Super. Cool. Coat Hanger. Trick.

So this afternoon Observant Little Brother comes into my house and is all, ‘what’s with the empty space between those picture frames?’  I told him that was Reserved Parking for my groovy brass lobster, but standard picture hanging procedure just wasn’t working.  And he says, ‘why not just use dad’s coat hanger trick?’  Um. What? ‘Dad’s been doing this for ever.  Didn’t he teach you?’ Nope.**  So I quick got a lesson from Clever Little Brother. (Dad doesn’t get credit because he didn’t show me. There. That will teach him.) Here’s how it all goes down. First you have to find just the right kind of magical coat hanger.  The best way to find these special mystical hangers is attached to your pants when your pants return from the cleaners.  Note: Not your shirts.  It’s those pants hangers with the flimsy cardboard cylinder instead of a hypotenuse wire.  These ones.

You will also need to locate some wire cutters (or kitchen scissors and a bit of determination).  Detatch the paper cylinder from the rest of the hanger.
Notice that cool little hidden hook.  Next you cut the long part of the wire about six inches up.
As you may have already cleverly worked out yourself, you can get two wall hangers out of each coat hanger.  Bend it so it arcs a bit like this.
You will need to drill a hole in the wall big enough for the coat hanger to fit through.  Oh yeah, so you also need a drill.  (Or I guess you could hammer a nail into the wall and pull it out to make a hole in a pinch.)   Then you just feed the long bit through the hole and it will hold itself in the wall using magic.  I can’t fit my camera inside that tiny hole so here is a dramatization using cardboard.
You then have a hook perfect for hanging brass lobsters or any such non-flush-to-the-wall objects.  Look.  Isn’t he cute?
**I should note that my dad is the President of Coat Hangers.  Seriously, I collect them in the bottom of a closet so he is not bored when he visits.  He has about one thousand things he likes to do with coat hangers, 999 of which are useless.  It is possible that he did tell me and I was only pretending to listen.

Just Like the Guggenheim

I’ve hung my very own Gallery Wall.
Last month during a trip to Ikea, I picked up a big pile of different sized white frames. They have been lying on the guest bed judging me ever since. They did not like living on the bed. They wanted to live on the WALL, their natural habitat. So this weekend I gathered all the necessary items to make their dreams come true.
Necessary Items for Hanging Your Very Own Gallery Wall

Pictures for inside the frames
Eighties music
Picture hanging wire and nails
Electric drill
One calico cat

I poured a medium sized glass of chilled pinot grigio, set some 80s mix CDs on shuffle, and got right to work. I laid out the frames on the floor in front of the wall where they would eventually live, changing them around and around and around (right round baby, right round) until I was satisfied with their placement.  I just sort of started with a few big ones in the middle to visually anchor the whole thing and scooted a bunch of little ones up close until I liked the way it looked.  At one point I even remembered to take a picture.
It didn’t end up this way, of course.  The cat didn’t like it.
After about twenty more reconfigurations, I settled on an arrangement, refilled my wine glass, and added the pictures.
The piece de resistance and major pop of color was a print I fell in love with during a past trip to Arizona.  My sneaky husband saw that I loved it and picked up a card from the gallery in Sedona.  He totally surprised me the very next Christmas and it has been waiting for a frame ever since.
The Abstract Fingerpainting was done by a three-year-old genius by the name of Sophia Raindrop.  She named it ‘Fireworks.’  It’s going to be worth millions someday.  It didn’t quite fit in the included mat but I will fix that another day.
Most of the others are photos I took on various vacations printed in black and white and masquerading as Real Art.  I do love that though the black and white fancies them up a bit, they are all personal memories from past travels.
I didn’t have any pictures small enough to fit in the tiny square frames, so I cut out a few pictures from a Lonely Planet calendar for two of them, and framed three peacock feathers in the others.  I will change out the calendar pictures eventually but I quite like the look of the feathers.
Then I got to hanging (Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh….hanging tough).
It only took seventeen million hours to hang all of the frames.  Ikea includes picture wire and these nifty little clip things with their frames, so it should have been easy.
Two of them were in fact super easy.  They were centered on wall studs, purely by luck, and I just drilled in a wood screw and hung them.
MOST of the others were MOSTly easy.  I was hanging them on drywall, so all I had to do was predrill a hold, twist in one of my favorite drywall screws, drill in an actual screw leaving a tiny bit poked out of the wall for the wire, and center the picture.
The remaining problem children were more difficult, as I discovered bricks made of an impenetrable  substance inside the walls just two millimeters behind the drywall. Or maybe I just had the wrong drill bit, but whatever, it wasn’t going to work.  I then had to remember high school Geometry and use two screws, usually one wood screw and one drywall screw, and balance the frames over two screws so they were (mostly) even.  Luckily, I saved the hard ones for last.  Geometry is way more fun after three glasses of wine.
Ta da!
Notice the empty spot above the Fireworks masterpiece.  Don’t be alarmed.  That spot is reserved for Mr. Pinchy Pants.  (Or maybe he is a Rock Lobster.)  I just can’t figure out how to hang him yet.
A gallery wall all for me, just like heaven the Met.