How to Hang A Painting Like A Pro

An easy step by step guide for hanging a painting with confidence every time!

Congratulations! You’ve just acquired a beautiful new piece of artwork and you can’t wait for it to bring new life to your home or office. You unwrap the painting, admire it in your own space… when suddenly you feel a flood of questions.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone! There are a number of reasons, people can feel overwhelmed when hanging a new piece of artwork. 

Below we break down five simple steps for hanging an average medium sized painting on basic drywall.

Before You Start:

Once you’ve decided on a wall to hang your artwork, clear a workspace by moving furniture, lamps and breakables out of the way. Remove any old picture hooks from the wall and gather your tools to hang the new artwork.

Inspect the back of the artwork to ensure the wire and or hardware is secure and appropriate for the work(s) in question. Contact us if you are unsure or need additional hanging hardware. 

5 Essential Tools:

  • Tape Measure
  • Picture Hook(s)
  • Painters Tape and/or Pencil
  • Hammer
  • Level

Measure, Measure, Measure:

1) Wall Width – Measure the width of the wall space on which you want to hang the painting and mark the centre.

TIP: Use painters tape to mark the measurements you take on the wall. It’s easy to remove and doesn’t leave a sticky residue. 

2) Desired Centre Height – Decide where you want the centre of your artwork to be on the wall. In the gallery we most often centre artwork at 60” measured from the floor.

TIP: A commonly used ‘eye-level’ centre for hanging artwork is between 56” and 60” measured from the floor. For consistency, try to use the same centre height for all artwork throughout the space.

3) Top of Artwork – Measure the entire height of the artwork you plan to hang including the frame. Divide the artwork height in half and add that to your desired centre height on the wall. Mark this measurement with another piece of painters tape as this will be the top of your artwork on the wall.

4) Picture Hook Placement – Measure the distance between the wire (pulled taught) and the top of the artwork. Now measure the same distance down from the tape marking top of the artwork on the wall and add another piece of tape to mark the hook placement.

Line up the bottom of the picture hook with the top the tape you just added for the hook placement. Keeping the back brace of the picture hook flush against the wall and the nail facing down at a 45 degree angle, hammer the nail through the slot in the hook into the wall. 

TIP: One picture hook should be sufficient for artwork about 30” wide or smaller. When using two hooks, measure the distance you’ll leave between the hooks (8” to 12”) and then measure the distance to the top of the artwork.

When hanging wider or heavy artwork we might suggest two picture hooks or an alternate hanging system.

Ready for Installation:

5) Hang Your Artwork: Bending at the knees, carefully lift the artwork with one hand supporting the bottom of the artwork as close as possible to the centre, and the other hand on the side of the artwork or outer frame close to the hanging hardware.

Reach around the back of the artwork and wrap your hand around the wire so that you can properly guide it onto the picture hook. Make sure the wire sits correctly in the groove of the hook and the back of the hook is flush against the wall with the nail pointing down at 45 degrees.

TIP: If you are happy with the artwork placement, you may want to take it down and remove the painters tape before making your final adjustments to level the artwork.

Make sure the wire is centred on the picture hook and let go slowly. Stand back to view and then make adjustments to level the artwork visually. Finally grab your level to double check your accuracy.

Voila! You’re Done!

Watch for more posts about hanging oversized artwork, pairs and groupings! Sign Up for Artful E-news & Events to receive expert tips on collecting, hanging and framing artwork and be the first to hear about new artists, artwork and special events.

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NOTE: The advise offered in this post is intended as a guide only. These instructions do not apply to every piece of artwork or space. There are most definitely circumstances in which hiring a professional would be advised.

Remember: There is no right or wrong way to enjoy artwork in your own space. These are a few starting points so you can determine what feels right for you.

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