How To Hang Art

How To Hang Art

Hanging art not only needs to be aesthetically correct in relation to the position of the artwork within a space, but it also needs to safely secure the work for any possible damage or the risk of it falling.

What aesthetically works for you, may not be how someone else feels the work should be presented. Some homes have large expansive white walls with a single bold artwork, while some homes have so much art displayed in them, it can almost be stacked on top of each other. In Europe, where the average home sizes are generally smaller, art collectors may need to hang work closer together ('tighter' in art speak) than in the US and Australia, where home sizes are generally larger.

Most hardware shops will sell an array of items that are designed to hang artworks. The weight and physical dimensions of the work are essential in the consideration when choosing what you should buy to hang the work. Always allow a 100% margin (if possible) when looking at the specified weight capability of wall fixtures. For example, if you had a work that weighed 2.5kg, then look for a fixture that is rated for 5kg plus. The same applies to D hooks and strings for the back of the artwork. Most work from reputable galleries will already have these items installed on them. Still, you will need to select them yourself if they are not already there.

As a general rule of thumb, the D hooks sit on the opposing back edges of the work. They should be equal distance from the top of the frame. Placing these one-quarter of the way down from the top of the frame is usually the best position. Ensure the screws you use to attach the D hooks to the work are strong enough (some D hooks require 2 screws each) but do not damage the work in any way once they are securely screwed in. Also, make sure they will not protrude through to the front of the frame either.

Once your D hooks a securely installed, the hanging wire is attached to these D hooks. It is probably the main area that people make mistakes when hanging artwork. You need to use a non-stretching wire braid for best results. Fishing line etc., will not suffice, even multiple strands. You don't want to be in bed at night and hear your beloved artwork come crashing to the ground! Make sure the knots you use are super secure. It doesn't hurt to tie several knots on top of each other just to make sure.

Once you have attached the hanging wire to the D hooks, gently lift the work by the hanging wire alone. Make sure it looks firm and secure. This should also take any possible stretch out of the hanging wire itself.

Now you are ready to fix the wall fixture point to the wall. Every wall surface will require a different type of wall fixture. Brick and masonry will require a pre-drilled hole, and the use of wall plugs and a gyprock wall will require a Wall Mate type fixture. Screws and nails will not suffice as they have a tendency to loosen over time.


Place your artwork against the wall at the exact position you think is perfect. Make a small pencil dot mark on the wall at the very centre top edge of the frame or artwork and place the work back on the ground. Now lift the work by the hanging wire slightly off the ground and so the work is balanced and does not fall left or right. Measure the distance between the very top point of the hanging wire to the top edge of the artwork. This is the distance you will need to come down from the pencil dot you placed on the wall earlier. That new point is where the wall fixture needs to go. Fix the wall fixture to the wall at that point. Once it is secured, pull gently down on the fixture with your hand to make sure it is fixed well and can easily handle the work's weight. Once you are happy that all is well, you can place the artwork on your wall, making sure the hanging wire is sitting firmly on top of the wall fixture. Keep your hands near the work so you can catch it if something untoward happens and the work begins to fall.

Unless you are a confident handy person with the above installation process, it is always advisable to look through your local trades paper for a handy person to do the job for you. Having a professional install the work will be well worth the cost for the added peace of mind it offers.

Once you have your artwork up and displayed correctly, the last thing to do is to stand back and enjoy your new prized possession. This can include a cup of tea or a glass of wine or even several of both! Enjoying the feeling of having new art that you love on the walls of your home is one of life's great joys and should not be rushed under any circumstances.

Great art takes time, and so does enjoying it!

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