How to hang paintings and picture frames

Hanging a picture accurately and safely can be a tricky job. But with our picture hanging guide you’ll never hang a picture in the wrong spot again.

Where is the best place to hang a painting?

The general rule for hanging pictures is that they should be at eye level. Avoid hanging pictures in direct sunlight or near heat sources as it could damage the picture or painting.

wall hook

What kind of hook should I use?

If you are hanging a heavy picture on a plaster wall, it’s best to find a stud where you can securely anchor the wall hook. However, if you don’t have a stud in the position where you want to hang your picture there are plenty of options for anchoring wall hooks into plaster walls, including hollow wall anchors or toggles that expand and spread the pressure when installed.

Light-weight pictures can hang from adhesive hooks. There are plenty of options here, including adhesive that can safely be removed from the wall without damaging the paint.

If your walls are brick, simply drill a hole with a masonry bit, hammer in a plastic wall plug or some expansion spaghetti and insert the screw.

Or, if you have timber panelling, a nail, screw or picture hook should do the job.

If you’re hanging a canvas, or picture frame, that you want to sit flush against the wall, then try a flush mount wall hanging kit.

picture frame wire

Picture wire or a hook?

Once you have decided on your hanging method, consider whether your painting will be hung by picture wire or a metal hook secured to the frame.

If you choose wire, then you’ll need screweyes to attach the wire to the picture frame. Screw the screweyes into the inner right and left-hand edge of the frame a third of the way down from the top of the frame. Then simply loop the wire through the screweyes and tighten. It is your choice how long you leave the wire, but as a rule the wire shouldn't be seen, so measure prior to tightening the wire to the screweyes.

stud finder

How do I find a wall stud?

If you’re planning to hang a large or heavy picture, then chances are you’ll be looking to secure a hanger to a stud. To find wall studs, simply rap your knuckles along the wall until you feel and hear a solid backing. If you’re not sure whether or not there’s a stud where you want to hang your picture, use an electronic stud finder to get a more accurate answer.

hanging picture

Hang your picture

Hold up your picture where you would like it to be, then mark a line along the top of the frame. Now hold the picture wire up with your finger and measure the distance from your finger to the top of the frame. Measure down that distance from the pencil mark you made on the wall and mark that spot. This is where your chosen picture hook needs to be secured. Attach your hook to the wall then carefully hang the picture and adjust it so that it’s straight.

Need some picture hanging supplies?

From adhesive hooks to picture wire, find what you need to hang pictures large or small.

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Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

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