Hanging pictures safely

Getting it safely onto the wall is not rocket science, thankfully!

stud finder, hangin with Phil

Learn what’s inside the wall before you hang.

picture hanging, D-hooks, picture hangers, picture wire

D-rings are for hanging on wall hooks. But if you want to use picture wire, put fixed anchors, like the one at right, on the frame back.

plaster wall anchors for picture hanging

Plaster wall anchors will support up to 10kg weight. Use them cautiously!

secure picture hanging solution, security picture hooks, mirror hanger, picture hanging clips

Security clips lock together for extra safety – handy above a bed or couch.

brick plug, Ramset knock-in, dyna-bolt, hang picture on brick wall, brick bolts

Masonary plugs, expanding bolts and ‘knock-ins’, best for securing to brick walls.

Z-Bar, french cleats, hanging heavy artworks, hang picture on stud wall, hang art on plaster wall

Z-Bar or french cleats – useful for spreading the weight of heavy frames between timber studs.

To ensure you’re hanging pictures safely and securely, you need to understand the supporting wall. Then you can balance this knowledge with the weight of the picture. It’s not complicated, but it is important to know. Once that’s sorted you can concentrate on the hard part – positioning the artwork to look great – which is much harder than rocket science.

Listed below are the physical steps to hanging a picture or mirror:

1. Consider your weight. Is your picture/mirror heavy or light, is it going to hang in a high traffic area where it could be bumped? First you’ll need to choose fittings for the back with a breaking strain capable of holding its weight. For fairly heavy artworks – over 10kg – it may be best to do away with wire and suspend it directly from a D-ring fixed to the frame on each side.

2. What’s in the wall. To hang a very lightweight artwork – say a small print under 700g, a nailed picture hook will do. (Avoid using a nail alone as it can gradually widen the hole in plaster.) For anything larger you’ll need to find what’s behind the plaster. Knock on the wall with your knuckles. If it feels solid, it’s going to be brick or concrete with a rendered plaster surface. Otherwise, it’s most likely plaster sheeting attached to a timber or steel framework. Knock your way across the wall till you hear and feel something solid – vertical timber framing usually spaced at even intervals of  40 – 60 cm. Using a battery powered stud finder makes the task a little more accurate… usually. If you can’t locate a timber stud this way it probably means they’re made of pressed steel, in which case you’ll have to slide a strong magnet slowly across the wall till you feel it pulling. Finally, before drilling, do some investigating to make sure there are no wires or pipes behind the plaster, bearing in mind that they may not always be metal.

3. Put in anchors. If the weight of your artwork is heading towards double figures (in kilos) you’d be best to put at least one wall anchor into something solid like a brick or a stud. If it’s a brick wall, you’re set. Tape a plastic bag beneath where you’ve marked the hole and drill the correct size for a plastic wall plug. If the artwork is more than 10kg you may be better to use an expanding bolt or a ‘knock-in’ style steel plug with threaded base. If you’re on a plaster wall, fix your hooks to the studs you located earlier, with long screws – at least 40mm – to give plenty of purchase in the wood. (Remember, the plaster surface may be  up to 20mm thick.) If you can’t find a stud in a convenient position, you may need a wall plug suitable for plaster. For heavy objects like large mirrors, it’s advisable to use Z-Bar or french cleats. This way you can span two or more studs – anchor the base to them, then attach the same-length of inverted strip to the back of the artwork. See section on How to Hang Heavy Art.

4. Now you’re hangin’. Lift the piece into place; get an assistant if it’s heavy or in an awkward setting. Place a spirit level on the frame and adjust till level. Tip: If the height looks wrong, it may be easier to adjust by shifting the anchor points on the frame, rather than the wall.

Of course, if all this gets too much for you, I’m available to help. It’s not rocket science and there are no mysterious tricks. Just the experience gained from much practice. When an artwork is heavy, I can sometimes bring an assistant. If it’s awkward, I have the right ladder or platform. And if it’s going to be messy – which drilling walls can be – I keep the job tidy and leave your home clean.

I can also pick up, wrap and deliver pictures from gallery to your home (Sizes up to 1.8 metres x 2 metres.) and I can install track hanging systems, commonly used in galleries.

track art hanging, gallery tracks, track art hanging, hanging system

Track hanging systems provide a versatile alternative to individual wall mounting.

Hang taxidermy, hang mounted animal head

Of course, there’s always the unexpected. Awkward shapes in tricky spots require individual solutions.

You can book me to arrive at a specific time and I pride myself on being reliable. So, if you’d like your art installed safely and punctually, call Hangin’ with Phil, the right way to hang pictures.

Safety and security.

My service is confidential and no information is shared with any other person or entity. Additionally I offer the assurance of:

• Public liability insurance covering any breakage or damage.

• Certification of a National Police Check.

• Previous clients who vouch for my work. (See ‘Recommendations’ page.)

• Art transport and packing/wrapping of pictures with dimensions up to 1.4 x 2 metres.

• Track hanging systems installed.

• Advice on picture arrangement.

To make a booking or ask about a job, please phone me from 9.00am – 6.00pm, Mon – Friday on 0403 803 015. Or email: philkinin@netspace.net.au

Servicing all metro Melbourne as well as country areas by arrangement.