Creating Rory’s Nursery Gallery Wall
Happy belated Valentine’s Day! Hope you had a wonderful weekend celebrating your loved ones. Today, I’m sharing the Valentine’s Day “gift” I made for Rory. I say “gift” because let’s be honest, she has no idea what the heck this holiday is. She just knows that there is something new to look at in her room thanks to the nursery gallery wall I just added.
The Perfect Spot for Something Special
Every night, I feed Rory in the rocking chair in her room. We rock back and forth, I sing her songs, and I always stare at the wall opposite the chair for fifteen to twenty minutes. During that time, I have been dreaming and scheming about what would look nice on that wall. I finally decided that a nursery gallery wall was exactly what was needed! I thought it would be perfect because I could incorporate some of the special frames from Rory’s built-in shelves and even create a few new pieces to add.
Rory’s Bedtime Song
There was one piece in particular that I was really excited about adding to the nursery gallery wall. As I mentioned in my Day in the Life blog post, for some reason I like to make up songs when I’m with Rory. I’m telling ya, I really missed my calling as a children’s lyricist! We have a bath time and a bed time song and I sing these to her every single night. The bed time song has lots of verses and it’s the last thing I sing to her each night. I never want to forget those special words, so I thought it might be a good idea to write them all out and frame them!
When I talked about this on Instagram, many followers suggested handwriting the lyrics. While I love the sweet sentiment, I have terrible penmanship and I knew that I would then stare at those words in the chair each night picking apart each hand-written line. In the end, I decided it was best to type them out and put them in a pretty gold frame. Don’t worry, Rory will have plenty of my handwriting to try and decipher later on when she reads her baby book that I work on every month.
My Best Tips to Create a Gallery Wall Layout
Once I had my bedtime song framed and all of the other art collected, I worked to create the perfect layout. Here are my best tips when it comes to laying out your gallery wall…
- Choose at least two frame materials. In my case, I went with gold and wood.
- Use a wide assortment of sizes, but try not to go smaller than 8×10.
- Mats are always a good idea when showcasing photos. (More on choosing the best photo mat in this blog post.)
- An odd number of items is always pleasing to the eye.
- Try to keep the frames no more than three inches apart. If they’re too spread out, it won’t look like one cohesive piece.
- Find your best layout and then put the frames on a piece of wrapping paper (or in my case, rosin paper) on the floor. Then, trace each piece directly onto the paper, marking the holes on the back for easy hanging. This blog post dives into this process further.
I used all of those tips as I figured out our nursery gallery wall. Once I had my “blueprint” for the layout, I put it up on Rory’s wall and made sure it was level.
Tips to Hang a Gallery Wall
With my blueprint up, it was time to start hanging. Here are my go-to supplies…
- Nail Box Assortment
- Command Strips
- Putty Tabs
- Plate Hangers
- Painter’s Tape and Rosin Paper (or Wrapping Paper)
I usually start in the middle and move towards the edges. So I get my middle piece hung on nails and then I keep moving to the left and the right, hanging the frames over the paper.
I’ve never used a plate hanger before, but I ended up getting these and although I only need one, it worked great. (I have plenty more for future use.) It clings to the back of the plate and it comes with a hook to hang. It’s very simple and the plate feels completely secure.
With my gallery wall up and everything in place, I then took every piece down so I could remove the piece of rosin paper.
Baby-Safe Hanging Tips
With the paper down, it was easy to position each frame in its final resting spot. But since this is Rory’s room and I want these frames to be suuuuper secure, I decide to take things one step further by using both nails and Command strips to attach them. I like to use the velcro Command strips so I can easily reposition the frame if needed.
I usually put a Command strip on each side, towards the bottom. That way, it rests on the nail at the top and can’t shift around at the bottom. Using the strips is a good way to keep your frames straight too!
For the stitch and the plate, I used these putty tabs on the back, along with the nail and hook, so they won’t shift or fall off. The tabs provide a little something extra to keep everything in place and safe for Rory.
Rory’s Nursery Gallery Wall
Not only am I in love with the arrangement, but each piece is incredibly special to me. Let’s take a look at each one…
This plate was painted by my great-grandmother and I love the colors in this room. We also have a painting of hers over Rory’s changing table, so there are lots of handmade family touches in here.
Next to that, we have a family picture of the three of us in this 8×10 gold frame. Every night, Rory and I will walk over here and say “night night” to Mama, Dada, and Rory. It’s sweet because she gets to practice pointing and saying our names.
My sweet friend, Kristin, painted this moon when Rory was born and it’s called “Aurora’s Moon”. It’s actually the way the moon looked on the night Rory was born…so special. The colors are perfection and I can’t get over how talented of an artist she is! This is in an 11×14 wood frame.
Next to that, we have Rory’s lullaby song in this 11×14 ornate gold frame. While I have the song memorized, I like having it up here in case Grama or Daddy want to sing it to her for the night.
This is a watercolor ultrasound picture of Rory that my friend, Bridget, gave to me when I was pregnant. We point to it and Rory says “baby”…which makes my heart melt. It’s in this 10×12 wood frame.
This artwork is actually one of the first pieces I chose for the nursery, over a year ago. I loved the colors, but it’s also called “Dusk to Dawn” which reminded me of our daughter’s name. (Aurora means light from the darkness.) I bought it last year before we told anyone Rory’s name and it was my little secret in the room.
Finally, here is our little family stitch from this cute Etsy shop. A reader actually runs the shop and created this as a gift for us last year. The little blue heart is for the son we lost on our journey to meet Rory. I cried opening this beautiful gift.
Gallery Wall Sources
Plate Hanger // Wood Frames // Gold Frame // Ultrasound Art // Ornate Gold Frame // Dusk to Dawn Art // Stitch Art // Bottom Wall Color (custom color, but formula can be found in this post) // Top Wall Color: Valspar “Warm Fog” // Nursery Sources
I am so happy I decided to add this pretty nursery gallery wall into this room. Rory loves it and I gaze at it each night with a smile on my face.
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.