Why you don't need paper templates for picture hanging

People sometimes use paper templates of each picture or wall décor item in an arrangement to create gallery walls that look balanced and cohesive. But it’s a lot of work! We designed Hang & Level™, the picture hanging tool that marks exactly where to put the nail, to eliminate the effort and frustration of traditional picture hanging. Learn how to create your own stunning arrangements in a fraction of the time it would take using paper templates.

An image showing 5 different wall décor items that are being curated for creating a gallery wall

Curate the items 

Collect all the pieces you want to hang together. There is no right number or type of item you can consider for your arrangement, just make sure that they work together with a common theme or tell a story. Don’t be afraid to eliminate pieces from the curation if they don’t contribute something meaningful to the visual narrative you are creating. You may even realize there is a piece or two missing to complete the story - and you can add them in.

A series of 8 wall décor items arranged on the floor to try different looks to find the best on for the gallery wall

Lay out the arrangement 

Once you have selected the items for the grouping, then lay them out on the floor in the same size footprint where they will hang. You can measure the space you want to fill and replicate it with Painter’s tape on the floor. If you need more help to calculate the footprint then check out this post.

Now it’s time to play with different arrangement options. Have fun with this and trust that you will find the right look. It always works out. Try different combinations until you find the one that looks best to you.

Tips: If your frames are all the same, choose the most compelling image for the center and keep the spacing between the frames consistent for a balanced look. Generally, 2 - 6” can work well. If you have a mixture of décor items, then visual weight, style and size will play a role in how they are arranged. If you want to learn more about working with these elements and spacing, check out these blogs: 

How to pick the best spot for your pictures.

How do picture frame styles affect spacing?


 A person holding a camera directly over the layout for the gallery wall that is on the floor. She is holding the camera parallel to the layout so she gets the right perspective for how it will look on the wall.

Take a photo and review

This is a trick we learned that really helps to visualize how the arrangement will look on the wall. It’s surprising how this different perspective can reveal things that weren’t noticed before when working on the floor. Make sure the camera is perpendicular to the arrangement, which replicates the angle you would see if it were hung on the wall. Review the image and tweak the spacing or the layout as needed. 

Lady hanging the first item in a gallery wall. It will become the anchor piece from which the other items are spaced and hung.

Hang your first item

Now it’s time to hang the arrangement in the same way it is laid out on the floor. Start with the middle item at the bottom of the display. If there is only one row, then start with the middle item. 

Hang the picture on the Hang & Level, and take the tool and the piece to the wall. Now you can position the picture in the same spot it appears in your layout. Once you visually find the right spot, then hold the tool in place and remove the picture. Press the button to mark exactly where to put the nail. Install the nail, then hang and level your first item. This will be the anchor picture, which will be the guide for hanging the rest of the gallery. Watch our YouTube playlist to see how easy Hang & Level is to use. 

Tip: if you are feeling nervous about the placement, have a friend stand back a few feet behind you to help determine the right spot. It can be reassuring to have two sets of eyes on the project!

Image showing the way to hang the rest of the items in a gallery wall after the first picture is hung.

Hang the remaining items

Next, hang the item on either side of the picture you have just hung. With the picture on Hang & Level, align it with the one you just hung, using the spacing determined from your layout. Once things are perfectly lined up, then once again press the button to mark where the nail goes. Hang the second picture, level it and keep moving from one item to the next until everything is hung. You’re done. Now step back and admire the visual story you've created! 

Tip: if you prefer, use Painter’s tape on the wall that is cut to the length of the spacing in your layout to help you align the pictures. Alternatively, you can try our DécoEssentials™ that include both SpacingStrips™ and a level that are perfect for picture hanging.

Picture showing Hang & Level™ the picture hanging tool invented by UTR Decorating with 4 other innovative products they designed to make picture hanging easy: DécoNails™, DécoHooks™, DécoScrews and Anchorpoints™.

The picture hanging system

Hang & Level is a must have in any decorator’s tool box. We’ve designed a whole line of products that take the complexity, frustration and effort out of picture hanging. Each item has a number of patented design features that make picture hanging easy. For fasteners check out DécoNails™, DécoScrews™ and DécoHooks™. To keep the items in your arrangement always hanging straight, you can use our AnchorPoints™. Place them on the bottom two corners of your picture and you’ll never have crooked pictures again, even in high traffic areas or when you are dusting. And, we’ve already talked about DécoEssentials.

We love designing products to make decorating easy and help people create spaces that bring them joy. Click on the live chat below or email us at:, and we’ll do our best to help you Create the home you love™

-The UTR Team

At Under The Roof Decorating our mission is to design innovative products that help you Create the home you love™.

We believe everyone should have a home they love that reflects who they are. Our passion is to design products to help you quickly and easily decorate your home—all on your own. Discover the joy of creating spaces you love, and the satisfaction of doing it yourself.

Our products are available online and at many retailers in the USA and Canada, including Target, Lowe's and The Home Depot.
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