The Creative Mama » inspiring art, encouraging women

DIY: Cheap and Easy Photo Wall

We move a lot.  So much, that I have become a bit of an expert on quickly making your house feel like a home.  One of the easiest and most effective ways, is to add lots and lots of pictures to your space.  Instantly, it makes white walls feel warm and cozy.  This photo wall is quick and easy, but also cheap.  I would love to invest in large canvases all the time, but since we move so often, it is hard to know what kind of wall space to expect in my next space (not to mention, I get bored easily).  I have a few gorgeous (and rather large) canvases and prints without homes on my walls, I do not have the vast amounts of wall space that I did before.  This project is a fix for this problem.  I have done this one a few times, it is perfect for someone as non-committal as I am.  You can make this project as large or as small as you would like.  No matter what size, it is the thing in my home that everyone comments on.  People will stand there looking at the random hodgepodge of images for quite some time.  In some ways, it is the story of our lives.  There are old and new pictures mixed together.  Friends, family, and places that we have been.

I also made a little game out of it as well.  All of the images are in color, except for one, so it is fun to hunt and find it.  Sort of like Where’s Waldo.

DIY quick and easy photo wallHere is what you need:

pictures – I buy a lot of Compact Flash cards at Costco, inside the package they include 100 free 4×6 coupons.  I save them for this project.   You use whatever size you would like, squares would look great, but I wanted this project to be on the cheap side.  Also, you can use as many or as little pictures as you would like.  For this particular wall, it is 15 – 4×6’s wide and 10 – 4×6’s tall.

Fotoclips – I buy these from Photojojo.  They are $27 for 3 packages.  There are 110 clips in a package.  I prefer to have more than not enough.

Thumbtacks – You can use cute ones, or clear ones, again, completely up to you.

DIY cheap and easy photo wallDecide on the size of your wall.  I knew that I wanted mine to be very large, but that I needed to construct it in smaller pieces.  I laid groups of images together and played around with the grouping until I liked what I saw.  Rach kept me company while I put this together.

DIY cheap and easy photo wallStart to clip the pictures together.  I did groups of 5.  I clipped them together vertically to start.

DIY cheap and easy photo wallWhen I had them clipped vertically, I would stack them together like this until I had them all finished.  It saved some room at my workspace.

DIY cheap and easy photo wallThen, I clipped sections together horizontally, all the images should be attached together by a clip.  Only the insides will be attached.  You will attach the rest together when you are putting it up on the wall.  I made sections like these until I used all of the pictures.  It is easier to get the pictures on the wall this way.  Don’t ask me how I know that.  Let’s just say, I learned it the hard way.

DIY cheap and easy photo wallGrab a buddy to help you, it is easier for one person to hold and one to tack.  Center on the wall as well as you can.  There are little holes in the center of the clips.  Attach the thumbtack through the hole and press into the wall.  When you have one section up and secure, add clips to the edges and attach the next section.  Repeat until the whole thing is on the wall.

DIY cheap and easy photo wallThere will be bumps, and it will not align perfectly.  If you are one of those people that has to have perfectly straight and perfect, this might not be the project for you.  But if you can handle some unevenness and bumps, then you will love having this on your wall.  I do.

About Bree

Bree is the founder and writer of, a recipe site that shares her love of cooking, baking, and entertaining with others. launched in February of 2010 as a way to merge Bree’s love of photography with her love of food, and share both with friends and family. Currently, Bree lives in the suburbs of Washington DC with her husband and 3 children.

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  • Robin

    Can you get pictures printed with white borders? I wanted to do that but don’t think I was able to.

    • Bree

      I did it in Photoshop, but you can request it from your photo place. Some offer it.

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  • Christine

    How beautiful! Do you need a thumbtack for every clip? I’m not so sure the landlord will love that idea…

  • V


    What a fantastic idea to one of our naked wall in the apartment. I need to ask one thing, I went through comments and saw you answered it, but still so newer than ash to cisco. Are they the photo papers? did you print them yourself or from the fotoprinters as it looks really light weight. So sorry to ask again, but honestly I am so newbie to this as I can get. Thanks in advance.

    • thecreativemama

      I had them printed at Costco. Any 4×6 print will work.

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  • SauceandBeans

    There is no way for you to know how much this post helped me, but just know…it’s a TON!

    Every night for months, I’ve stared at my living room wall as we’re watching tv and tried to figure out how we could cover it with small photos without it looking tacky. I couldn’t figure it out, as crafty as I like to think I am, but I knew there was a solution I hadn’t thought of. Googled all sorts of things until last night I thought to call it a “photo wall” (I feel so. stupid.), and here you are! You’re a godsend, thank you so much!

  • ash

    i’m not 100% familiar with costco.
    where would i go to get the compact flash cards coupons you talk about? are they at the photo center?

    • thecreativemama

      When you buy memory cards from Costco try come inside the packaging.

  • Cynthiasolc

    This is super idea!!!

  • Jessica Sliman

    Ohhh….I really love this. Thanks for sharing! I love the borders on the photos too.

  • TD

    This is such a great idea! How do you deal with so many thumb tac holes when you are ready to leave the apartment?

  • Jil Coolidge

    Love this idea and the fact that perfectly aligned doesn’t necessarily make it better.

  • Dianachendavis

    Do you use any pictures taken vertically? Or does it only look right if they’re all horizontal photos?

  • Melissafayej

    Sorry- but what are compact flash cards???

    • Anonymous

      the card that records your image in your camera.

  • Mallory

    I have been wanting to do something like this for years. Thank you for posting this. I’m a commitment phobe with photos so this is just perfect. My fridge thanks you for this much more glorious option for display. I’m so inspired right now.

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  • Melody Adams

    Thats amazing!

  • Melody Adams

    Thats amazing!

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  • Melody

    Loving it!

  • tracy larsen

    I LOVE this idea! I’ve been wanting to do something like this with my favorite images. Now I have some great instructions to follow. I love the borders you added. Do you mind sharing what size borders you used? They really make the photos look unified and cohesive. Thanks!

  • Bree Grossman Hester

    Costco does do a white border. But I added the border myself in photoshop.

  • Lindy Johnson

    This is so perfect for me; I have a ton of photographs but am renting and so want something that is easy to put up and take down. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Anonymous

    I have been struggling to find a way to use multiple photos up my stairs in an interesting way that didn’t need frames. Presto. Thanks a gazillion!

  • Paula @ Dishing the Divine

    Cool project!!!! I can see this being awesome once we have kids!

  • Dana Laymon

    I love this idea. does costco print the white borders on your pictures? i’ve been trying to find a place that does that!

    • Paula @ Dishing the Divine

      Dana – yes they do :) you get to choose that as an option when you are ordering your prints. :)

  • Denise Balyoz

    great idea bree! I do something similar with magnets on my fridge. I might just give this a try!!!

  • Erica Kleist

    this is much easier and cleaner than tape…which i used for a photo wall when i studied abroad. thank you for this fabulous idea!

  • Alison

    Hmmm….this might be just what I need for my blank basement walls. Great idea Bree!

  • jd

    Thanks – looks great – I am going to do it at my house. xoxo

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