How to Find a Stud Without a Stud Finder

Written by g.k. bayne
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When hanging pictures or other objects from the wall, it is imperative to find the stud so that the picture will hang securely and not come crashing to the floor. In home construction, studs are generally placed every 16 inches on centre, so once you find the one stud, the rest will be easy to locate.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Small hammer
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure

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  1. 1

    Start at the end of the wall where you are looking for the hidden stud.

  2. 2

    Begin tapping lightly against the drywall, working in a horizontal line across the wall.

  3. 3

    Listen to the sounds that the hammer makes. When you tap against a stud, the sound will be heavier than if you are tapping against open-space drywall. When you hear the different tone of the tap, you have found a stud.

  4. 4

    Place a small mark on the wall where the stud is.

  5. 5

    Continue tapping until you find the next stud. Mark that spot.

  6. 6

    Use the tape measure to measure the distance between the two marks. This will tell you how far apart the studs are along that particular wall.

  7. 7

    Use these measurements to determine where the remainder of the studs are located to hang pictures or other objects.

Tips and warnings

  • Make sure to measure the distance between at least two studs. Some homes are built using a different configuration of stud distance.
  • Tap lightly against the drywall to avoid dings in the surface.
  • Some pictures and other light objects can be hung anywhere on the wall using a drywall anchor bolt, which keeps the drywall from ripping from the weight of the picture.
  • You can often find the studs simply by running your hand across a painted wall. If you can feel where the drywall tape has been applied, it is often a sure bet that there is a stud behind the tape. Confirm this using the hammer.

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