in the mudroom and sleeping munchkins in their beds forced us to give 3M Command hanging strips a try. I’m not gonna lie. I was leery. But it’s been nearly two months since we hung our original gallery wall and nothing has come crashing down. Consider me a nail-to-adhesive-strip convert. Today I’m sharing how I use the strips to hang frames.

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The mini gallery wall that I created above is actually on drywall – not cinder block – and I could have used nails in the wall. But I am so smitten with the adhesive strips that I decided to use them here too. I like that they don’t put holes in the walls {since I tend to tweak things around for a bit until I settle on a more permanent arrangement}, require NO measuring {hallelujah} and can be easily removed {great for renters or dorm residents}.

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To start a gallery wall, I play around with an arrangement on the floor in front of the wall until I get the look I’m after. I like asymmetrical but balanced. I glance at the floor arrangement then at the wall, back and forth, picturing the arrangement on the wall while HH worries that his wife has gone mad staring at frames on the floor and a blank wall. Once I’m happy with the layout, I take a picture with my phone or camera for reference. {see above} This helps when it comes to eyeballing placement on the wall without measuring a single thing. I choose one frame near the center of the arrangement to hang first. {I hung the large wood frame in this layout first.} Then I reference my picture for hanging all the other frames around the first. Hanging stuff on the walls doesn’t have to be an exact science. In the end, I added one more frame to this layout after I hung my original layout on the wall.

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For the adhesive strips, I wipe the areas of my frame and wall where the strips will touch with rubbing alcohol. This assures a clean surface to adhere the strips to. On most frames, I use three pairs of strips. On larger, heavier frames I use four pairs of strips. The label does recommend against using 3M strips above beds and for very heavy items or antique items that you don’t want to fall. I say use common sense.

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I take two strips and sandwich them together adhesive sides out. {You should hear a nice crunching sound which tells you that the strips are catching one another.} I remove the adhesive backing from one strip and adhere it to my frame making sure I line it up with the edge of the frame so that there’s no hangover that might peek out from behind the frame on the wall.

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I repeat until I have all my strips on my frame. On narrower frames, an overlap can make changing out the frame’s contents difficult but not impossible. The strips could be cut in half lengthwise but I am lazy.

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Then I remove the adhesive backing from the wall strips and press my frame to the wall, applying constant pressure for 30 seconds.

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When I’m hanging a completely new arrangement, I’ll use a little level on top of the frame before I press it to the wall. Otherwise, if I’m adding to an existing arrangement, I visually level the frame by lining it up with other frames already on the wall. If you aren’t confident in your eyeball-leveling abilities, then by all means, use a level every time.

Here’s where I would like to point out that once you apply pressure to the frame, it ain’t movin’. Be sure the frame is where you want it before you push. The 3M label says to remove the picture frame from the wall once the wall strips are placed and allow them to fully “set” for one hour. I never do this. I just leave the frame on the wall. I’m such a rebel. But you should do what the label says – even though I’ve never had a problem skipping this step.

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Something else I discovered this week…the strips come in white or black. Since our newly moody walls are nearly black, I bought all black strips for the mini gallery and to tweak the existing gallery above the fauxdenza.

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Using the white strips on dark paint isn’t the end of the world but when you look at the frames from the side, you can see the white strips more readily than the black ones. Use white strips for light walls and black strips for dark walls for a seamless look.

And that’s it!! No nails. No tape measure. No problem.

I will say, from my short-lived experience with the adhesive strips so far, I would not recommend using the strips on uneven, rough or bumpy walls. The strips need a really good flat surface to adhere to. The same goes for your picture frames.

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I remove all picture hangers from the backs of the frames when I’m working with adhesive strips. This gives me a nice smooth frame surface. And don’t think table frames are out of the question. They can totally work!

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I bought this table frame wanting to use it as a wall frame.

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So I removed the table prop insert from the back so the frame would mount flush against the wall.

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I’ll use tape to secure a picture in the frame. So feel free to get creative with your picture hanging! Don’t think you only have to use wall frames. In fact, the wood frame under the white fan frame was once a table frame too. Which brings me to this…

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I tweaked the gallery wall above the fauxdenza. Some of the frames are empty but I wanted to share my progress in real time. Stuff happens so slowly and gradually here.

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I removed the canvas art and two frames from the left side of the layout. They felt off. In their place, I hung a few more IKEA RIBBA frames and one more of those distressed wood frames from Target that I can’t get enough of.

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Seriously, guys. These are my new favorite frames…and this post is not sponsored whatsoever. I bought several of these frames back in January for the photo shoot and I’ve since added two more to the mudroom.

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There’s a picture of our very first house in Illinois. Lots of memories {and DIY!} in that house. We brought Layne home from the hospital to that house.

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I have to show you a closeup of this one. On the left is Everett as a newborn. I took the picture on the right after Everett had his leg casted. Yes, he broke his leg when he was 16 months old. He’s that kid. If you’re thinking Layne looks happy about it, you would be correct.

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On the opposite side of the gallery wall I switched out a few frames for the two table frames I mentioned already and added another square RIBBA on the far right.

