How to Install a Temporary Gallery Wall

Gallery Wall by Natalie Parker

I love gallery walls.  I have a ton of them pinned on Pinterest.  I always struggle designing them myself because I can never get them just right.  “Effortless” is the absolute last word used to describe any project of mine.

Mr. P and I have a lot of art collected from our travels (read more about shopping for street art here) and most of it is not displayed.  I needed to solve for two things:

First, I had lots of oddly-shaped items but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money.  Getting odd-shaped things framed or mounted is expensive.  I considered cutting my own mats and making my own plexiglass frames, but that seemed like a lot of work too.

Second, it needed to be temporary.  This was for our little rental apartment.  While we love our place dearly, we knew sooner or later we’d move (sooner actually, more on that later).  It didn’t make sense to put a lot of time and effort into something that we’d take down.

Gallery Wall by Natalie Parker

I finally realized what I’ve been doing wrong: over thinking it.  I saw this pin on Pinterest and was sold.  I loved the idea of layering and mixing media and sticking things directly to the wall.

This entire process from idea to finished product took three days (including Prime shipping from Amazon on the adhesive).  That’s it!

Sticky Supplies

I ordered a couple types of adhesive: Duck Brand Poster Putty and Command Poster Adhesive.  I tested both on magazine pages first.

Gallery Wall by Natalie Parker

I was worried that the putty would leave long term marks, so I used the Command strips on the items I really cared about and the putty on ones I didn’t.


I planned the placement of the art.  Mr. P made me this scale drawing and little art pieces back when we were planning to get things framed.  I used the model to rough out where I wanted everything.

Gallery Wall by Natalie Parker

I selected photos.  I went through my collection and went for bright, macro photos.  When I couldn’t decide on the final ones, Mr. P pointed out that the wall almost had one piece from every country we’d been to.  I stuck with the theme and picked pictures from other countries to complete the set.

I printed photo drafts in multiple sizes and laid everything on the floor to check the look.  This was fun.  We moved things around a few more times, played with the layering, and made sure we picked the right size for each photo.

Gallery Wall by Natalie Parker


This was the easiest part!  I printed the photos and we got to work.  We started with the giant Antarctica map and moved right.

Not everything is hung perfectly.  The map could have been smoothed out a bit more.  The whole gallery could have gone a few inches to the left.  I don’t care though — I’m just happy that I can actually see my stuff on the wall!

Gallery Wall by Natalie Parker