Hanging a Plate Collage or Can I Help You, Ma’am?

Hey everybody!  In an effort to do something about our sad, blue dining room wall, we decided to try a plate collage.  Amy has wanted to do one for awhile.  I love the idea, but it took me some time to get on board.  My concerns were in how to hang them while meeting three important criteria.  First, I want to know they will stay where we put them.  Secondly, we need to be sure the entire collage is balanced, centered, and visually appealing.  Finally, the previous criteria need to both be safe and inexpensive.

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After spending a fun day bouncing around town checking out antique stores, thrift shops, and our favorite resale stores we failed to find plates that fit our room design and/or our budget.  Amy couldn’t get the idea out of her head, though.  TJ Maxx was still open and she was determined to try one more place.  I held down the couch and watched a little Badger basketball.  A few minutes before store close, I received the above picture in a text.  Amy found the plates and was mocking up the layout on the floor of the store.  A few funny looks from salespeople and she was on her way home with the winners.

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Amy and I had researched how to hang these bad boys for quite some time.  The leading internet solutions include a couple commercial products (a sticky mat with a hanging loop on it or a device of rods and springs) and many home crafted ideas using an assortment of picture hangers, crazy glue, a glue gun, paper clips, and ofcourse, duct tape.  The commercial products carried a price tag of 4-10 dollars a piece resulting in at best,  doubling the price we paid for the plates.  Not to mention the mixed product reviews online.  Hot glue seemed to be the front runner in my mind, but I wanted something I trust more than a paperclip.  I remembered the speaker wire that I had been refusing to throw away for about 9 years and thought that would work brilliantly!  It is a thicker gauge than paperclips and the plastic covering would fuse well with the hot glue.

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I discovered through trial and error that the best way to apply the hot glue and wire was to lay a bead of hot glue on the plate and press the wire into it.  Use a disposable tool of some sort if you don’t have “chef finger tips”, that stuff gets hot!  Then another bead over the top.  We let the glue cure overnight just to be safe.  In the morning the glue had hardened and I knew it was going to hold.  There are a couple things to keep in mind as you start glueing your hangers.  First, cut each one 5-8 inches so plenty of wire is in the glue.  In addition, remember to check the orientation of the plates in relation to your hanger.  We don’t want upside down birds or something!  Finally, measure from the edge of the plate or the footing ring so all your hangers on matching plates are in the same place.  Oh, and make sure none of the hangers extend past the edge of the plate!

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While I was working on the hangers, Amy was tracing all the plates on paper, cutting them out and taping them to the wall.  This gave a starting point for figuring out where the nails and such should go.  Rather than a bunch of marks on the wall, you actually have a visual representation which is much easier to work with.

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We matched the layout on the table for additional guidance and specific plate placement.

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It then takes plenty of measuring and leveling to get all the pieces balanced and looking like it should.  I put the nails right through the paper and then removed the models and hung the plates.  A minimum amount of tweaking and it looked pretty fantastic.

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This why we are such a good team!  Amy has such an eye for design and creative ideas, and together we find a way to make it work.  Thanks for hanging out!

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