Tips on Displaying Small Paintings

Today I wanted to take a few minutes to share my experience hanging little panel paintings with you.

Problem: Now that I have over 60 small panel paintings, displaying them has become challenging. For several years, my piano did double duty as a display case. But it only holds 20 panels.

Solution: My framer, Joe Sablow at Artistic Services in White Plains, NY, came up with a solution for displaying small panel paintings, similar to display concepts at crafts fairs.

He made large wooden boards that hung on the wall, and glued black fabric down to velcro the panels to the fabric.

Next Problem: As a test, I tried sticking a few panels on and they were so crooked! (And every time I put them down, they kept sticking to my tablecloth!)

Next Solution: In the middle of the night, I came up with the idea of wrapping the boards with black yarn as guidelines for the borders, rows and columns. So I tried it. And it worked.

The End Result: These two panels were the first I put together on Thursday, 2 days before the Open Studio. I was pretty proud of how straight the rows and columns were. Not perfect, but pretty good. You can’t even see the black yarn against the black fabric.

The Details of Process: To my fellow artists out there seeking solutions to their own display problems, my apologies for not taking photos of process (what a mess it was in the dining room for 2 days!). I was so far behind in getting ready for the Open Studio that this post was the furthest thing from my mind.

The morning after I came up with the yarn idea, Jay ran to A.I.Friedman to get supplies, while my friend Eve and I put black velcro on the back of all the small panel paintings. First we had to peel (using pliers!) the old velcro off. I had being used the loop side instead of the hook side!

My advice when using velcro: plan ahead and put the hook side on the panels to  leave yourself the option to hang your panels on fabric.

The yarn placement took a lot of measuring and experimenting to figure out.

In the end, I wrapped 8 pieces of yard, 4 vertical (2 on the borders, 2 between the columns) and 4 horizontal (2 on the borders, 2 between the rows) around the first board – being careful to run the yard under the picture wire in the back.

By Friday night, I finished 5 boards and we had a family bonding experience hanging them.

Since I was still nervous about pounding nails in my newly painted walls, I approached this task gingerly – actually using a tape measure instead of “eyeballing” the placement.

Each family member was in charge of holding a board as we explored spacing on the wall. As you can see, I ended up on the step ladder.

We got pretty lucky the first time. Here we are assessing our handiwork.

In the end, I was thrilled that I only had to punch one extra hole in the wall to adjust the left panel.

In case you think they are going downhill from the above photo, here’s how the wall with 27 panels came out. 

I still had the piano and two other boards like this one for my non-dessert Challenge pieces.

So I’m ready for next year!

If you have any questions about specifics of the process, let me know and I’ll do my best to help.

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