Hang Frames Perfectly Every Time With These 5 Picture Hanging Hacks

by Mikey Rox on 1 October 2013 0 comments

As someone who's always decorating and redecorating my home, I hang a lot of frames. I tend to buy inexpensive frames from crafts stores, because I can usually score a deep discount by hitting up a sale and using a coupon. While these frames look good aesthetically, they're not always high quality. You know what I'm talking about — tiny hooks on the back that are sometimes uneven, turning the hanging process into a frustrating experience that results in more holes in the wall than I want. (See also: Cheap Home Decorating Projects That Look Amazing)

Through trial and error over the years, however, I've perfected my picture-frame hanging game, instituting several tactics to make sure they're always level and looking like they were put up by a professional. Check out my picture hanging secrets below.

1. Use Painter's Tape to Mark and Level

One neat trick that I found over at PetaPixel is to use painter's tape to mark the distance between two-hole or two-hook frames. Once you've measured the distance with the tape on the frame, transfer the tape to the wall and use a level to make sure the frame will hang evenly. Then, drive your nails into the wall at each end of the tape. Your frame should slide perfectly into the holes or hooks if you've done it correctly.

2. Use a Clothespin and Nail for Accurate Hanging

Crafty blogger Michele, author of The Scrap Shoppe, shows how to make a great picture-hanging tool using a clothespin and a nail. Basically you'll drive a small nail into the bottom of the clothespin so just a small portion of the tip is poking out. Hold the clothespin from the top as you place the frame hook on the head side of the nail. Once you have the picture in place, lightly tap the frame so the pointy side of the nail makes an indentation on the wall. The indentation is where you'll drive the nail and hang the frame.

3. Hang a Grid of Frames Using a DIY Tool

Hanging a grid of frames — that is, several frames together vertically or horizontally — can be a nightmare project if you don't have the right tools. Thankfully, crafty Kelly, author of the blog View Along the Way, has come up with a simple way to reduce the stress of this project by fashioning a tool out of a paint stirrer and a screw. The concept is based on the Hang & Level tool, which retails for about $15, so it's nothing short of awesome that she gives us instructions on how to make our own. Once you've fashioned your handy picture-hanging tool, you can start assembling the grid of frames one by one fairly easily. You can find full instructions on Kelly's helpful blog. (See also: Cheap Ways to Display Art)

4. Use Picture Wire for Frames With Double Hooks

Many large frames come with double hooks — one on each side — to distribute the weight because they're so heavy. Anybody who has tried to hang these on nails using the hooks alone will tell you how frustrating it is trying to ensure its levelness. I have lots of miscalculated nail holes to prove my own frustration. (See also: Use Toothpaste to Fill In Nail Holes)

To combat this problem, use picture wire and string it through both hooks. The picture wire will come with instructions on how to properly tie and secure it. When attaching the wire, make sure it's tight; you don't want the wire to hang higher than the picture, a consequence I had to learn the hard way and subsequently redo. Once the wire is attached, place your nail in the wall. When you hang the picture, you can adjust it by simply moving the frame left or right to ensure levelness. Gravity does the rest.

5. Invest in a Picture Frame Level

If you don't want to fuss with picture wire, there's an alternative solution: the ACCU-MARK picture-hanging level from Black & Decker.

A few years ago I saw a commercial for this level and I had to have it. It's one of the most ingenious products — in my humble opinion at least — and one of the best purchases I've ever made. As part of the design the level has sliding targets that you can place on top of the hooks of your frame. When you've set the targets, take the level to the wall, find the level and centered spot, and nail your holes through the targets. If you've done this correctly, you should be able to take the frame to the wall and hang it on the nails without issue. It's nothing less than sheer brilliance, and totally worth the investment. For more complete instructions on how to use the ACCU-MARK picture-hanging level, check out this step-by-step guide.

Picture-Hanging Videos

Some of us are verbal learners, and some of us are visual learners. Most of the links above take you to pages that have images. But if you need some more guidance, check out this online tutorial that will explain the picture-hanging process visually:

And this tutorial will show you how to evenly hang three photos in a row:

Do you have tips on how to hang frames perfectly? Let me know in the comments below.

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