Hang a Picture

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Have you always had much difficulty getting that picture to hang straight? Follow these steps to get it just right, every time.


  1. Have an assistant hold the picture against the wall. 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 a matter of taste. See the Tips below for more advice.
  2. With a pencil, lightly mark the top center of the picture. If you have trouble detecting where the center is by just looking at it, use a tape measure and make sure you make your mark halfway across the top of the picture.
  3. Put the picture face down on a flat surface. Measure the distance from the top of the picture to the hanging device(s) - this may be the crossbar of a painting or the distance to the picture wire when taut.
  4. Measure the same distance down from the mark you made on the wall. When you make this measurement, try to keep the line as vertical as possible. If your picture only requires one fixing implement, now you know where it will sit. If there is more than one fixing implement:

    • 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 the 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. 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 the mark you just made. Use a spirit (bubble) level to make sure your fixing implements will be level (but adjust if your hanging devices are not level on the artwork itself).
  5. Drill a hole and screw in the screw(s). If you are 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.
  6. Optional: 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 instead of Velcro, these should be in place before hanging.
  7. 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.
  8. Carefully paint or cover any mirror plates.


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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • It is easier to level an artwork, and to keep it level, if you use two spaced picture hooks, even for lightweight pictures. After you hang the work, place a carpenter's level against either the top or the bottom of the frame to make the final adjustment by sliding the work to the right or left.


  • Take care when drilling or hammering nails into the wall. There may be electrical wires or plumbing in the wall that could cause damage to the structure, personal injury or death.
  • 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 principle, 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.
  • 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
  • Pencil & eraser
  • Spirit Level
  • Drill (or Hammer)
  • Drill bits
  • Screw driver
  • Screws (or Nails) or picture hooks

Related Tips and Steps