Basic Frame Hanging 101

How To Place & Hang Framed Art

Do you ever wonder how high or low to hang your favorite painting?  We can take the guess work out of hanging your framed projects with some tips on placing and attaching the hooks.  Hanging your Artwork should be a pleasant experience.  Simplify the process by using our provided hardware and following the suggestions below.   Please understand these are just tips, every situation is different.  After reading if you are still apprehensive you should contact a professional picture hanger to assist you.  Even though many “items” can be framed, below we will refer to all framed items as “Art”.

Tools you need for hanging framed art on drywall

See below for additional tools for plaster, brick or masonry

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Hammer
  • Painter’s tape (optional)
  • Two picture hooks (provided with newly framed artwork)
Suggestions for Placing your Art
  1. When hanging art above furniture, have 1½ to 2 times as much space above the art than below it. A good guideline to follow for framed artwork is 4 to 8 inches from the surface of the furniture to the bottom of the frame.  One exception to this guideline would be if you intend to change the items on top of a surface. (example: a vase full of flowers, or easel backed frames, etc.)
  2. Most framed art looks best when hung just below eye level. If you are considering multiple people you could take the average eye level of all concerned.  If you are hanging more than one framed artwork the vertical center of both pieces combined should be used to determine the height.  Also, consider who will be using the area where the artwork will be hung. A child’s room, for example, should take into consideration the height of the children.  If this is excessive to consider just use my 60” Rule…
  3. The 60” Rule: hang your artwork 60” from the floor to the center of your artwork.  This is the starting point I use on all my installations, especially when in galleries or museums.   I highly recommend always using the two hooks provided, for leveling purposes and, most importantly, for a more secure installation of your frame.  The hooks provided have been specified for the size and weight of your newly framed artwork.
How to come up with the location of the hooks on your wall.
  1. From the floor to the center of the framed art, measure 60” inches and make a pencil mark or use painters tape.
  2. Measure the height of the frame, divide by two and add that to your 60” dimension to locate the top of the frame. Make a mark.
  3.  Determine the distance from the wire to the top of the frame by holding the wire taught in two locations approximately ¼ the distance into the frame from the outer edges.  This drawing will help you see how to estimate these dimensions.

hook locations

Suggestions for Installing Hooks

For Drywall Hanging:

Use the 2 hooks and nails provided by Sewickley Frame Shop and a hammer to tap the nails into the drywall.  For heavier frames its best to attach hooks into Studs.

For Plaster Hanging:

Use the 2 hooks and nails provided and these following tips because plaster tends to fracture with hammering.  For heavier frames its best to attach hooks into Studs.

  1. Place a 2-inch-long piece of tape on the spot you intend for the hooks to accurately mark the location of the nails (tape will help prevent cracking of the plaster).
  2. Use a drill and drill bit that is just a bit thinner than the provided nail.
  3. On a slight downward angle drill pilot holes for the nails. Now you can tap in the nails with much less chance of fracturing the plaster.

For Brick or Masonry Walls:

Save the hooks that were provided with your custom framing for another project because in the case of brick or masonry, you will need to install masonry plugs and screws.  These can be found at your local hardware store.  The process for brick and masonry sounds more intimidating than it is… you will need a masonry drill bit sized for the anchor and screw that you will be using.

  1. Drill 2 holes into the wall at the premeasured hanger location slightly deeper than the anchor begin used.
  2. Insert the anchor into the hole (you may need to gently tap the anchor with a hammer).
  3. Drive in the screws leaving approximately ¼” exposed for hanging the wire on your frame.

For Heavier Projects:

For heavier projects, I will provide you with a French Cleat hanging system. You will need to use plastic anchors in whatever type of wall you will be hanging your artwork onto.  When hanging any artwork, it is almost always recommended to place your hanging hardware directly to the wall studs. You may need to use a stud finder and adjust your hook location to appropriately accommodate this change for the height.

The hardware I supply with your framed project will be sized for the weight of the framed artwork. If you are purchasing hardware talk to your hardware supplier for concerns of weight and wall type.  I do not recommend adhesives for any installation of framed artwork. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Mark at the Sewickley Gallery & Frame shop,  mark@sewickleygallery.com or 412-741-5858.