When Jarrod and I order sushi the quantity is such that no one can imagine we’re feeding any fewer than five people, so there are a lot of extra chopsticks in this house. Which is fine by me because they’re great for all sorts of alternative purposes, like shims and paint stirrers. (Although, let me clear, getting raw fish into my mouth is their greatest purpose.)
I decided to hang a collection of frames on our back dining room wall. In tackling this project, I put chopsticks to work twice. First off, I wanted all of my frames to be black so I spray painted a few to match. Chopsticks work well for holding a frame off the ground unobtrusively, allowing you to spray paint at all angles.
Secondly: one of my IKEA frames was warped from, ya know, hanging on the wall like it was designed to do. Good work, IKEA. In The Furniture Doctor, George Grotz recommends using the sun and consistent pressure to heal warped wood, which gave me the idea of using chopsticks in a tourniquet. I tied soft rope (so it wouldn’t damage the wood) around the frame and then tightened it by twisting the chopsticks in the rope. I tied the chopsticks in place so they wouldn’t unwind and then left the frame in the sun for the day. It noticeably improved the warp, and could have removed it entirely had I been patient enough to leave it in the sun for a few more days.
(Side note: The Furniture Doctor, or The Furniture Whisperer as I like to think of it, can be had for $0.03 on Amazon and is an enjoyable read if you’re into that sort of thing. It begins: Hello, out there! And welcome to the strange but happy world of people who are always fussing around with their furniture.)
Moving along! I arranged the frames into a pleasing formation on the floor. I had various things I wanted to frame, so I didn’t worry about what would be in the frames at this stage. Take a picture of the arrangement before you start hanging them so you don’t forget the order!
I started by placing the bottom row of frames along the floor, using a tape measure to space them evenly. I read online that 57″ is a good middle point for hanging pictures, so I used that as a guide.
Here’s where I pitch 3M Command strips. Guys, they’re amazing. And you can take my word for it, because there aren’t enough people who read this blog for me to get paid to hype a product. They’re great because as soon as you get them into the position you want on the wall, you can press them into place and know that that’s where they’ll stay. No budgeting for where the wire hangs in the back, or where the hook is, or anything like that. It’s WYSIWYG for the decorating world.
So I got the bottom row up and fretted that it was too low and looked weird, took the picture above and called it a night. The next day I tackled the top row in the same way, using a tape measure to space them evenly and my laser level to provide a guide for the baseline. I even secured it to the wall with a Command strip, which worked great.
Here’s the finished product once I made my art choices:
If you’re curious, here’s what’s on the wall:
1) This one is to be determined. I have some big stencils I like but haven’t successfully stenciled anything yet. That shit’s harder than it looks!
2) The awesomest yard sale sign ever, drawn by Jeffrey Brown for a yard sale we had a while back. If you know anyone who’s really into cats, Cat Getting Out of a Bag and Other Observations should be on your holiday shopping list.
3) I’m unsure of this one. Vote below!
4) A collection of photo booth strips.
5) A screen print I made of a Jack Johnson patent illustration. He was issued a patent for a wrench he improved while in prison. I work in the intellectual property field and the illustrations on old patents are a public domain image source goldmine.
6) A picture my brother, Andrew Droz Palermo, took of my aunt and uncle’s pecan grove in Rich Hill, Missouri.
7) An original illustration by Pia Guerra from Y: The Last Man, which is a pretty awesome graphic novel series if you’re into that sort of thing.
8) A picture of my mom and aunt looking like babes on a boat dock, taken by a newspaper photographer when they were in college. Because they looked so hot it was newsworthy.
Returning to frame no. 3: I think it’s too small and throws off the balance. See the badly-Photoshopped mock-up below for what it would look like if I removed the frame and shifted the bottom row. What do you think?
UPDATE: Per Kate’s suggestion, I hastily Photoshopped Option C, which swaps the two top right frames. I think this does succeed in breaking the symmetry that makes Option A look kind of rigid/formulaic, although the bottom left frame is still looking a bit puny to me. Something to think about. Thanks for the idea, Kate!