How to Hang a Large Photo. Plus: Can o' Worms? Open.

Monday, January 18, 2016

A year or two ago Mike took me to a fancy schmancy restaurant downtown we had not heard of in a high rise near the lake.  It's fun when he does this as he enjoys treating me, I enjoy watching him treat me and being treated!

So we knew nothing about the place.  As it turns out, the views of the skyline were stellar but the food and service were um, not.  We didn't even stay for dessert.  Yeah.  I suppose we know now why this restaurant flies under the radar.

Anywhoooo....what's the point you ask?  The views of course.  And of course like every person in there, I was snapping photos with my phone.  It is not often one gets to see the city from such vantage points.

Not long after, a coupon arrived for a free photo book on Shutterfly.  And being the thrifty person I am, I searched further coupons and came across one for a free 16x20 print with your order.  I know, right?

Obviously you see where I'm going here.  I sent in one of the photos I took while at the restaurant.  It's not the most faboo photo in the world but at the ordering moment, it's what I opted to upload.

Heh, and for a long while the photo sat.  And sat.  And sat.  Got curled, moved houses once or twice, and sat.  Sat sat sat.  Ok, you get it.

Until finally one day recently weird inspiration struck.

photo of Chicago skyline and piece of pallet wood
Yup, that's about all I used.
This project was free to me, or pre-paid one might say.  Still, it can be accomplished for probably under five bucks or so I imagine, sans maybe the photo cost if free is not an option.  Here's my supply list:

Yeah, that's it.  And all it took was a mere five minutes.

I pilot drilled some tiny holes for the eye hooks, cranked those in.

drill bits and eye hook with twine
Lil' cutie eye hooks, awww.
Laid the photo across the edge and yes, attached it with machine screws, again piloting little holes first.

attaching photo with screws to wood
Uh huh, screwing a photo to a piece of wood.  Who does that?!
Yes, I might be nutso for making holes in the photo but hey, the photo was free and it's not precious.

If you'd rather not poke holes in the photo you're mounting, you could always double stick tape it, tape it on cleanly from the front, attach a small strip of wood or plastic or metal over it like a clamp, attach clips, magnets, clothespins even, or I'm sure there are a zillion other funky creative ways to stick it on there.

Lastly I pounded a galvanized roofing nail into the wall where I wanted it to hang, in the hall guest bathroom since I seem to have a Chicago photograph theme going on, strung some twine through the eye hooks, tied that off and bam, bingo, kapow, a hanging photo of a gorgeous city!

finished photo hanging on wall

more distant view of Chicago skyline photo hanging on wall

Yeah that curl in the bottom.  I'm hoping eventually gravity works its magic and straightens the photo out.  Here below I taped something temporary on the back side to pull it straighter (hard to tell, heh, it looks more curled) and moved it to a hard-to-find-in-this-house light colored wall solely for a money shot:

photo of Chicago skyline attached to pallet wood
Pretty cool, yeah?
Right, that can o' worms....

Oh boy.

So we're sittin' around one evening last week, the sweetheart, the pooch, and I, chit chattin' when I said with a nice and whiny midwestern twang, "babe, what should I work on that will cost near zero dollars?  I just don't know what to work on!"  Did the arm flap thing too.  Right.

Mike said, "well, how about the bathroom?  Don't you have everything you need for that?"

first floor bathroom before
See, even Finn is like "aw man this offends my eyes, outta here!"
"Huh.  Maybe." ................"Um, ok,"  I muttered in a delusional state like it'll be all right.

Shortly thereafter I went at the tile on the wall.  Yep.  Did it.  Finally.  After all the months of endless annoying waffling nervous blather.

And promptly shot a hole through the wall, or two, or three, or ahem, some, ya know, hey whatever.  Anyway, they were total accidents.  Honest.  Really!  I swear!

I probably should have read up on how to remove wall tile first.  Especially since I'm hoping to salvage the drywall for re-tiling-use.  Ahem, but that's neither here nor there.

I peered into the uh, maybe not so smallish hole along the long wall, stuffed my hand in there and discovered that the framing is a mere half inch or so away from the brick.  Huh, I thought.  Interesting.  I wonder....

Two more words that will set Mike into a panic.  What if.  Why not.  I wonder.  I've got all the scary words down pat.

accidentally punching a hole in the wall
Brick!  Late 1800's Chicago common brick!  How awesome is that?!?!
Scary Words Queen indeed.

Put the tools down, email my dad, Master Structural Engineer, "do you think it would be structurally ok if I take out this five foot long wall, expose the brick?"

He writes back, "When are you starting your own home improvement tv show?  I know that I would watch it."  Heh, I love my dad.  He says yes, you can do it, assume it's load bearing, here's header info.

Mike comes home, doesn't see what omg I've done for several hours, pops in there, I hold my breath -- I hear a cacophony of mumbles.  Hey, this was his idea.  Ahem.  He steps out and all he utters is, "well."

To rescue the situation, I share my New Idea:  expose the brick, put tile up the water side and up the opposite side when he interrupts, "babe, it's just going to have to be a total thing if you expose the brick.  Not do the shower, move the toilet, it's....." his voice trails off, his eyes track back to staring at the television (or maybe the new console, heh) and all the air leaves the room.

Because we can't figure out what to do with the area where the tub is now, area soon to be tub-free, see.

Defeated, my mind is reeling and awash.  What have I done?!

removing tile from walls in first floor bathroom progress
Omg, what have I done indeed!!  But still loving that vanity I built for sure!
With a clearer mind, I'm seeing this and this and this online today.  Yes, to find reference justification.

Really we don't need a shower either.  Ugh.  My mom suggested keeping the tub to minimize work load or turning the area into a closet.  A closet is a great idea except we have no use for a closet in there.


So ok wait, here:  I'm thinking still do the walk-in shower, expose the brick, extend the octagon dot tile all the way to the brick, tile up like I mentioned using the 12x24 tile I bought for the master bath shower walls (it's not that dark nor that beige in person, trust me, heh, I wouldn't have bought it) or maybe the Antares copper tile I originally picked for the floor yeah actually that might be better with the brick omg if I have enough, then a piece of glass as a shower barrier similar in scope to this idea, and yeah, that sounds like a good plan to me.

proposed new tiles for bathroom
Let's just pretend the tile next to the Antares is sorta Chicago common brick kinda, if you blur your focus.  Rather poor photo in general too.  It works though, I totally see it.


I mean, I only used the tub once which turned out to be my baby pea Hailey's last bath, sigh, so clearly its use is minimal.  And actually at the time, a walk-in would have been much easier on her too.  I can slather on a brick sealer.  I....I....

I like my idea.  I think it'll work.  And be cool.  Maybe very cool.  Hm.  I think?

I'm nervous and feeling a smidge overwhelmed, a wee asea, options zooming off in all directions but also scrambling for options.  But then again, this is when the good ideas gel.  Right?  Man, I hope so.

Yeah, and heh, so much for a near zero money project.  Oh boy.

Can o' worms open.  Worms squirming everywhere.  Omg, they're everywhere.

Ah dear.

(See what happened next by clicking here.)

*The project supply list consists of Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.


  1. OMG, I love your craziness. There MUST be a sealer on the market which would allow you to utilize the brick as if it were tile? There just must be!

    Honey, why do we have 10 gallons of modge podge? He he he

    1. And omg I love every one of your comments!

      Oh, there's gotta be a sealer, right?! Or 10 gallons of Modge Podge it will be! That's a lot of freakin' Modge Podge..... :)


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