We have this wall:
It was big and blank. And sort of at the top of the stairs. Except it's sort of beside the stairs, and across from our 'Den' (American term usually used for a place to watch telly and play games, a sort of family area).
This is the Den, taken from the top of the stairs opposite 'the wall':
Yep, you're right - yet another window I'm still making curtains for!
And this is the over 11 foot drop from the Den, making it impossible to reach out across to 'the wall':
This is just the drop from standing height down to the ground floor. If you wanted to say, put pictures up on 'the wall', the distance from the floor to where you might want the top picture is probably between 20-30 foot high.
And we wanted pictures up on this wall.
We wanted a bit of colour up in our 'not as brown as the world's brownest house but not far off' house.
And we wanted some quirkiness. Some Devyneness. Something fun that we would see every morning coming down the stairs from our bedrooms. Something silly but pretty to look at whilst we sat in the Den.
Basically we wanted to put up a gallery of Van Gogh pictures........but ones that we had geekily Whovianised (yes, that's a word I've made up, what of it). Tomorrow I'll show you pics of how the wall has ended up and what we did to the various prints for all you Doctor Who fans ;) Can't tell you now.......spoilers!
But how do you hang poster size prints in heavy birch frames?
I looked EVERYWHERE on the internet for inspiration. I got nothing. That's why I'm basically writing this post - hopefully if you're trying to do the same thing and stumped at how to do it, this might be a starting point or even the answer. I hope it will help you.
If we still lived in Shropshire, we'd pop next door and borrow friendly neighbour Pete's rough & tumble scaffolding we used to paint the outside of our cottage. But Shropshire's a long, long way away now :(
So we went to Home Depot and Lowes to see if their equipment hire departments had any scaffolding. I mean, surely people in Phoenix paint their enormously large houses from time to time? We got a no....... apparently most people use painters & decorators who have their own scaffolding and equipment OR the only things we could hire because of health & safety rules, had platforms demanding a floor space we couldn't fit into the odd angles, ceilings and walls our house allowed. Basically a platform couldn't be any wider than a foot to fit the space between the bottom of the stairs and bashing your head on this gap:
It was too far to reach out from the side of the wall, at the top of the stairs. It was too difficult an angle to lift anything across horizontally from the platform opposite 'the wall' in the Den. It was too high even 6'3" Mr Devyne at the top of a 20' ladder.
And as I say, I couldn't find any bright ideas on the internet.
So one brilliant idea we had was that if we could get the hook and pole thingy that Americans use to put Christmas lights up high on their houses, like this one:
We figured if you could use two of these on long poles you'd be able to lift a picture when wired onto a nail or a hook.
But we could find any of these hooks online that looked halfway sturdy enough to lift heavy pictures. They are all designed to just lift strings of lights (obviously). So we got all Mcgyver about it and made these:
Please excuse the Batman-like angle. They're 2 painting poles (you know the extension things you put your roller onto to paint big walls) and 2 handles for plastering trowels we found in Lowes (think B&Q dear Brits) that looked like what we needed. And then we gaffer taped them together. It cost about $30 in all but we didn't think we had any other option if we wanted these pictures up, and I figured that we'd definitely use the painting extension poles for their proper purpose sometime.
Here's a closer look:
So first we had to put the picture hooks in the wall. This we did across the divide between the wall and the balcony of the Den with a curtain pole, some tape and whole lot of luck....and repeated running downstairs to pick up another nail/picture hook we'd just dropped. There was no art to this. Me and Goth Child tried to work out approximately where on the wall the hook would need to go, and Mr Devyne taped a picture hook with nail suspended in it to the end of the curtain pole with which he would then whammy into the wall and hope that it stayed there.
Once the hook was in, then the real fun began. Goth Child stood upstairs shouting "left a bit, right a bit" whilst me and Mr Devyne firstly balanced a picture horizontally on our two poles - one at either side of the frame.
Melchett would help by crawling under the horizontal picture (don't worry the 2 adults were both using their spare hands to hold the frame) and looping the picture hanging wire onto the two McGyver pole hooks.
Now, we learnt by experience that because of the limited space and acute angles, we both had to lift the picture from horizontal into a vertical position very quickly and that the angle sliding it basically up the wall was ALL WRONG to releasing the poles IF you managed to get the wire over the hook. Several failed attempts got the picture in the right place but could not get it on the hook and staying there.
So Plan B added another set of screw in eyes to the back of each picture and another piece of wire. The upper wire would be hooked over the picture hook, whilst the lower wire was used to hoist the picture into position. Like this, hopefully this makes some sense:
As I say, tomorrow I'll show you the finished wall and what I did to the prints to make them fit our Doctor Who/Van Gogh theme.
But in the meantime, here's a pic of a very smug "we blooming did it" Mr Devyne: