How To: IKEA Ribba Frame Gallery Wall

At long last, I have finally gotten around to completing something I’ve wanted to do since we first moved in to our house, which is to create a gallery wall of favorite art and photos that can be easily rotated and switched out whenever my decorating ADD kicks in.

I started by collecting photos of inspiring gallery walls to see which style I wanted for my space…

{via 1, 2, 3, 4, 5}

Through this process, I discovered that I strongly prefer a random asymmetrical arrangement as opposed to a grid of frames.  I also found that while I do love the look of mismatched frames, I wanted a bit of continuity with the style and color of the frames and mats.  My final decision was to go with IKEA Ribba frames for their affordability and variety of sizes.  I chose black frames over white because the gallery wall is in our dining area, near a sea of black granite in the kitchen and across from a humongous black box of a TV in the great room, and I thought that it would balance it out.

IKEA is fairly far away from my house, so I wanted to be absolutely sure of a shopping list before I went to get the frames.  Naturally, I did what any obsessive compulsive over-planner would do – I created an excel spreadsheet.  {Don’t judge me.}  I made each cell into a square shape by changing the column width; each cell represented one square inch.  Then, I found the specifications for each frame on IKEA’s website and drew them out with black, white, and tan shapes.  I made sure to “group” each frame’s shapes together so that they would all move together automatically as I copied and rearranged them.  Then I fiddled around with some different layouts.

The gray box behind them is the existing piece of artwork that I already had in the space, so I could visualize how much bigger it would be on the wall.  The one below was the winner, with the exception of a 5″ x 7″ frame put in place of the furthest right 4″ x 6″ frame pictured…

My final shopping list was:

  • 1 – 12″ x 12″ shadowbox
  • 3 – 5″ x 5″ shadowboxes
  • 3 – 8″ x 10″ frames
  • 3 – 5″ x 7″ frames
  • 5 – 4″ x 6″ frames {one more than I planned to use, just in case…}

All of the frames totaled about $110.

Once I get them home, I laid them out on the floor just to make sure the layout still looked good in real life and not just my Excel world…

HOORAY!  I still liked the layout, but the hard part was yet to come… I won’t lie to you – the IKEA Ribba frames are very poorly designed.  There’s a reason why they are so cheap.  There are no D-rings on the back, only clips that slide up and down on the vertical part of the cardboard backing.  Therefore, if there isn’t a snug fit of the clip around the cardboard, the clips can easily let the frame sink down on the wall once you hang it.  And, the smaller frames {4″x6″ and 5″x7″}, don’t even come with a set of hanging clips.  Also, some of the frames tended to lean off the wall at the top.  I was able to solve these problems fairly painlessly.  Here are my tips:

  1. To place the nail on the wall, I used the screw-in-a-paint-stir-stick method.  Basically, you place a small screw halfway into the end of a paint stir stick.  Then, hang the picture wire on the screw and hold it up the wall.  When you find the perfect spot, remove the picture while holding the paint stir stick in place.  The location of the screw is the place you want to put your nail.  Give it a light tap and there will be a mark on the wall for you to hang your nail.
  2. Make sure you make little marks on the back of the frame where the clips are at the time you found the nail spot.  That way, if they shift around on you, you don’t have to fiddle with them randomly to try to find out where they were before.  I may end up supergluing my clips in place eventually.
  3. The smaller frames {4″x6″ and 5″x7″} only come with one clip each, which is pretty useless if you ask me.  So, I removed the clip from the 4″x6″ frames and added it to the 5″x7″ frames so I could at least have the larger frames hanging.  For the 4″x6″ frames, I cut strips of Command Velcro picture hanging strips in half lengthwise, and put one on the top and bottom of each frame.  It seems to be enough to hold the 4″x6″ frames up.
  4. For the frames that were leaning away from the wall at the top, I used a halved Command Velcro strip at the top in addition to the picture wire.  It’s not enough to support the weight of the larger frames on its own, but it’s enough to hold it flush with the wall.

Hopefully those tips will save you some of the pains I went through in hanging mine!

For the artwork, I picked out some of favorite photos and turned them to black and white.  {You can do this with free programs like Picnik or Picasa.}  Just to be safe, I laid them out in the Excel file to ensure that the sizes and orientations for each photo were correct.

I placed the order online at the Costco online photo center since I was pretty certain they did 12″x12″ printing.  I was extremely pleased with the price and quality.  In total, all of the pictures were under $15.  Here it is with all of my black and white photos in place!

