Thought Tuesday

Adulting 101 – How to hang a picture

So here is the deal… someday, you will move out of your parents house.  Someday you are going to want to hang a picture of dear old mom above the mantel.  Mom is coming to visit and you will want to make an impression.  Proudly displaying that picture of mom will definitely show off your stellar homemaking skills!


Here is where you training in Adulting 101 will save the day!  You are going to, ahem, nail this task!

Okay… hanging a picture isn’t exactly rocket science, but knowing a few basics about wall hangings will ensure your success.

All of this is much easier with two people… you might want to grab someone to help.

Next, you will need to choose how you are going to hang the picture.  You will need to consider three main things:  size/weight of the pictures, the hanging options on the picture frame (like wire, ring, saw tooth hanger, etc.), and wall material.

For most pictures hanging on mast walls, a standard nail or picture hanging hook will do the job.  I prefer the picture hanging hook.  One picture hanging hook will often do the trick with a small print. A medium-sized print is more secure with two picture hanging hooks and will more likely stay centered.  Large frames or heavy frames will need some kind of anchor if going into drywall with no stud.  A toggle bolt carries the most load capacity, but will damage your wall since you have to drill a large-ish hole first.  That’s why I’d find a stud and hang that heavy picture with a nail on the stud.  If you are in an apartment you may wish to consider 3M poster hangers that utilize plastic hooks or velcro strips.  These also work will on brick walls… so much better than drilling.

The next trick is to find the perfect place to hang your picture.  This step is often the most commonly flubbed art of the picture hanging task.  First, you need to decide on which wall your image is going to be hung.  You will want to measure across to find the center, and mark it with a pencil or painter’s tape.  Then, decide how high the picture will hang on the wall.  This is where many people go wrong. As a general rule, the middle of the picture should be about eye level.  Since everybody’s eye level is slightly different, it’s safe to go with 60-65 inches.  Mark this on the wall as well.  Match this vertical mark with the horizontal mark previously made.  Now you know where the center of your picture should be.


Maybe you want mom’s picture to be hung in a gallery wall of pictures of mom, this way you can show off your creativity.  I suggest that you map this one out on a piece of paper.  As a rule of thumb, try to keep prints evenly spaced from each other.  Once it it mapped, decide where the center of the design is located and match that with the center of the wall you want it hung on.   It may help to cut out pieces of paper that match all the frames.  Use painter’s tape and lay out you gallery before putting holes in the wall.  Then you can move the papers about to perfect the design.  When ready, you can switch the paper for the frame.

I have found that using painter’s tape to mark the top edge of the picture is a quick and easy.


Mark the center of the placement of the picture.  Make pencil marks on the tape for the edge of the frame as well.  Measure the width of the frame and split the difference with the number of nails or hooks you wish to use to hang the picture.


Next, measure down on the frame itself, from the top of the frame to where the nail of hook needs to be.  If the picture frame has a wire, pull the wire taut before measuring.


Next, measure down from the painter’s tape the same distance from the halfway mark in your tape and mark where your nail or hanger will go on the wall.

Hammer in your nail or wall hanger.  I use a clothes pin to help hold the nail or hook and to protect my fingers. Once the picture is hung, use a level to ensure it’s evenness.

Bam!  Mom will be so impressed!



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