Question: What's the simplest, easiest way to hang a picture?

Hook & wire. It has been around forever, it works, and everyone understands the principles involved. There are many great new hanging systems available today, with demonstrable advantages over the hook & wire method, but if you want to keep things simple, Picture Hangers, Picture Wire and Picture Hooks are the way to go.

Question: How can I prevent pictures from being removed or stolen from the wall?

We offer Security Hangers that "lock" pictures to the wall. Most pictures in hotel rooms, for example, are hung using some sort of security hardware. Other than ripping the frame away from the wall by brute force, pictures hung with security hardware can be removed from the wall only by using a special tool that "unlocks" the hardware.

Question: How secure are pictures hung with security picture hangers?

The security systems that we offer lock a picture to the wall with steel hardware hidden behind the frame. These systems will prevent someone from just lifting the picture off the wall and walking away with it. Without knowledge of how the hardware works and possession of the appropriate security wrench, it is very difficult to unlock a security-hung picture from a wall.

That being said, if enough force is applied (large crowbar, etc.), security hanger anchors can be ripped out of a wall, particularly a modern drywall [plasterboard, sheetrock] wall, which is composed of relatively soft material. Security hangers are very effective at preventing tampering and "casual theft," but will only slow down someone who doesn't particularly care about damaging the frame or the wall and is determined to take the picture.

Question: How high should I hang my pictures?

Most people hang pictures too high. The often-repeated rule of thumb is that the horizontal centerline of a picture should be at eye level. This is not particularly helpful advice since people vary in height, but an average-size person should be able to look comfortably at a picture without having to either bend down or look up. Pictures hung in the home often must be placed over furniture and therefore need to be hung higher than eye level, but you should try to get most of your pictures down to where people can see and enjoy them.

Question: How do I hang a very heavy picture/mirror?

See our sections on Heavy-Duty Hangers, Cleat Hangers and Mega Hardware. We believe in overkill when it comes to hanging heavy pictures. It is always prudent to build in as much of a safety factor as possible. Remember that picture hanging hardware is hidden behind the picture, so using "too big" a hook or "too heavy" a wire will not be detrimental visually. We feel that the extra trouble and minimal extra expense required for what might be hardware overkill is preferable to the possible consequences of using something "good enough."

Question: How large a hook/hanger/wire should I use for my pictures?

At least one or two sizes larger than you think you need. The manufacturer's "pound ratings" or "maximum picture weight" designations on picture hanging hardware are somewhat misleading in that a "100 lb. hook" should not be counted on to hold up a picture weighing 100 lbs. We advise our customers to use these ratings for comparison purposes only and to never exceed a load of more than one-third of the pound rating given for any hardware item. Also, keep in mind that your installation will only be as strong as the weakest link in the hardware chain. For example if you use a 100 lb. hook in conjunction with 20 lb. wire, the extra holding capacity of the hook is wasted.

Question: My hung pictures are always going out of level. How can I prevent this?

A simple solution to this common complaint is to use two hooks instead of one for each picture, spaced apart on the wall at a distance approximately one-third the width of the picture being hung. This solves the problem in many, but not all cases. There is also a clever product called the Hang Straight Hook that incorporates two picture wire prongs on a single hook. Finally, we offer several excellent Picture Hanging Systems that will keep pictures permanently level on the wall.

Question: How do I find the location of wall studs?

The old fashioned method is to find the first stud by driving a small nail into the wall where you think a stud might be (determined by tapping on the wall and listening for a change in sound) and, if unsuccessful, moving the nail hole position left or right in one inch or so increments until you hit a stud. This method can leave a trail of small holes in your wall. Fortunately, when you find the first stud, the others will almost always found at 16" intervals out from that point. Alternatively, inexpensive electronic "stud finders" (around $20 or so on up) are widely available and work well. These gadgets, about the size of a TV remote, read wall density and indicate stud locations by beeping, flashing lights, LCD readouts and the like. If you hang pictures on a regular basis a stud finder is a worthwhile investment.

Question: I can't put holes in my walls. What's the best hanging method to use?

