Mastering the Master Bedroom {Layered Frame Gallery Wall}

The very last project I had to complete in the master bedroom was to come up with something to fill a blank corner wall between two sets of windows.  The wall is one that you see when you walk into the room, so I wanted it to make a big visual impact.  Because I felt that little space was so important in setting the tone of the room, I also wanted it to be something unique.  After much consideration, I ended up with a wall of colorful, layered open frames.

This is such an inexpensive way to create art in a big space - Thrift store frames used to make a layered frame gallery wall via

Bestow my little thumping heart!  Every single thing I’ve placed in the bedroom brings me so much joy, and this wall is no exception.

It took me a bit of trial and error to figure out exactly how to hang the layered frames.  There are great tutorials for hanging filled frames in a layered fashion, but the open frames presented a unique challenge because you have such a small area from which to hang since there is no back on the frame.  Since I was finally able to figure it out, I’m happy to walk you through the steps in case you’d like to create a similar wall of your own.

How to Create a Layered, Open Frame Gallery Wall

1.  Gather a good number of frames in various sizes and designs.  You will want one very large frame, some medium ones and some small ones.  The amount you need will vary depending upon the size of your wall, but I used a total of 10 frames.  I found all of mine while making two different trips to Goodwill.  Look for frames with a lot of detailing.

2.  Next, measure the length and width of the space on the wall you would like to fill.  Since my wall was on the small side, I took the measurements of the entire wall.  Then, lay out paper the size of your measurements on your floor.  Butcher or brown kraft paper is often used for this purpose, but I taped together a few rolls of old wrapping paper that I knew I’d never use on gifts.  You’ll want to mark eye level on the frames and use this as a “center” point, as you traditionally want to hang framed art at eye level.

Take the old artwork and glass out of your frames, prime them (I used Kilz latex and a Purdy brush) and arrange them on the paper until you find a pattern that you like.  Use a pencil to trace the outline of each frame. I labeled each outline and frame with a corresponding number so that I could more easily replace the frames.

At this point, I decided which of my three colors – yellow, light grey or teal – to paint each frame.  I also labeled each with the color.

3. Next, you will paint your labeled frames.  You can use either spray paint or a brush – just make sure you get good coverage on each frame.  I used leftover latex paint from my yellow dresser (Sherwin-Williams Decisive Yellow), matching spray paint from my gray dresser (Krylon in Classic Gray), and a lovely teal spray paint that I found in my garage from another project (American Accents in Lagoon).  After painting, I used my trusty Ralph Lauren glaze tinted to Black Silk.  Really work the glaze into the detailing with a cheap, chip brush.  Work a section at a time and wipe the glaze off of the high spots with a wet cloth, wipe with a dry cloth to remove the bulk of the glaze that’s not down in the detailing, and then wipe with another wet cloth to make sure the frame doesn’t look dingy.  Mandi at Vintage Revivals has a great tutorial on this technique.

4.  Hang your paper template on the wall.  I just held mine in place with painter’s tape.

5.  Now, go ahead and hang your frames that will be directly against the wall.  I put two nails into the wall and hung them on the lip of the frame where the glass would usually go.  I used a level to make sure that the nails for each frame were level.

6.  Here was the tricky part for me.  I tried to use several types of construction strength adhesives to attach the 2nd level of frames to the first.  Perhaps it was they were painted, but nothing would adhere!  So, I ended up going the old fashion route – a drill and hammer.  The instructions make it sound a lot more complicated that it really is.

Take the first of your frames that would be on the top layer, and figure out where it would overlap the bottom frames.  On the back of the top frame, drill a small hole just large enough for a tiny wire nail to fit into.  Snip the head off of a wire nail with snips and put it upside down in the hole, so the pointy side up.  I did this in two places – you’ll want your frames to attach in at least two places.

7.  Take your bottom layer frame off the wall and lay it flat on a table, fancy side up.  Position your top layer frame (the one with the nails) where you want it on the bottom layer frame and push down.  The two nails will create little holes on the front side of the bottom layer frame.  Use your drill to drill those holes all the way through to the back of the frame.  In those locations, hammer finish nails in far enough so that the points start to come through the front of the frame.

8.  Take the little wire nails out of the top layer frame and position the tips of the nails from the bottom frame into the little holes where the wire nails used to be (both sides will now be fancy sides down).  Hammer the finishing nails in so they go about half way into the top frame.  Be careful that you don’t go all the way through!

You will likely have some of the nail head sticking up on the back of the bottom frame.  Just use a Dremel to cut the nail down flush with the back of the frame.

