Learn How To Hang A Picture With Simple Tools And Steps

No home is complete without some photos and art on the walls, right? And you may have the perfect picture frame with a beautiful picture in it, but unless you place it on the wall, it won’t serve its purpose. While decorating your living room or bedroom, ensuring your artwork is hung securely is essential for the looks of your home but also the protection of your wall. Wondering how to hang a picture? There is a right way to do so!

young woman hanging picture on white brick wall in room

Before you drive anything into plaster or even brick, there are a few things you should first know. Planning is well worth the effort since it will save you from putting unnecessary holes in the wall, a mistake that could cost you both time and money. Keep on reading to see how to hang a picture securely and easily, whether you choose to use nails and hooks or not. The result will be a beautiful, eye-catching display!

Preparation before hanging your picture

Before you move on to the know-how guides for your wall hangings, there are a few things you should first consider. It’s crucial to have all the proper tools handy, consider your type of wall surface and know the place where you’ll hang your new home decor. Keep on reading to find all you need to know!

Make sure you have the proper hanging hardware

Picture frames these days come in various shapes and sizes. That’s why not all hardware for hanging is created equal. For example, heavy pictures shouldn’t have the same hardware as small metal ones. Ideally, any frame you buy will come with the proper hardware for hanging needed for that particular one, but if it doesn’t, you should manage it yourself. 

Make sure to have all the tools you’ll need handy, depending on the DIY project you want to follow. For example, consider if you’ll need hanging hooks, picture wires, wall plugs and a screwdriver or just adhesive strips. What you’ll need for sure is a spirit or laser level to ensure that you’ll hang your frame in the right height and straight. Below you’ll find more details about all you’ll need for the back of the frame and the wall for the best results!

Consider the wall surface

  1. Drywall: This is the easiest material to work with since you can penetrate it without difficulty. Just make sure to locate a wall stud since hanging directly on your wall won’t provide a secure anchor. If you don’t have a solid stud that isn’t available, use a wall anchor to hang pictures.
  2. Plasterboard: These walls are often found in older houses and are a little trickier since they tend to crumble. You should approach the process the same way you would when working with drywall, but keep in mind that you should pre-drill the hole when hanging pictures on a plaster wall. It’s also a good idea to place a piece of painter’s tape on the wall before drilling to prevent crumbling.
  3. Brick: In this case, you’ll need to use a wall anchor. You should also use a masonry bit on the drill, so you’ll make holes into the mortar and not the actual brick.

couple choosing where to hang a painting in new home

Use the space to your advantage

When it comes to hanging frames, it is essential to think about the room’s practicalities. For example, a small frame can be lost on a large surface, while a large picture could dominate a space.

You should also consider what will surround your artwork and how the light will fall in the room during the day. Do you want the wall art to be the focal point of your living room, or would you prefer to place it more subtly? Or maybe you want to arrange photos on your staircase walls! Keep in mind the sightlines and what you want to see first when you enter your room.

Where to hang your picture

Wondering what is the optimal height to hang pictures on the wall? As a general rule, hanging pictures at eye level is the safest option. Of course, as with any rule, some flexibility is essential– always go with your instincts and personal taste and hang it where it feels natural. At the end of the day,  ‘trusting your eye’ is more important than using tape measures.

If you’re hanging more than one picture, it’s generally sensible to hang the largest one first and then work around it. You should visualise what you want the completed wall to look like and play around with a few arrangements. If you are using the drill, lay your pieces on the floor to know what the finished work will look like before you start making any holes in your wall. 

Choosing and marking a spot for your picture

The first step when hanging your picture is to choose and mark the right spot for it. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you with your DIY project.

Step 1: Attach hardware for hanging to the back of your frame (if you need to)

Some picture frames come with attached hanging wires or crossbars. But if yours doesn’t, you should buy a picture hanging kit from a hardware store to make it more sturdy. Then, attach a wire or a crossbar with 2 screws to the frame’s back. 

Keep in mind that crossbars are great for thin, small frames, while wire picture hangers offer more support to wide or heavy frames.

Step 2: Find a stud if your picture is heavier than 7 kg

Using a stud finder, look for a stud in the wall, and then mark it with a pencil. This is important since heavy frames may fall off wood, drywall, and plaster walls without the sturdiness of a stud. If you can’t find one, you can drill a wall anchor before hanging up the picture. You can find these at most hardware stores.

Step 3: Hold the picture where you’d like to hang it on the wall

  1. If you want your picture to be at eye level, put it about 140 cm up from your floor. If you’d like a gallery wall with multiple pictures, you may arrange them in a random pattern to cover your entire wall at any height you’d like. We recommend using newsprint or butcher paper to create true-scale templates of the frames before using painter’s tape to mark where you want to put them later.
  2. Take into account what’s around the picture, like light fixtures and furniture. Ensure that it won’t be blocked by anything else in the room.

Extra tip: If you have a friend or family member around, ask them to hold the picture up so you can take a step back to look at its placement.

two girls hanging picture frame on the wall

Step 4: Mark the top centre of your picture with a pencil

Make a mark on the picture’s leading edge in the very centre. That will help keep your place on the wall after you take the picture away. You may also use painter’s tape instead if you’re worried about making a mark on the wall.

