Designing and Hanging an Art Collage
Tips for putting together an art collage on the wall.
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My decorating buddy, Matt Fox, and I have become real pros at hanging art. We almost never have to move the nail over a smidge to hang the piece correctly. And, actually, hanging one piece is a walk in the park compared to putting together a collage of pieces and hanging them in just the right location as to make the collage work. But, let's start with the basics, and we'll advance quickly to the "pro" level.
To hang one framed piece of art, first determine where it is to hang. (Eye level is a general rule.) While you're holding the piece up on the wall, have someone else put a tiny pencil mark along the top of the frame right in the middle. Next, lean the picture against your legs, and grab the wire with two fingers, as if your fingers were the hooks. Have someone measure the distance between your fingers, and then how far down you have placed them from the top of the frame. With these two dimensions committed to memory, go back to the wall and your pencil mark. Measure down from the mark the height of the frame to your fingers, then make another pencil mark.
Now, for a little math.
Divide the measurement from finger to finger (i.e. picture hook to picture hook), divide that in two, making your second pencil mark the center. If the distance was 10", place the tape measure's 5" mark on your pencil dot, and make another mark at 0" and at 10". Now you have the placement for both of your picture hooks that will hang your piece of art evenly and securely. Now, to be completely precise, we recommend using a level with a ruled edge. (If you want to be considered a "pro," this is a must.)
Well, "pro," are you ready to tackle a collage? (Pros will understand what this means, but novices may want to make a note that a collage is a group of related items hung together to create a more dynamic statement than if the pieces were hung alone.)
First, pull together items that have something in common. All-gold frames with black-and-white images would tie unlike subject matter together. Then, add a couple items with some dimension, like a gold wall sconce with a candle on it, or a gold framed mirror. Don't overdo the variety so that the common thread of the grouping is lost.
Once the items have been collected, start arranging them in a space equal to the space available on the wall, but working on the floor. It's very easy to move things around and get a feel for the overall effect when you can work in an open area on the floor. Don't feel that you have to use all the items you've collected. If something doesn't fit in, save it for another wall in the room.
Now, how does the collage get from floor to wall? Just grab a couple of brown paper grocery bags, a pencil and a pair of scissors and you'll get this project licked.
First, cut open the grocery bags, and set each piece from the collage onto the paper, trace around it, and cut it out. In the end, you'll have a duplicate of the "footprint" of your collage that you can tape up on the wall. What's nice about this is that you can move things around easily now, without having to move nails over a smidge to get it right.
Once everything is taped up, and has been tweaked to meet your approval, locate the hanging apparatus on the pieces of art, and transfer their location to the coordinating taped-up paper. You can actually nail the hooks right in over the paper if you wish, because it will rip away fairly easily.
Now comes the best part. Put all the tools away, stand back and admire your beautiful works of art. Don't' forget the "pat on the back" part, 'cause you've achieved "pro" status in the art ... of hanging art!
(Shari Hiller writes this column with Matt Fox. They also co-host the Home & Garden Television show Room by Room. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.)
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