Gallery Wall: In Praise of Chopsticks & 3M

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?

Option A:

Option B:

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!