Hanging framed photos or artwork on the walls of your home is one of the simplest ways to make a big visual impact, and it’s also a great opportunity to showcase your personal style and story. Think of your wall decorations as clothes for your home; your clothes are a way for you to express yourself, and your wall decor should be, too!
I don’t think I’m alone when I say I really dislike hanging things! It isn’t unheard of for framed photos or art to lean against a wall in my home for several weeks because no one wants to hang them up! After weeks of walking by unhung photos feeling pangs of guilt, I figured there must be a way to simplify this task! So I did some research and gathered what I consider to be the best tips and tricks for hassle-free hanging!
Deciding Where to Hang
The first step when hanging something is obviously deciding where you’re going to hang it!
To help you visualize your layout before committing to anything, which is especially helpful when planning a gallery wall, create paper templates of each frame you’re planning to hang.
Trace each of your frames onto newspaper or kraft paper, cut them out, then use masking tape to hang the templates up where you plan to hang your frames. Seeing the shapes of each frame on the wall will help you see what works for your space and what doesn’t.
If you’re only hanging one item, you can just hold your frame up to the wall, and once you’ve found the right place, mark the location of the edges of the frame with masking tape or a sticky note.
Hardware & Hanging Equipment
I personally use Command Picture Hanging Strips almost exclusively to hang frames on my walls. We even have several large frames (28” x 40”) that we’ve hung using the large strips, and we’ve never once had a problem with them staying on the wall.
Another 3M product we use often are Mounting Squares, which we use for framing odd-sized prints and posters. Whenever we have a print that won’t fit in a standard frame, we go to IKEA and pick up a frame that is slightly larger than the print (almost always a NYTTJA frame, which ranges from $4-10 depending on the size). IKEA frames come with a paper inside that shows the product details and barcode, which we turn around to the blank side and use as a mat for the print. We stick one Mounting Square to each corner of the print, center the print on the paper, and make sure it’s firmly adhered.
The paper provides a nice neutral background that highlights your art or print, it’s always nice to be able to reuse something rather than throwing it away! (But if you are using an empty frame, you can always just cut a piece of white paper to fit the frame and mount your print on that.)
Note: This post is NOT sponsored by 3M. I’m just very passionate about Command products! As a renter, I think that Command products are the best thing since sliced bread. I can decorate to my heart’s content without ever having to risk the wrath of an angry landlord.
Of course, if you don’t want to spend the extra money, a standard nail or screw works just as well…and here are some more tips for those as well! :-)
Getting it Right the First Time
Now that you’ve determined where and how you’re going to hang your frame, it’s time to get it done! And if you’re going the nail or screw route, it’s always nice to get it right the first time so you don’t end up making multiple holes in your wall.
One way to do it is to make a handy picture-hanging stick. An inch or so away from one end of a thin ruler or a paint stirrer, hammer a small nail about 1/3 of the way through the wood.
Hang your frame from the nail, and hold it up against the spot where you want to hang it. Press firmly on the nail-end of the wooden stick, and you’ll have a small hole signaling exactly where you should place your nail or screw!
An alternate method is to use a tape measure to measure the distance from the top of your frame to the hanging point (most likely a wire or a sawtooth hanger). If your frame has a wire, make sure to pull the wire taut towards the top of the frame, since that’s how it will hang on your wall.
Once you have your measurement, you can mark it on the correct location on your template or directly on the wall with a pencil.
Our friend Jamielyn at I Heart Naptime shared a similar trick on her blog, and it’s really helpful for frames with two hanging points. She cuts a piece of masking tape that covers the distance between the two hanging points on the back of the frame, then sticks the piece of tape to the wall where she’ll be hanging it. This shows her exactly where she needs to put her nails or screws! Get the full details on her method here.
Once you’ve got your frame on the wall, all that’s left to do its make sure it’s level. If you have an iPhone, you’ve already got a level handy! Open the Compass app, and swipe left to access the level. Hold it up along the top of your frame and it will let you know if your frame is level or not!
Do you have a favorite picture hanging tip?