How to Hang Paintings Without Damaging Walls
Hanging works of art or photographs on the walls will make your home more like a home, and your space will become even more individual. But you may not want to deal with any damage to your walls, especially if you are renting. Luckily, you have several options to decorate your home without destroying the walls, and it all starts with planning – long before you drive the first nail into the wall or drill the first hole.
Choose your seat. If you don’t already know where you want to hang your artwork or posters, now is the time to start searching and make sure the space you want to place is large enough to accommodate it. Also, make sure that you don’t stuff so many frames, photos, and posters in such a small space that you can’t manage or arrange them evenly. And, according to Architectural Digest , it’s important to consider the type of wall. Conditions will be different if you are drilling a brick wall rather than plaster or tiles.
Hang at eye level. One design tip to help you make the most of wall space without losing sight of your artwork is to always hang them at eye level. This way, you can see it without lifting your neck up or looking into your nose to see what you are hanging on the wall. If you don’t want to see what “eye level” is, run a tape measure from floor to ceiling and have someone else mark the measure where your eyes naturally rest when you stand one or two feet from the wall.
Purchase a Stud Finder Tool. While you may not need to hang lightweight posters in acrylic or plastic frames or photographs on studs, if you have an expensive item in a heavy frame, you should know where the racks are behind the walls . Even if you don’t need nails for your work, take a nail finder and mark with a pencil – perhaps at the top of the wall where it meets the ceiling – where the nails are. Then you don’t have to worry anymore.
Measure first. Make sure to mark all the spots where you need to hammer in nails or drill holes for the brackets before attempting to hang the piece. Before holding the piece of art against the wall, use a ruler, ruler, or level to make sure the sides are aligned. Mark a center line (the midpoint between the bottom and top of the drawing, which should also be at eye level) around the edges and on all sides. When you’re done, setting the pattern will be like inserting a puzzle into a slot. By making sure you take the time to mark where the art comes first, and that it will be flat and well spaced from other parts, you save yourself having to mount a part just to take it off and re-install it later in a different location.
Use the right tools. Picture hanging kits , which are readily available in most hardware and department stores, and on the Internet, often contain all the materials you need to hang the most common frames on the walls. Lightweight items such as photographs, movie posters, and other pieces of art will likely only need a nail, or a nail, and a bracket or picture hanger (most light frames already have a bracket in the back).
If you are faced with something over 25 pounds. however, this is where you’ll be happy to tag the studs. Depending on how heavy the piece of art is, you may want to consider using a plastic wall anchor in drywall, or firmly securing it to a rack using a mounting bracket. Don’t use drywall screws or drywall screws — go to your local hardware store and find a picture hanger of the size and weight you are dealing with. Using the wrong mounting brackets or tools will inevitably lead you to wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of your art falling to the floor.
Use a blank sheet of paper for layouts. There is no need to bring a piece of art or frame up to a wall while marking or drilling holes in it. Place the artwork on the floor and place a pad or heavyweight paper around the edges, then tape the paper to a large sheet of the same size as the piece you want to hang. Then use a sheet, now the same height and width as the art, as a guide that you can glue to the wall to mark holes or even drill holes in hanging paper without worrying about being in the right place.
Once you’ve measured, centered, and set up your equipment, placing the pattern on the wall should be a simple task, and you don’t have to spend too much time tilting the pattern to make sure it’s even. However, you can keep the paint on your walls from scuffing and scratching by adding small sticky pieces of felt around the corners or bottom of the frame where it is in direct contact with the wall. If you don’t have one, some duct tape or masking tape will do, whatever so the frame doesn’t scratch directly against the wall.
Bonus tip: use disposable hooks
The 3M command line, made up of plastic and metal hooks, is also well suited for hanging lightweight artwork and posters on drywall or concrete without the use of drills or nails. Residents of rental units, college students, or anyone else technically prohibited from hammering or drilling will find them particularly useful. The adhesive strips that come with Command Hooks are easy to peel off, cure quickly and remove quickly without damaging the walls (in most cases), which is a huge benefit if you like to change patterns on your walls frequently or just don’t want to risk drilling or hammering nails into them. …
The problem with these disposable hooks, Velcro, and other mounting tapes is that they are usually designed for very light items. If you have small, lightweight plastic or acrylic frames with photographs or posters, these are fine. If you have a solid wood frame or oversized pieces of art, they can last for days, but your art will thunder unless you use three or four hooks to hold it in place.
Hanging a painting doesn’t have to be so hard that you worry about damaging your walls in the process. With a little preparation, you can get it right the first time and hang your artwork easily without creating numerous nail holes in the wall that you later have to patch up or cover with the hung artwork.
This story was originally published on 8/9/11 and updated on 10/9/19 to provide more complete and up-to-date information.