Our Brass-Plated Picture Hooks leave only very small. easily repairable holes in walls when removed. If you can't have any holes in the wall at all and the room has picture rail moulding, you can use Picture Rail Hooks and Picture Wire to hang pictures. We also supply unfinished wood Picture Rail Moulding if you want to install new picture rail moulding in the room.

There are a number of more complicated (and expensive) hanging systems, often called "gallery systems," that consist of metal or plastic rails at the top of the wall in combination with vertical hanging rods or cables with sliding hooks to which pictures are then attached. We will be offering at least one of these systems on our site in the near future.

You can try using self-adhesive double-sided foam tape or Velcro to mount lightweight items to a wall that either cannot have holes placed in it or won't accept mechanical fasteners. Use this method with caution as room temperatures either above or below normal and/or high humidity will tend to weaken the adhesive bond.

Question: Is it OK to hang pictures in a bathroom with a shower?

Humidity is an enemy of artwork, especially paper artwork, and a shower can produce a lot of humidity. If you must hang pictures in a bathroom with a shower, make sure that the artwork is inexpensive or replaceable. Also, consider using acrylic instead of glass for pictures in bathrooms. Broken glass and bare feet are not a good combination. Metal frames tend to stand up better than wood frames in high humidity environments. Inspect bathroom pictures from time to time. Look for artwork wrinkling, buckling or signs of mildew and for any rusting of the hardware on the back side of the picture.

Question: I have some mounted, unframed posters I want to hang. What should I use?

Try our Foamboard Hangers. We carry both the plastic and metal types, either of which work well for the temporary display of foam-mounted posters.

Question: How can I hang pictures on a slanted or angled wall?

If you have a slanted or angled wall on which you want to hang framed pictures, consider using our Lock-In Security Hangers to attach the frame flush to the wall.

The hanging process can be a little tricky on a slanted wall because you are working against gravity--a second pair of hands is usually needed--but once the frame is properly secured it will be held in place against the wall surface.

Because the Lock-In Hanger Wall Brackets used at the top of the frame will not be quite as secure on a slanted wall as on a normal wall, we recommend using an Extra T-Lock Screw at the bottom of the frame for additional safely [refer to our page on Lock-In Security Hangers for more information about this].

Question: I don't like it when top edges of hung pictures lean out from the wall. What can I do?

A hook & wire hung picture will always lean out from the wall at the top edge to some degree. How much will depend on the amount of slack in the wire, the position of the wire hangers on the frame and the size and shape of the picture itself. Reducing the amount of slack in the wire by untying one end and shortening it will often help. If you want to eliminate the lean entirely and have the picture held tightly to the wall surface, replace the existing hardware on the picture with one of our Picture Hanging Systems or Cleat Hangers.

Question: What's the best way to go about hanging a group of pictures?

A good way to think about a group of pictures is to treat them as one large picture made up of movable interior elements. You first determine the overall size of the imaginary rectangle on your wall that you want to fill and then experiment moving around the individual pictures within that rectangle until you arrive at an arrangement that is pleasing. You can do this by laying all the pictures out on the floor and trying out various combinations before putting that first hook in the wall.

Another trick is to duplicate the shapes and sizes of the pictures to be hung using Kraft or construction paper and move these paper templates around on the wall before you start hanging the real thing. Make sure to allow enough space between pictures. The number-one mistake we see in picture groupings is a lack of "breathing room" between pictures.

Question: How can I avoid damaging real plaster walls when hanging pictures?

The special needlepoint nails that come with our Brass-Plated Hooks are designed to go into plaster walls with much less danger of cracking the plaster surface. When using regular hooks, it is often recommended to place an "X' of masking or other removable tape on the wall at the point where the picture hook nail goes in (remove the tape before hanging the picture). Taping certainly can't hurt, but don't count on this method alone to prevent plaster cracks.

Question: I want to hang a picture on a brick/stone/concrete wall. What hardware should I use?

There are special hooks and hanging methods for hardwall hanging. Please see our section on Hardwall Hooks.

Question: Do you have a retail outlet in my area where I can buy your products?

No, we do not have retail stores or distributors. We sell over the Internet only.

Question: I have a difficult/unusual/complicated item to hang. Can you help me?

Email or call us and we'll give you the best advice we can.