Hanging a framed picture may seem like a simple home maintenance project, but it’s easy to make a few small mistakes that leave your art crooked or hanging at the wrong height. In the worst case scenario, your art could fall off of its mount and leave a nasty hole in your wall!
Decide what type of nail you want to use to hang your picture or art. For lighter artwork, a single 1 ½-inch or 2-inch finishing nail should support your frame. For heavier pictures, round head screws (also known as dome head screws) provide more strength and are a better choice.
If you have a stud finder, use it to locate the studs in your wall. Hanging your artwork on the stud will offer extra support and take some pressure off of the plaster part of your wall. Stud finders generally cost $20-$50, and are available at your local hardware store. Studs are usually spaced 15 inches apart from each other, so the chances that you’ll find a stud by luck are pretty slim. If you don’t have a stud finder, you can still hang your art! For lighter artwork, it’s fine to just hang them between studs. If you’re hanging a heavy frame between studs with a dome head screw, you can safely hang your photo by purchasing a hollow-wall anchor. These can be found at your local hardware store for around $10.
Hang your art at 57” on center. This means that the center of your picture or wall art should measure 57” from your floor, and the hook will be just a few inches higher. This height is average eye level, and the go-to measurement for most art galleries. Measure from your floor using a tape measure, and lightly mark the spot with a pencil. Note: Don’t feel like you must hang your art at this height. If your space or setup doesn’t accommodate a 57” height, improvise!
Measure from the top of your picture to its center (or measure the height of your picture and divide it by two). Then, hook your measuring tape to the hanging wire (or whatever hook you are hanging your art with) and pull it upwards until it’s tight. Next, measure the distance from the wire to the top edge of the frame. This is usually about 2 or 3 inches. Subtract this amount from the number you got when you measured the height of half your picture. This will tell you how far above the 57” mark you will need to place your nail so that the center of your photo will still be at 57”. Once you’ve measured this distance, lightly mark with a pencil where you will place the nail.
Hammer your nail, screw or hollow-wall anchor into your pencil mark. If you’re hanging pictures in between studs, hammer your nail at a steep angle of at least 45 degrees for extra support.
Hang your photo and grab your level. Place it horizontally on top of your frame. The horizontal tube should be parallel with the top edge of your frame. Inspect the tube. If the bubble is in the center of the tube between the two lines, your picture is straight!