Project Guide

How to Hang a Picture

1
Group the Pictures
A group of pictures on a wall
  • Juggling pictures to get the right one in the right place can be difficult. So work with pieces of paper instead. Trace the outline of each picture frame on a piece of paper. Cut out the shapes, place masking tape loops on the backs, and experiment with how you’d group the pictures. 
  • To see how a picture grouping will look, you can also lay it out on the floor. You're getting a bird's eye view, and you'll find it easier and quicker to move things around as you work out a preliminary arrangement. 
  • To make sure heavy artwork and mirrors won’t fall, lodge anchors into wall studs, using a stud finder to locate them. To support especially large objects, drive hangers into adjacent studs.
2
Install the Screw Eyes and Picture-Frame Wire
A person installing screws into a frame
  • Screw eyes and braided wire are sold in a range of sizes to handle framed objects of different weights. 
  • To position the eyes, measure the height of the frame and mark pilot holes one-third of the way down the frame. Drill a hole slightly smaller than the diameter of the threaded portion of the eye. Drill carefully to avoid boring through the frame. Twist in the eyes by hand. 
  • To determine the length of wire to cut for a picture, measure the picture width and add 50 percent. This allows enough wire to wrap each end around a screw eye and then around itself, while preventing the frame from dropping below the hanger.
3
When to Use Double Wire
Double wire hanging on the back of a picture frame
  • Use double wire for heavy pictures and mirrors. 
  • To securely hang heavy pictures where there is no access to a stud, run two wires between the screw eyes and support each with a wall hanger. Space the two hangers at least half the picture’s width apart.
4
Nail Hangers to the Wall
A woman hanging a picture frame on a wall
  • To determine the exact position for the hanger, poke a pencil point through the paper cutout at the spot where the picture wire will be when fully stretched by the picture weight. When you find the best location for the picture, tap one of the box nails through the hole just enough to mark the wall. 
  • Traditional hangers have a nail that runs through the top, with a hook that acts as a hanger. They work in both drywall and plaster but may tend to chip plaster. 
  • Hangers sold as “professional” picture hangers also work in plaster and drywall. They have a thin, sharp, hardened nail that is less likely to chip plaster. The nail is removable and reusable. 
  • Wallboard anchors are large nylon screws that house metal screws. Drive the pointed end into the drywall with a hammer; then screw the anchor into the wall with a standard screwdriver. Drive in the metal screw, and hang the picture. 
  • Anchors are available with hooks to hang pictures and with special hooks to hang mirrors.