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Things are feeling more balanced with these tweaks. And now a bunch of pictures of pictures to take you into the weekend.

Everett asked me, “Mom, why are you taking pictures of pictures?”

Because your mom is crazy, Everett. Cray-cray mommy. That’s why.

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Happy weekend!

FYI – If you’ve ever wondered how downsizing and moving with kids goes…here’s a little interview all about our experience.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

51 Comments

01.March.2013

I love the picture hanging strips too! I have started using them here and there, when hanging things it seems even after I measure and check 3 times, I pound nails in, and something doesn’t line up- this is so much easier!

the gallery wall looks fantastic, and that paint color- I am in love with dark paint colors- and am now thinking of where I could put this color :)

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01.March.2013

Love Command Adhesives! I am never going to put another nail hole in my walls for some that is lighter weight and less than permanent! I really like that they allow you position and adjust your frame. Often times, I look at photos of gallery walls and notice that a frame is hanging crooked. That doesn’t happy with Command Adhesive, they are firmly attached at 2 points and can easily be adjusted if necessary.

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01.March.2013

So you wouldn’t recommend using these on grasscloth wallpaper? I just can stand to put a nail hole through it so I have huge empty walls…. bummer.

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replied on March 1st, 2013

Hmmmm…I don’t know. Maybe try one and leave it up for a while to see how it goes?? I think if the grasscloth is fine enough, it may work.

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I don’t know what I would do without my 3M hanging strips! They are such life savers for hanging up mirrors and pictures and anything else! They are all I’ll use…unless something is heavier. I don’t want anything crashing down on our hardwoods haha.

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01.March.2013

And if you’d like to be even more of a rebel, try cutting them in half (lengthwise) to completely eliminate the overlap on narrow frames… They work just as well and cost half as much!

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replied on March 1st, 2013

Yes, you could totally cut them to size! I was being lazy.

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01.March.2013

I love these things. I finally have stuff on my walls!

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Love the additions to the gallery over the fauxdenza!

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01.March.2013

I’ve been cursing my orange-peel walls ever since I saw your first post mentioning the picture-hanging strips! Oh how they would make my life easier! Oh well, I guess I can’t have it all. But, I HAVE figured out an awesome way to hang frames – especially ones with finicky picture-hangers on the back: Photocopies! I just lay a frame, back-side down, on my scanner and copy away – perfect template for hanging even the trickiest frames! And it’s just paper, so you can nail right through it then tear it away. Thank you Pinterest!

P.S. I am also in LOVE with those Target frames. I bought some with no purpose in mind just knowing if I didn’t they would be sold-out later!

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replied on March 23rd, 2013

omg that is an awesome idea Angie!!!

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Don’t you love those? So practical, I don’t even need to wait for anyone to help me find the right spot since they’re adjustable. I’ve been using them for ages, and used them for my last project. Looks lovely!

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01.March.2013

You are so right about these strips. After your first gallery post I bought some to hang letters in my kitchen and they are awesome. Thank for the tip.

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01.March.2013

Glad to hear they work for somebody. After following the directions to a T and using them to hang an advent calendar, I ended up with a huge hole in my sheetrock and having to repaint an entire room. They may hold things up well, but I don’t trust them to remove easily. I’d rather patch a tiny nail hole than the huge disaster I ended up with.

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01.March.2013

I love command strips! They’re easy, no holes, and very strong.

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01.March.2013

Love everything about this! I just finished a gallery wall in our office and am realizing just how much fun they are! Especially when they include sentimental photos and artwork. :)

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I love the 3M strips as well. I didn’t realize they had them in black now! I have a bunch of black frames that have white strips on the back that are noticable. I also have one spot on my wall that will NOT hold a frame! I have a gallery wall in the hallway and one of the pictures keeps falling down!! http://whatdoesshedoallday.com/a-bump-in-the-night/

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replied on March 1st, 2013

Weird. Maybe it’s the wall?

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01.March.2013

Dana,
I’ve been planning my gallery wall for awhile now. I have a hard time with committment! You inspired me to stray from my original plan of a symmetrical, matching-frame design with your original gallery wall post. I finished it a couple weeks ago and I love it. I love mixing in different kids of artwork and textures. I also used the Command strips and they worked well on my swirled, textured wall. The only thing I don’t like is that I can see the white strips behind the darker frames. I wasn’t aware that they have black. I’ll have to change them out.
Both of yours look wonderful and I absolutely love the new paint color in the “Everything Room”. Could this be my most favorite tweak of yours yet???

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02.March.2013

i just love your style. it’s so refreshing and wonderful and warm. you’re doing an amazing job with that little underdog. you’ve got me convinced that less really can be more- something my husband is super jazzed about.

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02.March.2013

Awesome job on tweaking the gallery wall. It looks great! I love the wood frames and how they play off the table. Your dark colors have inspired me to paint my office navy. Fingers crossed!

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02.March.2013

Wow, you nailed both of those gallery walls! Well… actually, you didn’t nail them at all, you Command stripped them, ha. They are beautiful, though. I love the mix of dark walls, white and wood. Pinning now!