I wanted the three 8″x10″ frames to be filled with black and white art as opposed to photographs. My sister had drawn a Seattle illustration that I knew I wanted to use, and she offered to draw a picture of Eddie as well for the vertical one. Until she finished with those, however, I wanted to fill it all with photos so that it would look complete.

I just love it! All of the pictures are either photos I’ve taken from the different places we’ve been together or family pictures from the wedding.  It took longer than I thought, but it was so worth all the work to be able to display our favorite photographs…

Do any of you have a gallery wall? I’d love to see it!  And I hope you all have a safe and happy new year!

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97 Responses to How To: IKEA Ribba Frame Gallery Wall

  1. Very cool! Got inspired by your project and I bought some frames this weekend, I don’t have any photos yet, but printing them today =)

  2. anavivismom says:

    Excel spreadsheet. Brilliant!

    You’re my kind of gal. Thank you so much for sharing your process with me. It’s just what I needed to FINALLY do a photo wall in our home.

  3. Julie Faber says:

    Love lt!!! Can you tell me the approx overall dimensions?

  4. vanessa says:

    love it! totallly inspired! i will post pics when finished 🙂

  5. Very nice! I plan on heading to ikea for some frames then.

  6. Sarah says:

    Thank you for writing this! My husband and I just had a hell of a time with the 5 x 7 RIBBA frames. He was ready to throw in the towel. I’m going to try command strips.

  7. Shannon says:

    Thank you so much Amanda for the tips. I didn’t know those Command velcro strips even exisited but they work perfectly with the not-so-perfect Ikea frames. Your gallery wall looks really great too. Thanks again!

  8. KateEd says:

    I love it! Thanks for posting in such detail!

  9. Anjana Krishnan says:

    These guidelines were just what I was looking for. Thanks for posting such clear instructions and pictures. Do you have any recommendations on websites where I can download some black and white pictures? I have been wanting to create a gallery with photos of sites in Paris, London, Sydney, New York and such. Thanks again!

  10. sandeep says:

    awesome stuff. i need ur help my wall is bigger(10ft X 10ft) than ur wall proportion,please suggest me each frame size
    thanks

  11. Amy says:

    Thanks a bunch for this post!! It resulted in a beautiful frame wall that was not a headache to put up. We had bought the Ribba frames and didn’t even realize they would be a nuisance to put up. So thanks thanks thanks for making it possible for my husband and I to complete this project without him throwing out all the frames in frustration 🙂

  12. AL says:

    I noticed you purchased 3 5×7 frames, but you only ended up using 2, right? Thanks so much–this is great!

  13. Krista says:

    this is fabulous! thank you …totally inspired to finally ger around my photo wall. I didnt know those strips existed or that the ikea frames would be such a pain…thank you thank you thank you!

  14. David Caldwell says:

    Looks great. I found your page when I Googled about the difficulty of hanging the smaller Ribba frames and now you’ve inspired me to be a bit more ambitious than neatly aligned frames … !!

  15. Jessica says:

    Thank for this post! I have a similar project planned from some recent travels and last night I was already to hang my RIBBA frames! The 8×10 frames worked great but the 5×7 and the 4×6 had me nearly in tears! I don’t understand how you are supposed to hang these when the metal clip is about 1 inch into the frame – either you need a really long nail, or a wire, or ???? It sounds like the Command Strips are the way to go – I will try these I guess and try to still make my vision come alive!

    • Happy to help, Jessica! If the 4×6 came with a single clip, move it to a 5×7 so that your 5×7 can be hung with wire. Then use command strips for the 4×6. Would love to see your finished project!

      • Jessica says:

        Good Idea! I was thinking about just using the Command Strips for both the 5×7 and the 4×6 as they make it easier to hang the frame exactly where you want it – the wire takes a little more work. I may purchase both wire and the strips just to make sure I have all of my bases covered 🙂

  16. Araceli says:

    I would love to get that excel file so I can play with it and rearrange as I need to or learn how to create one! I’m good with excel but I’m stumped… Any help?

    • It’s easy! Play around with the width of the columns until the rows and columns are equal widths, forming a square shaped grid instead of rectangle. Then, pretend each box is 1″x1″ and use the draw shape tools to draw rectangles in the sizes of the frames you have or are planning to buy. (ie: 8″x10″ frame = 8×10 on the grid). Good luck!

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  18. Araceli says:

    I think my problem is I have no concept of measurements! I really should have tried harder in Math class.. 😦 seems difficult for me.

