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How to Create Your First Plate Wall

Plate walls have always been popular way for collectors to showcase their plates in a unique and decorative manner. Hanging them on the wall allows you to enjoy your collection every day, create a statement piece and is easily editable–making it changeable with minimal effort. For those looking to start their own plate wall display, I have also curated a list of additional plates that would complement many styles.

Plate Wall Decor by Liz Marie

Collect Your Plates

Plate collecting can be a fun hobby that can be enjoyed no matter what your budget is. For me, I find nearly all of my plates at thrift stores, antique shops, and flea markets. Usually, the plates cost a few dollars. Currently I am finding countless options at most thrift stores, in both single plates and in moderately sized sets. So if you are looking at starting a plate collection, the options are limitless. The fun really starts when when you start honing in on a particular design, color, and size to fit into your collection.

Find a Spot for Your Plate Wall

Once you have a full collection or as you continue to collect, think about where you want to hang your plate wall. As you can see, you don’t need to limit plate walls to only be displayed in or near the kitchen. One of my favorite elements about the plate wall is how are editable, which means you can move plates around within the design or swap out plates as your collection expands or even as the season changes.

How to make a plate wall

Plate Wall Layout

There are a few ways people prep and layout their plate walls. I have done them all and I will share my favorite way that I get the most accurate installation.

Paper Cutout Method

Using each plate as a template, trace on masking paper and cut out the dimensions of each design. Lay them out on the floor or even pin/tape them to the wall to get the desired layout.

I have used this method a few times and it is great but not my overall favorite when you have a “complete” plate wall collection ready to be hung. Where I like this method a lot is when you have most of your plates collected but still need a few. You can cut out your current plates to get an idea for the layout, and visually get an idea of the size and shape of the missing pieces to your collection.

I find myself not using this method because I have a hard time transferring the exact placement when you add the plate hanger into the mix. I’ll cover what tools you need in this blog post; however the one thing you definitely need are plate hangers, and depending on the size, the plate hanger portion that hooks onto the nail in the wall is variable based on plate hanger size and even manufacturer.

Plate Wall DIY

Computer Modeling

If you are computer savvy, this will most likely be the quickest way to get a layout idea. Personally, when it comes to designing spaces, I am take the hands on approach, staying away from the computer. Jose is the opposite. He loves to throw everything in a CAD before we start, but I personally don’t have the patience for it.

The pros to this modeling method are the same as the Paper Cutout Method. It can help you find missing pieces to your collection as you go, and its a really quick way to adjust the layout on the fly.

The cons are transferring the plate hanger measurement may be tricky and everyone doesn’t have access to design programs and apps.

Floor Tape Method

While I am sure there may be a few more, the the third method, I have dubbed the floor tape method. It is my favorite when you have a full collection and are ready to install the plate wall. You create a quadrant on the floor of the overall wall space using painter tape. Using the actual plates with plate hangers installed, you shuffle until you get the desired layout. You find and transfer the measurements from the plate hanger hook, leaving no room for error. Lets get into it more here . . . 

Plate Wall Decor DIY

Installing Plate Wall (Using Floor Tape Method)

Identifying the Wall Space

Measure the the wall area height and width limits. Keep in mind you’ll want to come in a few inches from the top and bottom, and if your wall is in a corner, the sides. You’ll want to leave a bit of a gap to all for you to be able to hang you plate on nail. I think leaving an appropriate gap all around helps frame the plates and look more intentional.

Bring it to the floor

Transfer you measurements onto the floor using painters tape. Start with a box of the overall space and identify the center vertical and horizontal line using the tape to make 4 quadrants. Finding visual center is still important even if your plate wall isn’t symmetrical.

Fine Tune Layout & Install Plate Hangers

Place your plates on the floor (face up) to get the desired look. Once you are happy turn all of the plates face down and install your plate hangers. Before, during, and after you do this, frequently measure the gaps between plates to maintain an average gap spacing. You’ll visually be able to see if one plate feels out of of place, so there will be a little bit of shuffling throughout this process of creating your plate wall.

How to make a plate wall

Accurately Measuring

When it comes to bringing your desired floor layout up onto the wall, I measure from the top edge or bottom edge of the space, and left or right of center (i.e. the top right corner plate would be 4 inches down and 24 inches left of center.) If you are doing a symmetrical wall this becomes really easy because whatever one side placement is the other side would be as well.

To accurately transfer from floor tape to wall, I recommend starting with the outside/bottom plates and work your way up and then inward. I recommend this because you’ll want to keep the center line clear of any nails.

Measuring to the center of the picture hanger hook, measure top-down and left/right of center line. Do the same up on the wall and install a nail, screw, or picture hanger hook.

*Note: Check that your reference points of measurement are level and square. Ceilings, trims and floors may not be perfectly leveled, so you’ll want to take that into account during this process.

Here are a list of tools and materials I used for my plate wall:

  • Picture hangers (these come in different sizes, try to keep the same manufactures)
  • Tape Measure
  • Painters Tape
  • Drill
  • 1/16 inch drill bit
  • Screws
  • Level
  • You can also use a hammer and nails (or picture hangers)
How to Install a Plate Wall

Thank you so much for stopping by the blog today and every other day. It truly means the world to us here on the farm. Make sure to keep up with us daily on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok. As always, Stay Cozy!

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