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03.March.2013

I haven’t used these, but will have to see if they are available here, too. But I wanted to mention that I love the mix of your frames against that dark wall. And that new flowery frame is extraordinary.
Jule

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I used to use a hammer and a nail to hang my frames, but now I just use Command Strips — so much easier, and I can center the frame wherever I want without worrying about finding a stud.

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03.March.2013

Wow – what a gorgeous room! Its just perfect! Love the dark paint with the pops of wood and white, so beautiful. Question – what color is on your kitchen walls? And do you know what color would be similar to the Ace Basalt color but in Behr, Sherwin or even Valspar? Don’t have an Ace near me……

Thank you and I LOVE your blog!

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replied on March 4th, 2013

The kitchen is Benjamin Moore tapestry beige. Next time I’m out at Home Depot, Lowe’s or Sherwin Williams I’ll have to look for a Besalt lookalike.

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GORGEOUS! That is one fancy beautiful gallery wall and I’m loving the command strips idea!

PS: I just hopped over from the Home Depot blog. I’m doing the patio challenge too and wanted to stop by and say hello! I’m pretty much head-over-heels for your nursery. In LOVE.

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04.March.2013

The fauxdenza gallery is a show-stopper. It gives the room a refined and lived-in look. I keep worndering where the abstract stone wall will show up. I really like that piece!

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04.March.2013

I can patch nail holes in my sleep I have so many from hanging a picture and then moving it around. I can’t wait to try these knowing they work. I have always been kinda hesitant.

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04.March.2013

Kind of random, but I love that bag! Where is it from? Thanks

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replied on March 4th, 2013

Amy Butler!

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04.March.2013

I see you drink OLIVER WINE…..I live in the town where it’s grown and bottled! My favorite!

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replied on March 4th, 2013

Soooooooo gooooooooood.

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04.March.2013

This is probably a totally dumb question, but how do you remove the frames if you need to? Don’t you have to pull the tab, and if so, how would you reach it?

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replied on March 4th, 2013

The frames come off the wall strip by pulling them off. The two adhesive strips {one on the frame and one on the wall} separate and you hear a sound much like ripping velcro apart. The wall strip comes off the wall by pulling straight down on the adhesive tab – much like the 3M wall hooks if you are familiar with those. You can leave the strips on the back of your frame if you want to hang it elsewhere. You’ll just need new wall strips. If you want to remove the adhesive strips from the frame, you do the same…pull the tab straight down. Does that make sense?

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replied on March 4th, 2013

Yes! Thank you!

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04.March.2013

You first house looks exactly like my current house – minus the great archway you had. Love Midwest bungalows!

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And then, you could frame the picture you took of your gallery wall, and include it in your gallery wall, and then take another photo, and include it in your gallery wall, and then, and then…. your kids would probably have you committed (mine are probably making the call now);-)
I love it, is what I meant to say. You inspired me to go ahead and put up my own gallery wall in the staircase!
Thanks, Dana!!

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05.March.2013

I LOVE those distressed wood frames from Target! I’ve purchased two of the largerst ones in the last month & am planning to grab a couple of the smaller ones. They’re so great!

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05.March.2013

I have been reading your blog for awhile and I have to say, I LOVE everything that you have done with your “everything” room. It has been a few years since I did a gallery wall, but your room is inspiring me to step it up. I created a mini gallery wall in my entry hall with your inspiration! (and I totally gave you credit for it on my blog!) Thanks for sharing your decorating experiences and tips!! You’re ahhh-mazing!

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08.March.2013

Love both of your gallery walls, especially how you’ve mixed frames of different shapes and finishes. Inspired to tackle my own this weekend – thanks!

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12.March.2013

Hi! Love your design process, and such an inspiration for a SAH mommy whose obsessed with interior design with no professional background on the field.
I have a question totally unrelated to the strips, but seeing the chairs here reminded me of my question. Where are your dining chairs from or brand? I’ve seen the plastic molded rocking chairs, and some with wood legs or metal legs. The chairs of your legs seem to be different. Anyways, I am looking into PB’s Ava fixed round table, and while I love the seagrass chairs, I kinda wanted something different. Thanks in advance!

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12.March.2013

Is that Oliver wine I see? An Indiana girl’s staple!

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13.April.2013

Where do those gorgeous horns come from? Love!

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replied on April 15th, 2013

The horns are faux and I bought them at an outlet in southwestern Ohio – Home Emporium. It’s a great store! There inventory is constantly changing. They carry a lot of high end items from Restoration Hardware and the likes.

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06.May.2013

You have such great style. I am in love with the entire room but adore your light fixture. Do you mind sharing the source?

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replied on May 6th, 2013

The light is Crate & Barrel’s hoyne pendant.

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12.January.2014

Love the gallery wall! Where is the buffet/side board table from? Love it! :)

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replied on January 13th, 2014

It’s a fauxdenza seen here…

http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/01/15/diy-fauxdenza/

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27.February.2014

Does it pull of paint?

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replied on February 28th, 2014

Not if removed properly…by pulling DOWN on the adhesive strip, not away from the wall.

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