9.  Repeat that process for your other layered frames.

When you are ready, tear down the paper template and hang the bottom layer on your wall.  The top layer frames will hang with no problem and will be sturdy enough.  As long as you don’t decide to swing from them, they will hold on just fine.  I put 3M Command Poster strips on the bottom of each frame so they would stick to the wall and not shift.  Love those things!

The friends who have been to my house since I hung these layered frames have been blown away.  It’s an easy and cheap way to take up a lot of wall space, and the result looks incredible.  Do you think you have a spot in your home for something like this?

The reveal of the complete master bedroom is coming up next week.  Did you EVER think it would be finished?  I was beginning to have my doubts!  😀

 Linking up this post with Beth’s Tutorials & Tips Link Party at Home Stories A to Z.

Filed Under: Create Your Decor, Project Gallery

About Lindsay Ballard

Lindsay Ballard is a former college mascot turned political geek turned DIY fanatic who is conspiring to live in a Technicolor dream world. Her designs are bold and graphic, while her spirit is fun and full of color. Lindsay chronicles her projects and design ideas here at Makely, where she shares daily tutorials and inspiration. Lindsay lives outside of Austin, Texas with her husband (Tom), children (Zack and Emma) and dogs (Jack and Duke).


  1. Very nice, I really like this.

  2. I hate gallery walls b/c I can never come up with things to put in the frames. Here’s my solution!

  3. it looks fabulous and your tutorial is perfectly detailed and easily understandable.
    thanks so much

  4. FREAKING! awesome!!! Love it.

  5. LOVE this Lindsay, that teal just pops and the yellow is absolutely divine! Such a stylish accent, thanks for the how to!

  6. Serious love going on here!! I love the colors you chose too! Thanks for the tutorial! I may just give this a try.

  7. Looks great!


  9. Love it! Can’t wait to see the full reveal Lindsay! :)

  10. Hi Lindsay –
    I saw this photo on My Colortopia and thought wow. It looks awesome and I love the scale of the frames. My Goodwill never has beefy frames like that. I guess because you are in Texas and everything is done BIG there :) there are plenty. It looks divine and is so classic. Looking forward to seeing the entire room. Thanks for the link.

    My best- Diane

  11. I LOVE this! Definitely pinning. :)

  12. Great collage. Love all the different frames. Hugs, Marty

  13. Ah!! I’ve been looking for something like this!! I’m tackling my dining room this weekend and I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for… but something like this is it! Do you think it would look good if they were all one color too?? I was thinking all black frames…



  14. Ashley S. says:

    So cute! Very creative!

  15. I LOVE IT! I’ve never seen anything like it but it’s really amazing art.

  16. I LOVE it!!!

  17. This is gorgeous! I’m pinning your tutorial. :)

  18. That looks extra cool. Love the color choices with the dark wall. Only wish I had more wall space in my little apartment!

  19. Wow! what a great impact that makes. I love it. Thanks for sharing Lindsay.

  20. I just found your site and it is wonderful! Your wall of frames are beautiful!

  21. That wall is stunning! Great job!

  22. At the point where you have them all laid out on the floor/paper, it is really helpful to snap a digital pic of them, too, besides just drawing the outlines. Very nicely done. :)

  23. Lindsay – this wall looks gorgeous! Love the colors and scale of all the frames.

  24. Love it – the colors, the 3d effect … everything. Glad to have found you and following along!

  25. I am completely in love with this project. I couldn’t love the colors or the layout any more than I do. I’m currently collecting tons of frames to do a collage in my dining room over the Graham and Brown “Frames” wallpaper and think that an overlapping collage just might be the way to go! Thanks so much for the inspiration!

    If we were doing Beth’s party for her next week, you’d totally be in my top 5!
    (and Jess)

  26. This looks amazing! I never thought to layer frames like that. Works perfect for that wall space.

    I’ve been dying to try glazing. I actually am working on a set for our video room at work and had bought a bunch of frames to make a gallery wall. Now I’m wondering if I should layer and glaze them up after seeing this :) Great job!

  27. Drama Mama Lori says:

    Lindsey, this is really pretty! I would have NEVER thought to try it in different colors. Amazing! – L

  28. Absolutely love the gallery wall! But I also have to admit I love that your ladder is covered with paint from previous projects!! I thought I was the only one with a crazy, messed up ladder! You rocked it girl!

  29. that looks so awesome! great colors!

  30. Love this idea!!! All the color are so pretty together and the layering just takes it to the wow level!

  31. Holy Toledo that looks hard. I’m trying it on a smaller scale. if you are ever in St. Louis, let me know before you get here and we can hang out. My friend and just went to the goodwill outlet and SCORED stuff for future projects. el cheapo, mah friend.

