Hanging a Picture Frame

Before you go at it with hammer and nail, it will be useful to sit down, plan and determine the right way to hang your vintage picture frames. Otherwise, you may find yourself frustrated to see that you have placed the picture frame too high or too low or risk the possibility of your frame falling when you least expect it and break the convex glass that comes with the frame! In addition, you do not want to unnecessarily knock holes into your wall.

This Do-It-Yourself project can actually be a fairly simple affair with a few simple things to keep in mind:

  • The right equipment for the right weight. The capacity of the hooks or hanging mechanisms should match or exceed the overall weight of the frame, including the glazing, matting and other additions. Wooden picture frames are generally heavier and will need a lot of support for its hooks. Check the maximum weight capacity of your picture frame hanging mechanism. It is best that the frame’s overall weight is lower than the maximum weight capacity.
  • Right installation. The maximum weight capacity will only work if the mechanism is properly installed as per its instructions. For instance, when installing finishing nails where your picture frames will be hanged, you should hammer the nail at an angle, approximately 45 degrees from the wall. There are also specialty hooks called monkey hooks that harness the weight of the picture frame itself to strengthen its weight capacity. However, these need to be properly installed for it to work properly.
  • Right placement.
  • For single frames. When determining the placement of the hook, remember to hang the center of the picture frame at eye level, which is set at 57” from the floor. Measure the height of the frame and divide this dimension by 2. If there is a picture wire at the back of the frame, stretch the wire the same way that it would look like when you hang the picture by the wire. This means that the wire is stretched at its highest at the wire’s center. Measure the distance between the top of the picture frame and the highest section of the wire. Subtract this number from your answer to the first number. Once you get the answer, add 57”. This is the idea height of the hook.
  • For multiple frames. For a wall gallery, you should use paper cut-outs based on the same sizes of your picture frames. You can play around with these cut-outs to see the ideal placement of each frame. Again, the center of the wall gallery should be at eye level or 57” from the floor.
  • Straightness. To prevent your picture frames from going awry after it has been hung on the wall, place rubber bumpers on the bottom corners. These bumpers have adhesive backing that you can stick on the frame. The rubber bumper holds the picture frame in place so that the frame stays level. These bumpers also prevent dust lines that you can see once you remove the picture frame from the wall.

Additional tips

  • When hanging a picture frame on a brick wall, drill a hole into the mortar and not the brick.
  • When drilling a hole, make sure that you know what is behind the wall. Otherwise, you might find yourself creating unsightly holes on the other side of the wall or drilling holes into the chimney or flue.
  • When hammering a nail into the wall, hold it with a packing peanut. This will save your fingers from getting hit and the peanut is easily pulled off once the nail is securely hammered to the wall. The same goes for clothespins.
28th Jul 2014 Eric Morgan

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