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How to Hang a Picture

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How to Hang a Picture

Can you never get that picture to hang straight? Are they always falling on your head? If so, you need to follow these steps!


Have an assistant hold the picture against the wall and take time to consider positioning and height. It is worth spending some time considering placement, taking into account furnishings and the general environment and lighting. A good height is often when your eye level is about a quarter of the way down the image, although this is of course a matter of taste and varies from artwork to artwork. With a pencil, lightly mark the top (at the center of the artwork) of the wall to indicate where the picture will hang.

Move the picture to a safe location (away from the position where you want it to hang).

Measure the distance from the top of the picture to where the hanging device is - this may be the crossbar of a painting or the distance to the picture wire when taut.

Measure the same distance down from the light mark you made on the wall. This is now the height your fixing implement will sit (screw, nail, picture hook, etc).

If your picture only requires one fixing implement, then move to step 7. Measure the distance that your fixing implements should be apart. If using strap hangers this distance will have to be fairly precise so that the screws line up with hanging device perfectly. If hanging from a hanging / stretcher bar it does not have to be so accurate - it's a good idea to leave a space between the fixing implement and the edge of the picture so that you can adjust left and right if need be. (You won't have this privilege with strap hangers so make sure you position correctly!) Once you know the distance your fixing implements should be apart divide this by 2. Now measure this distance to the left and then to the right of your central line (made in step 1). You now have the distance your hanging implements should be apart and they equal distance from the centre of the artwork.

Using a spirit level and the line you made for the screw height of the picture, make sure your fixing implements will be level (adjust if your hanging devices are not level on the artwork itself!).

Drill a hole (suitable for the material from which you will hang - wood, brick, concrete etc) and screw in the screws. If you are using nails, hammer these into the correct position. Make sure the fixing implements are sticking out from the wall a proper amount for the piece to be hung - not too long or too short.

If the piece is warped you may want to use Velcro to hold it against the wall. Stick the softer (female) piece on the artwork itself, which allows safer storage if the piece ever ends up touching another artwork. You can use a staple gun to hold in place if need be. Now put the harder (male) piece of Velcro in place on to the female piece, but leave the self-adhesive cover in place. If you using mirror plates these should be in place before hanging.

Carefully position the artwork on the screws/nails.

If you are using Velcro, gently remove the self-adhesive cover. If using mirror plates, , mark where holes should go on the wall, remove artwork to safe location, drill holes, rehang and screw in fixings.

If you are hanging more than one piece with different heights it is good practice to establish a "mid-height" for the room - the height at the centre of the artworks. To do this, subtract half the height of the artwork from its total height - you now have the mid-height!

When hanging further pieces you can add half the height of the new artwork to the mid-height you've established and this gives you a new top height. Follow steps 3-8 again.

Carefully paint/cover mirror-plates.


Use white gloves when handling delicate artworks

Keep the artwork out of the way when measuring and drilling. You often don't have to unwrap the artwork until you are ready to hang the piece.

In principal, these instructions can be used to hang any size and weight of artwork, but make sure your fixing implements are strong enough to hold the weight of the piece.

Always hang one artwork first to confirm the height you would like before measuring the rest of the exhibition - it could save you a lot of time.

Museums usually hang artworks at 56-58 inches to the center of the artwork from the floor.


Always use suitable and adequately strong fixings when hanging artwork.

Make sure the wall can support what is to be hung.

Always use white gloves when handling art objects.

Things You'll Need

White Gloves

Tape Measure


Spirit Level

Drill (or Hammer)

Drill bits

Screw driver

Screws (or Nails)