It’s Easy to Hang Pictures up on the Wall

Hanging Artworks up on the Wall

In the previous two posts, I covered lining up edges, making groupings, and the natural directed action artworks have. This post is all about getting your pictures, photos, mirrors and paintings hung up on the wall.

Positioning your picture hook ..Let’s say you want the top edge of your picture or mirror’s frame to hang 18 inches below the ceiling line, or any crown molding in a room, if you have some.

Step 1 ..Mark the wall 18 inches down from the ceiling / molding with a light horizontal pencil line.

Step 2 .. From the back side of your framed picture, take and pull the wire taught in the center. With a tape measure, measure the distance from the top of the tight pulled wire, to the top of the frame. (see Illustration 1) That is the distance down from the 18 inch pencil line, on the wall, where you will position the “J” part of your picture hook. This is not the spot where you will hammer the nail into the wall. (see Illustration 2).

If you have a large / heavy picture, mirror, etc, you will probably need to use two picture hanging hooks. When measuring for two hooks, place your framed object on the floor standing up. Take your fingers and place them 3 to 4 inches apart, the same distance apart that you would space two picture hanging hooks up on the wall. Pull up on the picture wire, as if your fingers were the two hooks. Next measure up from there, to the top of the frame. Take that measurement, and come down from the spot on the wall, you made, that represents the top of your picture. Make sure to position the two hooks at the same distance apart that you placed your fingers, when you took the measurement.

When hanging a heavy picture, mirror, etc, try to get at least one of the picture hanging hook nails into the wooden studs, that are behind your sheet rock, or plaster walls. A stud finder will help you locate the studs.

Picture hooks come in different sizes that can hold up different weights of objects. It is always better to use a larger hook, that can hold up more poundage, than one that matches the exact weight of your frame. A larger hook has a longer nail to go into the wall. The only time I really want to use a small hook, is when hanging up dishes on the wall. The hanging hook is always visible, so the smaller the better here.

Making a Wall Grouping ..When making an arrangement of framed pictures, mirrors, etc, before hanging them up on the wall, first do a dry-run by laying them out on the floor. You can easily shuffle things until you get just the right arrangement.

Before laying them out, take a few quick measurements of the space where you would like to place the grouping. Think about your grouping starting 12 inches, or so, above a sofa, buffet, or chest. Then think how far up on the wall you want that grouping to extend, or how much space down from the ceiling line you want exposed before the arrangement starts. Think also about how wide you would like the grouping to be. Take those measurements, and mark off those numbers with painter’s tape on the floor. You just have to define the four corners of your space. Now go for it! Lay out your elements trying to follow lining up edges, which I talked about in Part I of this series, and think about directed action, which I covered in Part II.

Once you get your grouping composed to your liking, take each of your framed pieces, measure their outside dimensions, or trace their outline on a piece of craft or construction paper. Write the name of each picture on the silhouette like (Jane looking left), to correspond with your art objects. Next cut out your silhouettes, and fold them in half (like a book) with a good crease. Then flatten them out.

Take those paper silhouettes, and with a few small pieces of painter’s tape, tape them up onto the wall. You will then be able to see how your composition looks before you hammer a single nail. Do you like the general overall look of the grouping? Do you think you should hang it higher, or more spread out? When working with paper silhouettes, you can move things easily until you are satisfied with the composition.

Once you have them exactly placed to your liking, follow Step 1 in this post for each picture, and then on the center folded line of your silhouette, do Step 2. After all your pictures are hung, carefully rip down your silhouettes. Happy Picture Hanging!

Companion Posts ..
It’s Easy to make a Grouping of Pictures 6-29-2011,
Making an Interesting Arrangement of Pictures 7-8-2011,
Hanging Pictures Around a Room 8-3-2011,
Picking and Hanging the RIGHT size Picture or Mirror over your Fireplace 6-23-2011.
Step-by-Step Instructions for Hanging a Gallery Wall 2-15-2015,
It’s Easy to Decorate a Room with a Tall/High Ceiling 2-3-2013.


About fredgonsowskigardenhome

Your eyes deserve to view beauty. I hope Fred Gonsowski Garden Home helps to turn your vision, into a reality.
This entry was posted in Hanging Pictures and Mirrors / Arranging Knickknacks and Collectables, Interior Decorating Principles. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to It’s Easy to Hang Pictures up on the Wall

  1. lilka says:

    I was looking for height of floor lamp (not adjustable) and what is a “bridge lamp” and is it shorter than a floor lamp? Found your site and thanks so much for all the great advice on garden and home projects.

    • Hi Lilka, I have never heard of a Bridge Lamp, either. In the post about a bridges uniting two surfaces, the lamp is just one of many elements that could tie one surface (table top) together with something hung up on the wall. Thank You for made a comment, and I’m happy you liked my posts ;-}

  2. BM says:

    Great Fred.

    We may have another avenue for your love to wall groupings

  3. Hi Fred, I invented an adjustable picture hanger and would welcome your feedback. Here’s a link:

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

    Dean N. Greve

    • Hi there Dean, I looked at your website and the videos, and find it interesting. I do though think you will have to make picture hanging hooks that hold 20, 30 and possibly 40 pounds or more. Even if the object to be hung is not all that heavy, I like to use a bigger hanging hood/device so I have peace of mind, not thinking it will fall to the ground. Art works, especially under glass, I am really hesitant about hanging up with hanging hooks that are meant only for the weigh of the art piece in question. A larger hook always gives me some peace of mind. Good luck with your project/sales.

      • Hi Fred, thank you for the reply. We’ve made some minor adjustments to the picture hanger and the plastic. With 1-vertical strip attached the hanger still holds up to albs. By simply snapping on a second vertical strip you’re able to hold up to 10lbs, snap on a 3rd for 15lbs and a 4th strip for 20lbs. Thanks to feedback such as your and other customers we continue to evolve and improve the product. Dean

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