Picture and Mirror Hangers
on June 20 2013
When you’re hanging a new picture or mirror, there are two important objectives that you need to consider. First, you want to ensure that the object is securely fastened to the wall. Second, you need to make sure the item is positioned so it is straight, level and aesthetically pleasing. Choosing the right type of hanger can help you accomplish these tasks. As you consider your hardware options, take into account the type of wall you’re working with and how heavy and large the object you’re hanging is.
Consider the following questions to find the right part for the job:
• What types of hangers are available?
• What surfaces are different hangers best suited for?
• What tools will you need for installation?
• How can you best determine where to place pictures?
• Are there any special features you would like to have?
Surfaces, Weight, Types and Installation Considerations
The type of hanger you choose will depend largely on the type of wall you’re working with. Hangers that work well on drywall, lath or plaster cannot necessarily be used on concrete or brick. Devices used for hanging include picture hangers, D-rings, toggle bolts, angle irons and more. Many of them can be used without being anchored to a stud, which allows for plenty of placement flexibility. When it comes to choosing the perfect spot for a picture or mirror, you’ll want to take the size of the object into consideration as well as the size of the wall, height of the ceiling in the room, furniture placement and more. Wall Surfaces and Object Weight:
Not all walls are the same. Some are made of drywall, lath or plaster while others are composed of brick, concrete, cinder block or other materials. As a result, you’ll need to choose a hanger that’s designed specifically for the type of wall you’re working with. Drywall is relatively easy to work with, though it’s not as strong as other surfaces. Larger objects will probably require the use of a hollow wall anchor for extra support. If you’re working on a plaster, brick or stone wall, you’re going to need a drill to create a pilot hole. While conventional wisdom dictates that you anchor your hanger to a stud, many of today’s hangers are designed to hold just as securely when inserted into another part of the wall.
• Make sure the wall can bear the weight of the object you’re planning to hang
• To determine weight, stand on a bathroom scale with and without the object and subtract the
• Hangers will need to be rated to handle the load they’ll be supporting
• Loads are based on static surfaces, so you may need a stronger hook if you’re hanging an object on a
door or other surface that can move
• Hanging objects exert both a downward and outward pull on hangers and anchors
• Studs are usually located equal distances apart
Hangers are generally nailed or screwed directly into the wall, but they are not the only pieces of hardware needed to properly secure an object. D-rings, felt pads and stainless-steel wire are all crucial components in certain situations as well.
The following chart details different types of hanging hardware, applications for each and a few points of consideration.
Application and Description
Points to Consider
||Metal brackets mounted underneath an object to provide extra support.
||• May be needed with particularly heavy objects
• Help support weak frames
||Drilled into the sides of a frame and used to hang objects on nails or hangers. May also be used to string wire through.
||• Best when screwed in before picture is framed
• Provide tremendous stability when mounted on
• Helps objects to remain straight and level
||Placed on the corners of a painting, picture or mirror.
||• Prevent wall from being marred when hanging
||Plastic hooks that feature a square backing coated with adhesive.
||• Use only with lightweight objects
• Adhesive may damage wall’s surface
||Used to hang mirrors of all shapes and sizes.
||• Available in decorative designs that stylishly
||Used to hang paintings, photographs and other objects. Feature a hole or holes through which nails are inserted and a hook on which the picture rests.
||• May feature one, two or three holes
• Channels guide nails in at an angle for
maximum holding power
• Use with case-hardened, blue steel nails
• Load rating varies
||Strung across the back of paintings and connected to D-hooks or eye hooks. Used to hang objects from screws, nails or hangers.
||• Pliable and strong
• Edges may be sharp
• Use electrical tape to blunt sharp edges
• Must be properly tied to ensure integrity
Hanging a picture or mirror involves much more than just nailing a hook to a wall. There’s an aesthetic component as well, and where you locate an object and how you position it can have a profound effect on a room. Generally, you’ll want to hang pictures at or below eye level, keeping them several inches above the top of any furniture sitting below. Bear in mind that if you’re hanging objects with a wire, you’ll need to take wire tension into account when installing hooks.
The weight of the object will cause the wire to lift up when hung, so you’ll need to position the hooks or nails accordingly. One of the best ways to determine where to position hangers is to create a template for the object you’re hanging. Trace an outline of the picture on a piece of paper. Hold the wire so it’s taut and measure how far from the top of the picture it is in that position. Then, mark that spot on the paper template. Hang the template on the wall and use it to mark the exact spot you’ll need to insert the hangers.
• Consider whether pictures will be seen more frequently from a sitting or standing position
• Leave space around large objects, but surround smaller objects with other small objects
• Hanging pictures on two hooks provides greater stability and keeps them level
• Having a helper makes it much easier to ensure that objects are hung level
• Precise measurements are crucial to prevent objects from being crooked
• Tape measures, levels or laser levels, pencils, tape, hammers, drills and screwdrivers may all be needed
While picture hangers come in handy under a range of circumstances, there are times when they are not the best option, particularly when hanging an especially heavy object or working on a hollow or concrete wall. In those cases, an anchor might be a better solution. Molly bolts and hollow bolts are well suited for hanging pictures.
When installing hangers into concrete or brick, make sure to use bendless nails, which are tough enough to be driven into hard surfaces without bending.
If you need to secure your hanger or anchor to a stud, you can either tap on the wall in an attempt to find the stud, or you can make it easy on yourself and use a stud finder. Simple ones are relatively inexpensive, and they’ll make it a cinch to quickly identify exactly where to position fastenings.
Once you get your pictures level and straight, mounting putty can help them stay there. Apply a small amount on the corners to secure the picture to the wall in just the right spot.
After you’ve done the hard work of hanging a picture in the perfect spot, you want people to notice it. Spotlights and track lights can provide an ideal accent to subtly highlight your favorite paintings and photographs.