diy {wall photo collage}

I hope you all had a great weekend. I mentioned on Friday that I would share a tutorial on how I did the pictures above my mantle. It was super easy, so I never thought to share one before. However, many of you have been emailing asking for more information on it…so here you go:


I started with my favorite pictures. I wanted them to coordinate a bit better in regards to color, but I didn’t want black & white. I ran a Photoshop Action from Totally Rad Actions on each picture. Typically I tone down actions, but I ran this one at 100%. If you have actions, I recommend just playing with to get a look that you like. If you don’t have Photoshop, you can do something similar on any basic photo editing software.

Next, I printed each picture as a 4×6 then trimmed them down to 4×4 squares.

Once I had my pictures ready to go I determined a center starting point on my wall. I measured height and width and found where a starting picture would go (taking into consideration a small gap between every photo). To attach the photos I put a tiny dab of hot glue on each corner of the photo. I started in the middle and then just kept going by eyeballing it to stay straight. No rulers, no straight edge…just winging it.

By putting the glue on the picture, by the time I got all four corners done the glue had cooled a bit. In my experience, if I put the glue on the item (not the wall), let the glue cool just a bit, and then attach it to the wall I hardly ever have any paint peel off when removing the item. I will note, that this is true for latex semi-gloss or glossy paint. With flat paint it seems to peel off. You also need to make sure your paint is very dry. Now, every home, glue, wall is different. You can also do a test area. I also figure by the time I take the photos down I’ll be in the mood to repaint anyway – so if I do have some peeling it doesn’t make me crazy.



I’d be lost without my glue gun.

Since the glue gun was already hot I thought I’d do a little Jedi Master repairing and reattach Saltdough Lego Obi Wan Kenobi’s arm.

Too bad Anakin didn’t have a glue gun. (and it is alarming I even understand that joke)


To bad glue guns don’t work on little girls who keep getting up from their naps.

If you aren’t comfortable hot gluing pictures to your wall, here are some other options:

1. Purchase a large art canvas and glue the pictures to the canvas.

2. Create a printed canvas in photoshop with The Show Off template from Design Aglow


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  • Erica - So cute! And love how they are organized from oldest to newest- I’m guessing that would make it easy to add to the top as you went. I’m sure that at this point my husband would just roll his eyes if he saw me using a glue-gun on the walls! Your little firecracker sure is a cutie- love that cowlick 😉

  • Laurie J - every girl needs a good glue gun….

  • Caroline - i really love this!
    but i do remember you did a post on something similar to this.
    i remembered you printed the photos on 4 x 6 photo paper and trimmed them to 4 x 4. and i remembered very clearly that you hot glued it to your wall!
    nevertheless, i enjoyed this!! 🙂

  • Cory - This is one of my favorite things ever!!

  • Ruth - I totally adore your wall! I would love to do a mini version of this somewhere.

    And I admire your bravery to do things like hot gluing straight onto walls, painting subflooring, and nailing up chicken wire! Thanks for being inspiring!

  • Christi Smith - thank you so much for the information. ours walls have a lot of texture so i am going to try this with a scrap piece of mdf or even some foam core would work really well. you kinda forget about the project once you see firecracker!! so stinkin’ cute!

  • Sarah @ Handbags*N*Pigtails - Its an amazing display!Love it:)

  • Karen Davis - ohhhh since we move so often with the military… I LOVE the idea of gluing the pictures to a canvas… only because I wouldn’t feel like all that hard work went to “waste” after a big move 🙂

  • Michelle D. - Fabulous idea! My husband would freak if I used a hot glue gun on the walls, though. The canvas idea sounds good.

  • ashley jensen - I hot glued a couple clothes pins to my wall (after seeing your original post on this wall) in our laundry room to hold a picture and my husband asked how they were attached so I told him. His only response was “Wow”. Hopefully it will rip off a bunch of paint when I take them down and it will give me and excuse to redo the whole room! Poor Anakin sure could have used a hot glue gun.

  • jody - Love this. I will do this of my four boys!! Thanks for sharing. And also, sorry to be a stalker &/or stealer of most of your ideas…but what is that ruler/height thing in the background on your wall???!! Do you mind sharing this one too?! I love all your decorating ideas!!!! Thanks for the happy home inspirations!