Step 5: Measure from the top of your picture to the hanging hardware

Flip your picture over so that its back is facing upwards on the floor. Hook a measuring tape onto its wire and pull it taut, so it stretches up toward the top of the frame. Then, look at your tape measure to find how far the wire is from the frame’s top. If there is a crossbar instead of a wire, measure the distance from the crossbar to the picture’s top.

Step 6: Mark your wall with the measurement you just took

Bring your tape measure back over the mark you made on the wall. Place it over the spot, and then make a second mark at the measurement you took that shows how far the wire is from the top of the frame.

Using nails and hooks to hang pictures

One of the sturdiest ways to hang your pictures is by using nails and hooks to fix them on your wall. Follow our instructions for solid and beautiful results!

Step 1: Pound a small single nail into the wall for pictures lighter than 2 kg

When you have a small picture, take a nail and align it with the lower mark on the wall. Then, using a hammer, pound in the nail at a 45-degree angle till it sticks out about 1/3 of the way. When you keep the pin at an angle, it will be much sturdier than one parallel to the ground.

Step 2: Drill a picture hook into the wall for pictures around 4.5 kg

Medium-sized frames need a little more hardware than just a nail. Start by grabbing a picture hook and line its bottom-up with the second mark you made on your wall. Then, drive the hook into the wall through the pilot hole at the top using a screw. To make sure it is secure, push in as far as it can go.

Picture hooks can grab onto both crossbars and wire, so you shouldn’t worry about what’s on the picture’s back. Just keep in mind that if you are drilling into brick or concrete, you should use a masonry bit on the drill and push an anchor into the wall before you add a screw.

Step 3: Slide the picture onto the hardware in your wall

Holding the picture straight up and down, carefully put it onto the hardware in the wall. Make sure that the crossbar or the wire on the frame catches. You can adjust your picture later, so don’t worry if it isn’t entirely even yet.

Woman arranging picture frames on wall in new house using a level

Step 4: Adjust the picture if it’s not level

Place the level on top of your picture. If its bubble measure remains in the centre, then you’ve hung the picture straight. If the bubble goes off to one side, you should adjust the picture by tilting your frame back and forth until it stays in the centre of the level.

Hanging pictures with adhesive strips

If you want to make sure that you won’t leave any marks, damage or nail holes, you can use adhesive strips to hang your pictures. They hold your frame firmly, but they are also easy to remove when you want to replace or remove them. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you with your home improvement project.

Step 1: Clean the picture’s surface with rubbing alcohol

Dab a small amount of rubbing alcohol onto a paper towel or cloth. Then, wipe down the frame’s back to clean it off, so the surface is dust-free and smooth. When you are done, wait for the alcohol to dry thoroughly for about 5 minutes.

Step 2: Peel the backs off one side of your adhesive strips

Since the adhesive strips are double-sided, you can work with one side at a time. Take off the backing of one side so that one part is sticky, and leave the backs on the other side.

Step 3: Push the sticky backs onto the frame’s back 

You may need 2 to 6 adhesive strips, depending on how large your picture is. You should put an equal amount down each side of your picture so that it stays secure on the wall. Keep in mind that most adhesive strips can hold up to about 7 kg. If your frame is heavier than that, you should consider choosing a different method for hanging.

Extra tip: Always attach the adhesive strips to the frame and not the picture’s centre. Since they are sticky, they could damage any paper or cardboard in your frame.

Step 4: Complete your hanging project

Take the backs off the other side of the strips and push them onto your wall. Then peel the backing off the second side of the adhesive strips and hold the picture up to the wall. Make sure it’s straight, and then carefully push the entire thing onto your wall with even, steady pressure.

If you need to take the picture off the wall, pull the frame up and off the adhesive strips’ back. Then, pull them down and away from your wall to take them off.

How to hang a picture with wire

If you want greater stability, consider hanging your picture with a wire suspended between 2 D-rings opposite each other. This process is the same as it is when hanging it with nails, just two-fold. Here’s how to attach the hanging wire:

  1. If the frame has D-rings without wire, or if its existing wire requires replacement, you should attach some. Cut a piece about 50 per cent longer than the space between its rings. 
  2. Run both ends through the rings.
  3. Bend the additional wire back around the ring.
  4. Twist to attach it to itself. 
  5. You’ll want to secure the wire so that it has about 2.5 cm of movement. Ensure that the wire isn’t so long that it is outside of the frame when pulled taut. If your picture has a sawtooth hanger, you may skip this step.

Happy couple hanging a picture on white wall together

Hanging a picture or a framed photo is an excellent way of adding an individual finishing touch to any room. It makes a true statement and helps a house feel like home. This is a simple enough task, but you should follow a few guidelines to get the maximum impact from your new artwork. Following our instructions will ensure your artwork is hung securely, and your home will have a charm that will knock the socks off visiting friends, dates and parents! Are you ready for your walls’ makeover?

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