  32. This looks amazing!

  33. Beautiful! I just love the texture on the frames and the accent colors. Great job figuring out how to hang everything too!

  34. This is really pretty much AWESOME! Thanks for sharing and all the tips!

  35. Elizabeth says:

    I came across your blog today and pinned this project. It’s now been pinned close to 100 times thus far. I would say this project is a big hit. I can’t wait to try it myself. I have just the wall for it! I hope this sends some traffic your way!

    • Glad you found me! It’s been an overwhelming response, that’s for sure! I keep running across where a single pin has been repinned over 300 times, over 200 times, etc. Pinterest sure is fun! :) Thanks for reading!

  36. I found your blog a few days ago and I am very inspired by your articles. This project looks great. I hope you don’t mind if I write a post about your blog with a link so my readers can also enjoy your articles. Great Job.
    My blog is . Please visit if you would like. It has only been up for a few days so forgive the simpleness right now.

  37. i’m in love! I shared your post here:

  38. This is amazing! Wow, wow, WOW!! I can’t wait for the whole room reveal.

  39. Hi Lindsay,

    I clicked over from CG and love, love, LOVE your layered frames! AND the colors you chose. The dimension and the drama are awesome!

    I would be thrilled if you would link this up at my second ever Feature Friday FREE-FOR-ALL…going on right now (we had almost 300 links last week…can you tell I’m excited??! : ))

    Would love to have you by for a visit!

    P.S. I’m a new follower. : )

    ~Abbie (

  40. Love It!!!

  41. It’s awesome, Lindsay! Great tutorial and beautiful result! I love it!

  42. I could not love this more! Thanks so much for the idea and tutorial. This is going down in my house this weekend!

  43. Wow. This is just fantastic. I love the mix of colors and the eye you had to arrange just like that. So beautiful. Might be doing something like this on my stairwell.

  44. Love, love, love….LOVE this! I’ve already decided I am going to do it in my home…I just need some more frames and to decide where to put it! I am planning on sharing your post soon, so look out for my “Featured” email!

    <3 from my blog to yours!

  45. i totally want to do this but can’t seem to find black glaze. Can you tell me where you bought it?

    • Sure! Mine is by Ralph Lauren, and I bought it at my local Benjamin Moore dealer (who also sells Ralph Lauren paints). They tint it to your specific color, and I chose Black Silk from the RL line of paints. I hope that helps!

  46. I LOVE this. Beautifully done.

  47. abdulrahman says:

    Fantastic! I will consider this great idea…

    Thank you so much for sharing


  48. Lindsey, I’m sorry I wasn’t more specific. The frames for your family portraits.

  49. I luv, luv, luv this! I’m glad to have found you and I’m now following.

  50. I just luved it….gr8

  51. I found you threw a link on Pinterest and then you linked to a site, Vintage Revival, that I already follow. It was a friendship waiting to happen. I loved your tutorial and the way your frame wall turned out. I look forward to reading many many more of your blogs. I’m just getting my blogging and businesses started so I need all the inspiration I can get. Plus i’m moving, in 7 days, back into a ole family home and it needs lots of work. Inspiration and instruction is much needed for this. Have a blessed day.

  52. Ansley @ says:

    I totally just made my own version of this last night! Check it out! I hope you like it; I was so worried it wouldn’t come out as cool as yours. I think it looks great, though. Thanks for the over the moon inspiration!!!

  53. Christy Benning says:

    OMG, this is genius. I absolutely love this idea. Must have for my bedroom.

  54. Jeanne Olson 8-9-12 says:

    I love your frame art and have a large wall in a living room to fill. Can I copy the directions or send for a copy?

  55. I loved this so I finally got around to making my own on a smaller scale. I love it. The dimension/depth or whatever you want call it is what makes it a true piece of unique art. Thank you for such a great idea!

  56. Thank you for such an awesome idea and tutorial! My husband and I just picked out all the frames to start this project. We are excited to hang it above the bed since we don’t have a headboard and wanted a unique focal point for the room.

  57. This is actually a brilliant idea in transforming a bedroom. Loving those layered frame and the lightning effect that it brings from the side of the window. Kudos for a job well done!

  58. Totally love this idea! Way to take frames to the next level!

  59. I’m absolutely in love with this! I have just the spot for something similar. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  60. Decoration looks really cute. I like the choice of colors :)

  61. Absolutely gorgeous. You really know how to put a beautiful ideas, thanks for sharing it with us

  62. This is absolutely fantastic! I would love to do this, and it’s great that you are repurposing something. Nice!


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