How to Safely Hang Your Paintings

Hanging a painting can be a simple task, but it is important to do it correctly to ensure that the painting is secure and level on the wall. Here are the basic steps on how to safely hang your paintings:

Prepare the Painting

Firstly check whether the picture is ready to hang (all of my artwork is), however, if you have a painting that isn’t strung, then fit D-Rings roughly one third from the top of the frame on each side. I use 20mm screws, but measure them first to make sure they won’t extrude through the frame.

Use a sturdy cord. With a double loop at one end, feed it through the ‘eye’ of the D-ring and tie it off with a tight knot.

Pull the string through the second D-ring and pull tight (not too tight or you’ll pull out the screws – I’ve done it!). Then secure with a knot.

Any loose ends can be tied off in a series of knots once you are ready to finally hang the painting.

Do not cut loose ends at this stage, in case you have to adjust the height of the painting.

Choose the right location

Choose a location on the wall where the painting will be visible and will complement the room’s decor. Don’t forget that the colours in the picture do not have to be the same as the room decor and can work very well with complementary colours.

Consider the size of the painting and the height at which it should be hung. Look to align it with other paintings or features around the room.

You should also consider the light. Is there natural light? Which direction does it come from? Is there sufficient artificial light when it gets dark. You may want to consider ‘near natural’ light bulbs to brighten the room near the painting.

Prepare the Wall

Check the type of wall: is it a solid wall, stud or plasterboard partition? If you are able to ascertain the studs location and it fits in the right place to hang your painting, you can simply use a wood screw in the wall. If it’s plasterboard, then use a plasterboard anchor first to secure the screw. For the purpose of this guide I have used a solid wall as an example.

Most importantly at this stage, ensure that there are no electrics in the vicinity of the screw. Obvious signs are a socket or light switch directly underneath. You can also use power detectors that can be picked up very cheaply from your local hardware store; I actually picked one up from Lidl.

Fix the Screws

Measure the distance from the top of the wire or hook to the top of the painting. I do this by lifting the painting with the rule as there is always some slack in the cord.

Mark the position of the top of the painting on the wall and then mark this distance below it with a pencil.

Also measure the centre point of where you want to hang the painting and then mark an ‘X’.

If the painting is heavy (ie over 4kgs), then consider using 2 screws about 10cm apart; bear in mind that this will cause the painting to sit slightly higher and the measurement should be adjusted to take that into account.

Drill your holes (tip: use a vacuum as you drill).

I always use a 6mm masonry drill and the red plastic Rawl plugs. To help judge the depth of the hole, you can add some electrical tape on the drill bit at the depth of the Rawl plug.

Vacuum the hole and inset the plug. A slight tap with a small hammer ensures that they sit firmly in the hole.

Now you can insert the screws. I tend to use 40mm screws. Do not screw them all the way in or you’ll have no room to hang the cord on.

Safely Hang Your Painting

Lift the painting by the sides and position it on the screw(s). Adjust the angle and level the painting as needed.

You can use a level, but I tend to check by eye. Most period properties that I have owned tend not to have many straight lines!

Check the Stability

Give the painting a gentle tug to make sure it’s securely in place. At this stage, if the height needs adjusting, you can loosen or tighten the string before cutting the loose ends.

    That’s it! You’ve successfully and safely hung your painting.

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