Staircases aren’t where you want to be risking your safety with inappropriate step ladders held shakily by someone you’d really need to trust. Thankfully, there is a super safe way to get your best pictures hung without any risk. And if you really want to do it hole-free, just tweak your fittings for a suitable Command 3M strip. If you do choose to stick frames on the wall, be sure to use the weight appropriate strips or everything will come crashing down.
Here’s a safe way to get your best picture frames on display along your staircase
- Measure the entire length of the wall
When measuring for a picture display, you need a centre point to begin with. Well, you don’t need to, but it helps the visual flow of your display. To get the measurement correct, you may need to dot a few pencil marks along your wall as you measure from the bottom step to the top of your landing, or the first platform if you have a staircase that goes up and around.
Once you know the full length of wall space you have to work with, half that and that’s your centre point. That’s where to start with your first picture frame but don’t hammer or stick anything up there just yet.
- Mark a height at your centre point of 5ft, + half the height of your frame
As an example, if you’re hanging a frame that’s 12 inches, you’d add 6 inches to the 5 feet. So, 66-inches above floor height is where you’d want to mark as that’s where your hanging material will fix the frame in place. Or in the case of stairs, 66 inches from the step you’re standing on. That’s the same for each step you’re on when you’re putting the frame up. It’s how you create the staggered look of a picture display that stays within your eye-view when you walk up and down the stairs.
This is only for one row of pictures though. If you want to add two or more, to add more photography and art to your stairs, you’d be safer to use a platform designed for that use. For 66 inches above floor level though, most people can reach that far.
- Trace your frames and cut to size
Using craft paper or some old newspaper, trace around the frames you’ll be hanging up. Cut the shape out for the frame you’ll be starting with at your centre point on the staircase and stick it to the wall where your markings are with masking tape.
For each of the frames you’re planning to hang on your staircase wall, trace each frame so you can map it out before committing to hanging it. It may sound mundane, given that when you have a project underway you’ll be excited to see the finished result, but think of it this way… you’ll get to see it unfold and imagine what it will be like when it’s finally completed and correctly in the way that you wanted your frames showing.
- A bit more measuring, cutting and sticking
Measure equal distances from the edge of the frame you already have marked at your centre point. It could be one-inch, or it may be four-inches or longer. The more distance there is between your frames, the less of a group display it appears, so for a gallery wall, or a memory wall sort of display, it helps to keep them about 4-inches or less apart.
When you have the gaps pencilled, measure up from the step 60 inches, and add half the height of the frame again, as you did with your first frame. If you have different sizes, such as going from a 12-inch frame to an 8-inch frame, stick with half the height. The reason being, you’re aiming for eye-level rather than a perfectly symmetrical display. The distances between the frames will still be equal, yet the different sizes will add a bit of variety to your stairs. Or keep it uniform with all the same frame sizes. The choice is completely yours.
- Stick all your paper fake frames to the wall
With your measurements completed and the markings made, stick each fake frame paper cut-out to the wall, placing them where the real frames will hang when you’re ready to put them up.
By using the paper first approach, you get the outline of your display on the wall, letting you see what it will be like before you commit to hanging the frame. This lets you tweak the distances between frames easily to see what it would be like at one-inch spacing between the frames, two, three, or four inches, before settling on one you prefer.
- Now it’s time to hang your frames
The whole measure, mark and fake it approach to picture hanging gives you the distinct advantage of only putting the frames up once. If you’re running a dozen photographs up a staircase, perhaps even running up two walls, that would be a nightmare of a project to finish if you realised you didn’t like how it turned out.
What you will find is the equal spacing between your picture frames and the same height from the floor level will have your frames displayed as a sort of ladder that climbs the staircase as you (and any visitors) do. The ease of view is appealing because it’s at eye-level. There’s no straining your neck to see the photographs and there shouldn’t be a need to use any ladders to reach that height, unless you’re smaller than average, in which case you could perhaps ask someone of average height to give you a hand.