Hang Pictures Like a Professional

Gallery Pictures

Easily transform your room into an art gallery.

By Kevin RR Williams

DECOR Few persons have bare walls in their home or office. People may not quite know how to hang pictures themselves, but it is readily obvious when they are hung wrong. A visit to a friend's new office caught me off guard when I looked up and saw a lone picture hanging above a bookcase, near the ceiling.

As a small child, my mother would often hand me the picture frames to figure out how to hang them. Later, with an art major, I worked a semester in an art gallery where my humble task was to hang valuable paintings. This taught me much about frames and proper hanging. Today I am going to tell you how to hang pictures like a pro using two different 4-step methods.

Before writing this article, I visited YouTube, figuring that someone must have already covered this information by now. Surprisingly, some of the things I'm about to share were not found, so take note.

Center of Focus

If you learned perspective in a drawing class, are involved with boating, landscape photography or have hung wet clothes on a clothesline, you have become familiar with a common horizon line.

In a gallery, the centers of all pictures generally align along a common eye level (unless hanging a disproportionately tall frame). You can draw an imaginary line all the way around the room and it should intersect the center of each picture. This minimizes neck fatigue. Groupings of pictures, as a whole, can also share the same center as other single paintings on the walls.

Though my eye level is 72 inches, we used 63 inches (1.6 meters) as the average in the gallery. It's OK to establish a horizon that is slightly lower than eye level, as long as center is not so low as to require kneeling for viewing.

In your home or personal office, the eye level (or picture horizon) can be adjusted for the environment. In a dining room, pictures are most often viewed from a seated position. The horizon in an office lobby may need to be raised so the heads of seated persons do not come in contact with them. Alternatively, smaller pictures may be hung above chairs with larger pictures between seating to maintain a consistent horizon. You may also need to pick a horizon line that clears office equipment if anything hangs above the copier.

Most gallery paintings use picture wire on their backs. If the wire is missing, tension clamps may be required for metal frames or special eyelets to screw into wood frames.

Hanging With Picture Wire

Required Tools: Picture hooks, nails, hammer, pencil, tape measure, masking tape.

Picture frame wire

For this hanging method, we assume pictures are already framed. If not, you will need to follow separate assembly instructions that come with the frame or have picture framed at a picture store. When all pictures are the same dimension, they line up along the top. Most framed pictures have a wire on the back. The picture wire tension varies from one picture to the next so alignment requires the following steps.

Step 1: Find the center of the frame. (See tip 1.) Extend the tape measure from one top corner to the opposing bottom corner and make a short faint diagonal pencil line near the center. (Don't puncture the picture!) Do the same for the opposite corners to make a center "x" on the back of the framed picture.

Step 2: Now lift the picture by the wire with bottom edge a few inches from the floor in order to stretch out wire with weight of frame. Measure from that point to the center "x." I generally write this measurement down just above the "x" and lean the frame against the wall in position. Do this for each picture you wish to hang.

Step 3: When satisfied with the arrangement, measure from the floor to your horizon point (i.e. 63") and add the measurement recorded on the back of the picture. This is where the hook (not the nail) will align. (See tip 2.)

Step 4: After putting all the hooks in, hang the pictures. All their centers will align, gallery style.

Gallery style isn't the only method but it is versatile. Use two hooks for extra wide picture frames to minimize the need for constant restraightening. Hooks are also sold to support various weights. Make certain heavy pictures are properly supported.

Hanging Wireless DeuPair™ Pocket Frames

Required Tools: Power screwdriver, Philips screwdriver, pencil, tape measure. (Use a hammer and large nail to start screw holes in absence of power screwdriver.)

DeuPair Frame

After hanging hundreds of frames over the years, I got used to the picture wire sequence. But then something happened that made my life much easier: Wireless frames. Once you discover DeuPair Frames, you may become hooked too. They are available in custom sizes. The clear overlay may be replaced with glass on your end or we can ship it insured. A security screw may be added. Frames are available in both anodized aluminum black or silver. We ship them to satisfied customers all over the world.

Most human anatomy posters in our online store have identical dimensions. This makes planning and hanging much easier. But DeuPair Frames have more going for them than the lack of wires. Contents may be slid in or out after hanging the frame, like a pocket.

Slide In Frame

Step 1: First, slide out the contents, which includes the backing, artwork and clear overlay. First-time hanging may also require peeling protective film from overlay.) (See tip 3.)

Step 2: With the contents removed, four holes are revealed on the frame. That's right; the frame is the template. How convenient. Position the frame where desired. Make a pencil mark through each of the four holes. Move the frame and contents out of the way to keep them dust-free while drilling four holes in the wall. Plastic anchors are provided for drywall. (See tip 4.)

Step 3: Realign the frame to the holes and attach with the provided screws.

Step 4: Slide the contents into the frame.

Later, if you wish to change the order of your pictures, leave frames on the wall. Slide out and exchange the poster. Hang these frames once and they don't require realignment. Each frame can store several additional posters behind the visible one to accommodate changing moods or various health awareness months. (See tip 5.)

DeuPair Pocket Frames can be machined to exact dimensions and assembled for delivery wherever you are in the world.

Each method has been consolidated into four steps but only one does not require pre-framing. There are other factors to consider when selecting a framing method as the accompanying table demonstrates.

Feature Wired Picture Frame DeuPair Pocket Frame
No pre-framing 2 of 5 5 of 5
Quick picture change 1 of 5 5 of 5
No skewing 2 of 5 5 of 5
Security Option 2 of 5 5 of 5
Easy alignment 2 of 5 4 of 5
Protects art from soiling 3 of 5 4 of 5
Quality construction 3 of 5 4 of 5
Color options 5 of 5 1 of 5
Best value 2.5 of 5 4.5 of 5

Let's Hang Out

Order DeuPair Frames exclusively online from Store.ClinicalPosters.com. You have learned how to hang all the pictures in one room with a common horizontal center. Are you ready to hang groupings of your fine art? Direct placement makes groupings much easier with DeuPair Frames. Check out the sidebar image and follow the Pinterest board themed, "People Still Paint" for ideas.

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