How to Hang a Picture Frame
Step-by-Step (scroll down for pictures):
Nothing says home like art on the wall, and there's a special pride that comes from hanging pictures yourself. Whether it's in your home or office, your dorm room or baby's nursery, you want it to be just right. I learned the right way by helping my mother hang art at the Flinn Gallery in Greenwich, CT, where she is co-curator, and it's a skill that has stood me in good stead at home. Follow these simple steps to get it done right and get it done quickly. All you need is a measuring tape and a pencil or painter's tape.
Goal: hang your frame on a wall so that the center is at 60 inches – a great viewing height for most pictures and most situations
1. Measure the height of the frame and divide by 2 (Measurement 1)
2. Measure the distance between the mounting point – a wire or other device on the back of the frame – and the top of the frame (Measurement 2)
3. Subtract Measurement 2 from Measurement 1 and add 60" (Measurement 3). If the wire extends beyond the edge of the frame when pulled taught, add instead of subtracting (Measurement 2 PLUS Measurement 1 plus 60")
In most situations, the ideal viewing height is 60" – 5 feet – which is where you want the center of your picture to be. If you want, first mark 60" on the wall using your pencil or painter's tape, measuring straight up from the floor, and mark the midpoint of the space you want to fill, measure straight across the wall – this will help guide you. If there is moulding in the way, just do the best you can. Since most frames hang from a wire or from the inside top inside edge of the frame, not the center, we have to do a simple calculation. You'll need two measurements:
- the height of the frame divided by 2 (ex. 13" for a frame that is 26" tall), and
- the distance between the top of the frame and the mounting point – if your frame has a wire on the back, pull it tight from the middle of the wire toward the top of the frame and measure the distance between the two, or, if you plan to rest the frame directly on a nail, the distance between the inner and outer edge of the of the frame.
4. Use Measurement 3 to place your hook or nail on the wall, measuring straight up from the floor and keeping in mind that if you are using a hook, this is where you should place the bottom of the hook.
Once you have these two measurements, we can make our calculation. Add the first measurement (half the height of the frame) to 60", then subtract from this number the second measurement (the distance between the top of the frame and the mounting point). This new number is the height at which you want to place your hook or nail. Armed with this number and your pencil or painter's tape, mark the wall at the appropriate height. Now find the point where this height intersects with the middle of the space you are trying to fill and you've got your mounting point. Remember that if you are using a hook and wire to mount your picture, this measurement tells you where the bottom of the hook goes, not the nail that holds the hook in place.
5. Hang your art – you're done!
That's it! You're ready to mount your picture!
The same rule of 60" applies to groups of pictures. You want 60" to be your center point, thinking of your group of pictures as one single picture.