  • Mandy - LOVE lots of pictures – looks great. I mounted mine to a board, but I love your straight-to-the-wall idea! Here’s mine:

  • tiffani - good thought on adding pics onto a canvas…just may do that:) also, that dress-pattern and fabric-is so great! happy monday!

  • Kristin - My morning cup ‘o joe wouldn’t have been complete without the last two pictures of Firecracker. Thanks for joining in the fun, FC!! <3

  • Kassie - Love this, what a good idea to get a lot of pictures put to good use!

  • megan - I love this, thank you for sharing! I also love the look of your photos…which action did you run?

  • Julie B - I never think I’ll just hot glue this to the wall, but it makes perfect sense. Love it!

  • the whyte house - oh, ashley…i knew you had hot glued all of them on, but this reminded again that you’re entirely too crafty for your own good. 🙂 it coordinates well w the wallpaper, too. haha.

    thanks for the anakin bit…i’m sure both he and luke would have appreciated being able to glue their limbs back on. haha.

  • giozi - Your wall art is beautiful. I love your mason jars. I was looking for ones on Etsy, but the shipping is expensive :(, and the most of the stores don’t ship to spain.
    I looooooooove your girl’s dress.

  • cheryl - What a pretty dress on your little one! I love your picture wall! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • julie r - beautiful wall! i’ve been doing something similar, pinning photos to one wall with teeny tiny pins. but i like your idea of cutting them to the same size. great work!

  • erika - If anyone wants to do this, check this out…

    You can score 111 4? x 6? photo prints for just $1.11 at Snapfish with coupon code 11PRINTS at checkout. This offer is valid through April 5, 2011.

    perfect timing!

  • Tara S. - love it! by the way, is that a DIY growth chart i see running along the doorway in the background? i would love to know how you did that! so original.

  • Cassie - I love that you just hot glue stuff to walls. We are kindred spirits.

  • tara - Love this idea! Also, is that a growth chart in the background? Did you make that and if so, tutorial please ; )!

  • Margie - Love it! I think maybe i’ll try this 🙂

  • Carrie Ryan - LOVE LOVE this post! I really want to do this now!

  • Amy - Love it!! Btw, where did you find that amazing chair????

  • Alice H - Can’t wait to try this. And I love Firecracker’s dress!!

  • Emily - i have a similar collage happening over out mantle, but with much less forethought. I used double-stick tape. The problem is that when it gets humid, the photos curl. I like your idea…if only we weren’t renting…

  • Mirys from Brazil - Dear Ashley:

    Waiting for the day I will be good at pics and hand works as I´m with words, I started to translate my blog.

    This is one of my favorite posts (mine and everybody else´s… LoL).

    Hope you like it.
    It explains a little our story..

    Kisses and blessings.
    Mirys – from Brazil

  • Mindy Harris - you are so amazing at everything you do. i love firecrackers dress, as do a million other commenters.

  • Suzy - LOVE your style and ideas. I happily anticipate perusing your blog, triggering inspiration and ideas along the way. Thanks for sharing your creativity….now I need to pull myself away from this lovely blog and get creating myself!

  • Anna - I love this so much. I’m glad you suggested doing this to a canvas. I think I might get PDF board and glue them on there! You just gave me a new project to do…when I already don’t need anymore! 😉

  • Julie B - Love this idea. Just out of curiosity, which TRA did you run on these? I have one of the sets, but don’t recognize this one.

  • Jennifer - Thanks so much for sharing! We are building a house right now and this is on my list of things I want to do once we move in!:)

  • Leanne - that is one gorgeous little girl. I have one too, who also refuses to take her naps. sad.

  • Susan Caing - she’s really adorable!

  • Vickie Mason - OMG, I love that dress!

  • Erin Leigh - you rock. love this idea.

  • Pamela - Firstly – love her dress!!!! And I think glueing them to canvas is a great idea. There is no way my husband will let me loose with a glue gun close to our walls.

  • JennsAdventures - This is SUCH a great idea! I absolutely LOVE collages, and will definitely be doing this project! But to a canvas..not a wall.. I move A LOT!! Thank you for sharing!! =D

  • Cindy - Oh I just love this!! What a great way to use the space above a mantle. I love the growht chart peeking from the back wall and that WALLPAPER!!! I tried searching your site to see where it came from, I love it. Would you mind sharing?:)
    Thanks so much!
    Have a happy day

  • Peggy - i am so glad you post this. I admired your wall on your previous post and was going to ask how you did it. I know it may be pretty straight forward but to actually see it helps. thanks for this. i don’t think i will use hot glue though. I think my husband would kill me!!! thanks

  • Canaan - This is such a great idea! Thanks for sharing your creativity to those of us to whom it does not come natural.

