How to Hang a Picture

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What You Need to Know

  1. Before you start hanging your picture, you need to find the perfect spot for it; before you get your hammer and nails out, get a friend to hold the picture up in various places on the wall and see where it looks best.
  2. Avoid placing small pictures on large, blank walls, but also be wary of putting yet another picture onto a cluttered surface.
  3. To hang your picture, you will need a pencil, some nails, a tape measure, a hammer and some patience.
  4. For small and medium-sized pictures, a two piece nail and hook will be perfectly suitable, though for larger, heavier pictures you may need to fit a wall anchor.
  5. Hanging pictures on solid brick walls can be tricky. You may need to use a drill and insert wallplugs into the masonry before you can put your picture up.
  6. Similarly, take extra care when putting a picture up on plasterboard. Make use of special, spiral screws, but be aware that these can be difficult to get out of a wall.

Choosing the Right Place to Hang a Picture

Before you start hanging your picture, you need to find the perfect spot for it. So, if you haven’t already got a spot in mind, take your time to think about where it will look best in your property. Fortunately, you don’t need a degree in interior design for this.

Start off by looking at any artwork that may already be hanging on a wall and ask yourself if there is room for more? And even if there is, will the picture you want to hang complement what’s already there, or will it clash? If a wall is bare, then this could also be problematic: a small picture can get lost on a large, blank wall, so it might be best putting it up on a smaller plain area.

As well as avoiding large expanses of plainness, experts also recommend putting a picture up in line with the furniture since, by extending the line of a table, door or window, it’ll offer enhanced aesthetics. Additionally, if it’s a small picture you’re hanging, you may want to consider hanging it alongside some other small pieces, again for aesthetic reasons, while you will also want to take into account what the lighting is like in different parts of your home.

The best way to work out if a picture fits in a certain spot is to get a friend to hold it in place there. That way you can see what it will look like handing in a specific spot without having to actually hang it up.

Hanging Your Picture

Once you have decided where you want the picture to go, then you can get started hanging it.

  • To begin with, hold the picture up against the spot on the wall where you want it to hang and, using a light pencil, make a small mark where the centre of the top edge of the frame will be.
  • Now, with the picture face down on an even surface, measure the distance from the top of the picture to its hanging device. This may be the hook that is attached to back of the picture or the wire. If it is the latter, pull the wire taut and measure the distance from this to the top edge. Note down this distance.
  • Using a tape measure, measure out the same distance from the mark you made on the wall, taking care to keep the line as vertically straight as possible. Now, mark this will a small pencil cross. This is where you will place your hook.
  • For small and medium-sized pictures, a two piece nail and hook will be perfectly suitable, though for larger, heavier pictures you may need to fit a wall anchor.
  • Nail the picture hook into the wall at the exact point you made your second mark, ensuring you keep the nail straight and taking care not to be too forceful with your hammering.
  • Now your hook is in place, you can hang your picture. Once it’s up, take a step back and check that it’s straight and, if necessary, make small adjustments so that it is. If possible, get a second opinion on its straightness.

Clearly, then, hanging a picture from a wall is, for the most part, quick and easy, though some care is required. However, depending on the type of wall you want to hang your picture on, you may need to go that little bit further in your DIY efforts.

Hanging a Picture on Brick Walls

Brick walls may be too hard to hammer a nail into. If this is the case, then you will need a powerful drill (if you don’t own one, consider hiring one from a DIY store rather than buying one just for one DIY job). Using the drill, create a hole big enough for a wallplug and a screw big enough to hold the weight of your picture. Once you have made the hole, push the holeplug in until it is flush against the wall and then insert the screw. You should now be able to hang your picture.

Note that you should never drill directly above or below plug sockets or light switches. If in any doubt, use an electronic tester to minimise the risk of getting a nasty shock.

Hanging a Picture of Plasterboard

Plasterboard can be equally as tricky as solid brick walls when it comes to hanging pictures, though the problem here is that a surface can be too soft, meaning nails and screws are unable to hold heavier items such as pictures with solid frames.

To get around this, it’s a good idea to head down to your local DIY shop and invest in some special screws. For example, spiral fixing screws – which are inserted into a wall using a drill – can add extra strength, while spring toggle screws can similarly add some extra support. Note, however, that these types of screws can be hard to get out without damaging a wall, so make sure you put them exactly where you want them first time around.

Further Reading

  • Check out the latest DIY equipment on sale at Wickes.
  • If you’re at a loss of something to hang, you could do worse than check out these cheap art prints.
  • Whilst you’re expanding your DIY know how, take a look at our guide to tiling a wall.

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