  19. Torres says:

    Amanda can you share your layout with me? Please email me at myjunk.at@gmail.com

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  21. Erica says:

    I cannot thank you enough for sharing this tutorial!! We pretty much replicated your layout and are beyond thrilled with our new gallery. You can see the pics of how it turned out on our blog http://patioliving.tumblr.com

    Truly, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

  22. Mei-Ling says:

    Wow! Wow! Wow! So happy to have found this post!!! Love it! I will defenitely follow these tips while putting together my gallery wall!!! :o) 12.29.12

  23. Luisa says:

    I found this post on Pinterest, is it possible to get a copy of your layout in excel emailed to me? It looks great and I would love to do something similar. I have heaps of Ribba frames but have no idea how to display them. This is a great post thank you for sharing. My email address is lou_bon@hotmail.com.

  24. Janine says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I wonder what the measurements of your wall were? I love the layout but my husband is concerned with the dimensions of our wall being too small.

  25. Celeste says:

    Hello! Beautiful wall! Can you tell me how you were able to print photos that fit Ribba’s mats?
    I am having a really tough time finding where I can print photos in the odd dimensions given when using the mat the frame comes with.

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  27. Jennifer says:

    Amanda,
    This is probably a dumb question but are your measurements the size of the picture or the size of the frames? I ask because I am trying to find the ribba frames in the 8×10 and 5×5 and 12×12 and I don’t think they carry them anymore, at least it is not on their website.

  28. Amit says:

    Hi Amanda,
    Thanks for your detailed explanation. I am also working on the same thing. Have 16 different sized frames. I am confused whether gap between 2 frames should be 1 inch or 0.5 inch. (Frame wooden border is 0.5 inch). Can you guide?

    • Jen Linton says:

      I’m so confused on this..so when you did your excel spreadsheet, you accounted for the bigger frame for your pictures or not?? B/C like most 5 x7 frames are really 8 x 10 in size. So then my next ? is when you said you’re overall dimensions were what 69 x 45…was that just how big the entire frame arrangement was on your wall? From left to right and top to bottom?
      Then last ? is how big is your wall? It must be huge to be able to have the arrangement be 45″ from top to bottom and then you have to consider you want the artwork to be at eye level (about 60″ from bottom) and you want some space at the top of your wall.
      I love all these instructions, but I’m trying to see what to do with my picture arrangement, but I just have a reg ceilings…they aren’t vaulted. I like your layout and want to use it though.

      • Hi Jen! The layout which lists the photo sizes are photo sizes, not overall frame sizes. The mat and frame make them larger than that and I sized them in Excel accordingly with the visual drawing. I do not have vaulted ceilings where this is… it’s in my eat in kitchen. You want the center of the artwork to be at eye level, not the bottom of the artwork. So vaulted ceilings are not necessary in my opinion. Hope this helps!

      • Jen Linton says:

        OK, i found frames RIBBA at ikea for 4×6, 5×7, 8×10, but none for your 5×5 and 12×12 pictures. What did you use for those 2 sizes?

      • They are still the Ribba line and they are deeper glass, more like a shadow box. And I was going to suggest looking at the site to find the actual frame sizes since I don’t know them off hand, but it looks like you already did that. Good luck!

      • Jen Linton says:

        So where you said this………. (see my notes below)

        My final shopping list was:

        1 – 12″ x 12″ shadowbox (THIS IS FOR A PICTURE THAT IS 12X12?….or is this a FRAME THAT IS 12X12? )
        3 – 5″ x 5″ shadowboxes
        3 – 8″ x 10″ frames
        3 – 5″ x 7″ frames
        5 – 4″ x 6″ frames {one more than I planned to use, just in case…}

        If it’s for a picture then I need to know the size of the frame you had to purchase in order to accomodate the picture. B/c I don’t have a conversion chart to go backwards..I hope that makes sense..

        If it’s for the frame, then I need to know the size of the pictures that you used.

        Sorry for making this so confusing but I’m just a new mommy trying to hang my son’s first photoshoot pictures and I didn’t know there were so many rules and avenues to go down to get to the final result…;0)

  29. stephanie says:

    Amanda, how did you decide what photos to put in the frames? Do all photos share a common theme (fam, friends, vacations, landscapes?)?

  30. Amy says:

    This is so helpful and I love the detail you put into the description and directions… I only have one question… When you ‘drew’ out the picture frames, did you ‘insert a text box’ in the size you wanted? Thanks!