  • The Motherload » Amy’s Notebook 04.06.11 - […] am in love with this wall photo collage (@ Under the […]

  • Amanda Keeys - That is soooo fabulous! Thanks so much for sharing, I must do this now 🙂

  • Brooke - I tried this in my bed room! I really like it but I just used glue dots and half of them fell off in the night. I’ll have to figure something else out. Thanks for the inspiration! I love your blog!

  • Friday Link Love – Fresh Home Blog - […] Pretty much obsessed with this wall DIY wall photo collage [Ashley Ann Photography] […]

  • cynthia - LOVE it!!! Thanks for sharing!

  • Things to do with your wedding photos | just married. - […] you could break out the hot glue gun and get crafty, like Ashley did. I might try this in the kitchen. Photo by Ashley Anne […]

  • Rachel - I love it! I think I’m going to do this with pictures of my family when we were younger. Thanks so much! I’ll be linking as well.

  • Faça você mesmo: Parede com fotos | La Vida en Fotografia - […] eu vi a idéia no d? e então fui verificar o passo a passo no ashley ann photography. Para fazer uma parede com fotos você só vai precisa de fotos, tesoura e cola quente.  O […]

  • Rita - Loving ideia! I will going train! =)

  • Tara - I love this idea! What a great way to preserve memories… it’s like a timeline.

  • makiko - love the idea!! very creative!

  • jordan johnson - Hi! I love this! Can you tell me what action your used? Thanks!

  • chelsea robertson - ok i LOVE the height chart in the background. could you email me a closer picture of it if its a DYI or tell me where you purchased it. THANKS.

    love the collage too.

  • Crystal Capla - I am In LOVe with this project! Even More in LoooVE with the dress your adorable little girl is wearing!!! Is there a tutorial for it :o)

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  • The Bright Side Project » The Lemonade Stand :: DIY Photo Wall - […] Ann from Under the Sycamore created her own photo wall with great results here. This was the post that gave me the idea for how to actually implement the […]

  • Yael - Hey Ashley,
    I’m Yael and I live in Israel with my husband and our two amazing kids. Let me first apologize for my poor English, it is not my mother tongue… I love your blog and you are a source of inspiration for me in so many levels. I wanted to shear with you my version of your beautiful wall photo collage (mine is magnetize to our fridge. I was terrified of gluing it all to a wall…). Unfortunately I couldn’t find your email, and I don’t have a Facebook or an Instegram account (I’m slow on technology, I know…) so I’m leaving you this comment here, and I hope you could find the time to write back so I can attach you the photo of the fridge. Thank you so much for this great tutorial! Yael.

  • Av - I’ve been looking for the right rocking chai and love the one you have. Where did you get it from?

  • diy {photo displays & projects} » - […] There are so many ways to display and use your photos beyond a traditional frame or photo album. Here are a few ideas…. Mantle Display: I created this using 4×6 prints. You can find all the details by clicking here. […]

  • jai - OMG I love this. I’m totally going to do this with my pictures in the dining room! Thanks this is amazing!

  • Jennie Bennett - I love this photo idea! I also wondered where you got the Love Jesus print in the picture above?

  • 3 {new} Little Things: an ebook, a photo wall, and team sports - Nicole V. Bennett - […] But then I thought about it. Hot glue peels off my counter super easy, and… why not? I suddenly felt bold enough to go for it, and I love the result. It makes me incredibly happy. You can see the full tutorial and lots of great tips on doing this over on Under the Sycamore. […]

  • Alyssa - Wonderful, love this! I am going to do this, but I will play with the effects available within Corel PaintShop Pro – those Totally Rad effects are super expensive! Thanks for a wonderful blog, God bless!

  • 34 DIY PHOTO DISPLAY FOR HOME DECOR - Craftionary - […] you don’t have those fancy equipments and those extra materials on you. Big Deal! This DIY Photo Wall display requires nothing more than lots of photographs, glue and an empty wall. So get […]