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How to Hang a Heavy Mirror

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Preparation and Safety
A person hangs a large framed mirror on the wall of an entry hallway.

Having the proper hardware and necessary tools on hand will help make hanging your mirror an easier – and successful – project.

The first step of considering how to hang a heavy mirror is to know what type of wall you have, because the anchors and mounting hardware used for drywall, plaster and brick walls can vary.

Purchase mounting hardware and anchors that are rated for the weight of your mirror and type of wall. Weight limits will be indicated on the product packaging and a picture hanging kit will have a variety of sizes. Use a bathroom scale to find the weight of your mirror.

Here are some other tips to keep in mind:

  • When determining how to hang a heavy mirror on drywall, it is preferred to secure hangers into the center of wall studs. Use an electronic stud finder to locate them.
  • Use two hangers spaced along the mirror’s width to distribute the weight.
  • Be sure to get accurate readings from your tape measure and level, whether you’re considering how to hang a heavy mirror with wire or with brackets.
  • Large mirrors are heavy and can be cumbersome to work with. Have a helper assist with lifting when necessary.
  • Refer to local building requirements for additional guidance if you live in a seismic zone.

Tip: Your prep work for how to hang a heavy mirror, especially antique ones, should include checking the integrity of the frame. Ensure that it will support the weight of the mirror. Reinforce weak joints with angle brackets fastened to the back of the frame.

Anchors and Hooks
A picture hanging kit has screws and anchors in various sizes.

Drive hangers into studs to support heavy mirrors whenever possible. Alternatively, use an anchor that is appropriate for your type of wall and rated for increased weight.

Anchors for drywall are sheaths inserted into a wall. When a screw is driven into the anchor, its sides expand to make it stay firmly in place in the wall.

Another type of anchor for hollow walls, including plaster and lath, is a toggle bolt. A winged nut is inserted through a pilot hole in the wall. When it reaches the other side, the spring-loaded wings open to provide a base and prevent the screw from pulling out of the wall. 

Picture hanging kits often contain a variety of wall anchors suitable for smaller, lighter artwork. To hang a heavy mirror, it’s best to select packages of heavy-duty anchors. The mirror will hang from two points on the wall, so you’ll need one anchor for each hanger that is not driven into a stud.

Hangers and hooks are also rated by weight, so select those that are designed to hold the weight of your mirror.

Hang Using Picture Wire
Picture wire strung between two D-rings attached to the back of a picture frame.
  • Hold the mirror against the wall at the desired position.
  • Mark the location of the top edge and the center of the frame. Set the mirror down.
  • Place a scrap piece of wood that is approximately half as long as the mirror is wide underneath the hanging wire on back of the frame.
  • Pull the wood piece toward the top of the frame to mimic how the picture wire will be positioned when hung from two anchor points.
  • Measure the distance from the taut wire to the top of the frame.
  • Transfer that measurement to the wall to determine the height placement of the anchors, beneath the reference mark made when positioning the mirror.
  • Center the piece of wood on that mark and level it.
  • Mark the wall at the upper corner of each end of the wood.
  • Use the level again to ensure that the marks are level.
  • Confirm the distance from the marks for the anchors to the line made earlier marking the top of the frame.
  • Drill pilot holes for the anchors at the two reference marks.
  • Install the anchors that are appropriate for your wall type and for the weight of the mirror.
  • Carefully lift the mirror and gently guide the frame’s wire onto the hanging hardware.
Hang Without Picture Wire
Two D-rings attached to the back of a picture frame.

An alternative to hanging the mirror with the wire on the back of the frame is to use the D-rings to latch onto anchors or hooks on the wall.

  • On the back of the mirror, measure the distance from the top edge of the D-rings to the top edge of the frame.
  • Measure the distance between the two D-rings.
  • Transfer and mark these measurements to the wall in respect to the desired placement of the mirror.
  • Ensure the marks are level.
  • Make pilot holes to install proper anchors and hardware.
  • Lift the mirror into position and latch the D-rings over the hangers.
French Cleat Brackets
Interlocking metal brackets called French cleats are attached to a wall and the back of frame for easy hanging.

An easy-to-install French cleat hanging system is another mounting method to consider when learning about how to hang a heavy mirror. Interlocking brackets on the wall and the mirror provide secure and level hanging.

  • Center the mounting bracket, or cleat, on the back of the mirror frame and level with its top edge.
  • Use a power drill to carefully make pilot holes into the frame using the pre-drilled holes in the bracket as a guide.
  • Attach the bar to the frame with screws.
  • Determine placement on the wall and the location of wall studs using a stud finder.
  • Screw one end of the second mounting bracket into a stud.
  • Use a level to align the bar for placement.
  • Use screws through the remaining pre-drilled holes in the bracket to secure it to the wall.
  • Wall anchors should be used when stud placement is not available.
  • Lift mirror and gently guide the lip of its bracket to interlock with the cleat fixed to the wall.
Frameless Mirrors
A large frameless mirror is hung on a bathroom wall behind a bathtub.

Figuring out how to hang a heavy mirror without a frame doesn’t need to be intimidating.

Many decorative mirrors already have hangers such as D-rings attached with strong adhesive to the back.

  • If D-rings are attached, hanging a frameless mirror is the same as hanging the framed variety.
  • Select hangers rated for the weight of the mirror and appropriate for your wall type.

Large frameless mirrors can be found in bathrooms. These often rest directly on the bath countertop backsplash for support and are fixed to the wall using mirror adhesive.

  • Mark the location of the mirror, then stage the mirror close to its final position. 
  • Apply mirror adhesive to the back of the mirror and/or to the wall, following the manufacturer’s instructions. 
  • Move the mirror into position and support it as recommended by the adhesive manufacturer.

These techniques for how to hang a heavy mirror can also be used when determining how to hang a heavy picture.