  31. Monika says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! This is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for to display our black and white wedding photos. I love your layout! *cyber hive five*

  32. Michelle says:

    Hi, this is really helpful! But my trouble (and thus question to you) is about the size of the frames. You list them as the standard 4×5, 5×7, 8×10 etc. however the dimensions on the frames themselves at Ikea are more obscure. For example: for an 4×6 photo did you choose the frame which says the photo with the mat is 4 3/4 x 6 3/4? Isn’t a standard 4×6 print too small for that then? Do the rest fit as nicely as you make it seem? 🙂 I’m wanting to do a wedding photo wall, but I don’t want to buy the frames and find I have to go to a specialty photo place and get prints done in custom sizes. Does that make sense? Thanks!

  33. Many, many thanks for your instructions! You were our first and the best inspiration:) We choose different frames, not the ribba ones, but still you helped us a lot. Our gallery is now ready, we just need to choose and fill the frames with our photos. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!:)

  34. Egmond says:

    Thank you very much, we also made our Ribba Gallery wall today. We love the composition of frames you made. Can wait to put the pictures in it.

    With kind regards,

    Egmond.
    PS: Could you mail me the excel sheet you talked about, I’m very curious how you used excel for this 🙂

  35. Nicola says:

    I am so grateful for this! I have been planning my gallery wall and what frames I want/need (so much choice) and you’ve just given me a great starting point—will definitely share once complete!

  36. Tina B says:

    This looks great! I would love to know what that wall color is. It’s gorgeous and exactly what I’ve been looking for!

  37. Megan Summers says:

    Could you possibly e-mail the excel document? megan.summers@me.com Thanks!!!

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  40. Hallie says:

    This is fabulous!! I’d really love your spreadsheet 🙂

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  42. Ana says:

    Could you possibly e-mail the excel document? ana_nenadovic@hotmail.com Thanks!!!

  43. Jacqueline M says:

    Could I get the excel doc emailed to me for this?? Planning a gallery wall for baby boy’s nursery, and I am a major excel rookie.

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  49. Fpb says:

    So helpful!! I got some Ribba frames but was disappointed in the glare from the glass.. Did you have any problems w that? Am considering buying plexiglass replacements, but that of course raises the price

  50. Graham says:

    Hi thank you for the post! I found a number of free printable art on Pinterest that I want to use for my gallery wall. Where is the best and most cost effective place to have the art printed? Or would it be better to just purchase heavy cardstock and print at home? I don’t believe I can bring the different sizes with my printer. Thank you! Also, I would like to create a gallery wall half the size of the wall you created, what sizes and how many of each frame do you recommend?

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  52. mohini says:

    thanks a ton!!!! we just moved to new home….been day and night on this site..
    first time a big help…

  53. Cathy says:

    I’m hoping to start one soon. Have the frames but need to paint them. Got them from op shop. Mightvhave to mix n match as my daughter in law has brought some sand colured ones.

  54. Rachel says:

    Where did you find the 12×12 shadow box frame and the 5×5? I couldn’t find it at ikea Ribba series

  55. Tiffany says:

    Do you know how big the entire set of pictures ended up being?

  56. Thanks for the excel trick, brilliant!

  57. Can you send me the excel sheet you made… I’m just about to hang my own frames. Everything is ready to go, nails, pictures, frames, picture hooks, command strips…… & then panic, fear of messing up, a frantic web search that brought me to your page to save the day.

  58. Can you send me the excel spreadsheet you created?
    Thanks so much!

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  60. Pooja shukla says:

    I need help. I have got 13 frames to arrange on my wall but I cudnt figure out perfected layout design. Could you help me with different layouts.
    Frame sizes
    12×18 = 1
    8×10 = 2
    5×7 = 7
    4×6 = 3

  61. Nicole says:

    I absolutely love this and will be heading to Ikea tomorrow morning. Any chance you can tell me the width of this? I just measured the wall and I think we are looking at a gallery wall about 6.5′ wide and I was curious if I could just use our layout. Please let me know. ASAP if possible!!

  62. Pingback: How To: IKEA Ribba Frame Gallery Wall : 1p – 12″ x 12″ shadowbox // 3p – 5″ x 5″ shadowboxes // 3p – 8″ x 10″ frames // 3p – 5″ x 7″ frames // 5p – 4″ x 6″ frames one more than I planned to use, just in case… All of the fra

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