How to Hang Wall Hangings

Written by f.r.r. mallory
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How to Hang Wall Hangings
Large wall hanging in hallway. (RASimon istockphoto#3807375)

Wall hangings are decorative elements that are particularly popular in large rooms with tall walls and features. Technically, a wall hanging is any type of object that you hang on a wall, but the term generally refers to tapestries, art objects, woven fabric items and large sculptural or textural elements. Smaller wall art is usually called wall art, and because of its size it is usually hung at eye level using standard framing mounts. Larger wall hangings require a bit more consideration both for placement and safety reasons.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Wall hanging
  • Mounting hardware for pictures (appropriate for weight of objects)
  • *opt Special mounting hardware for concrete or brick walls
  • Electronic stud finder
  • *opt Wall Buddies
  • Power Screw Driver
  • Level
  • *opt Ladder(s)
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • *opt 5 yards of Kraft paper
  • Scissors
  • Painters tape
  • Scale
  • Wire cutters

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Instructions

    Mounting Wall Hangings

  1. 1

    Weigh your wall art. Examine your wall hanging for wall mounting features (hanging wire). Measure your wall art. Measure the width of the wall you wish to install the wall hanging on if your wall hanging is to be centred on the wall. Use a ladder to measure the height as necessary.

  2. 2

    Install hanging wire on your wall hanging if it doesn't have it already attached. All hanging wire is rated to a weight load. Select the correct wire for your project. Be thorough in twisting the wire. For cleat systems the position of wall studs may dictate the position of the cleats on the frame. (Cleat systems are excellent choices for flat- backed wall hangings but cleats should be attached to wall hangings after the wall position mounts are installed.)

  3. 3

    Test the wire by lifting the wall hanging by the wire and note if the wire stretches or otherwise seems to fail under the load.

  4. 4

    Cut a piece of Kraft paper the same size as the wall hanging. Position the paper on the wall with tape at the approximate location you believe will give you the view you want. Move to the far side of the room and look at your selected spot. Often it is hard to visualise large wall hangings or art on large walls. The intention is to draw the eye up to highlight the volume of the room. In general, wall hangings tend to look "right" between about two-thirds and three-quarters of the way up the wall. You may need to adjust your paper template several times until the proportion feels good.

  5. 5

    Measure your wall hanging on the backside. If you are using a two-point hanging system (for heavier pieces) then you need to approximate the distance where the hangers will grab each other. Mark these spots on your paper while it is on the wall. Use your stud finder to locate studs. Generally, with wire mounts you have an inch or two lee way on either side of the intended hook location for each mount.

  6. 6

    Using your paper template, mark your wall and install mounting hardware directly into studs or use heavy-duty hanging systems and anchors to prevent wall hanging from shifting or falling. Mount cleat systems into studs and check the level several times. Wall buddies offer less flexibility than wires, so attempt to find a stud for at least one side.

  7. 7

    Measure the exact width of the cleats and mount the wall hanging cleats to the wall hanging. The packaging will offer more tips on earlier measuring for precise cleat locations. Adapt this to fit your hanging's particular needs.

  8. 8

    Install your wall hanging on cleats by simply aligning the cleats. This may still take two people on ladders to lift and move the wall hanging into position. For wires, each person slips a hand behind the wall hanging to hold the wire away from the art. Moving above the wall mount locations, slide the wire against the wall until it catches on both mounts. Double mounts for wire hanging should be half the width of the object apart and should be rated for the weight load of the wall hanging.

Tips and warnings

  • Check the level of your cleats before you screw them into the wall and adjust them to be perfectly level. Wall buddies allow for easy levelling so simply position the mounts in the correct spots. Double mount wire hanging can allow for art pieces to shift. Museum putty will work on some surfaces without damaging the back of the art. Some pieces can be stabilised with bumpers (small plastic self-stick bumps).
  • Heavy wall hangings can be dangerous. Cleat mount systems will carry considerable load, but they may fail if they are not mounted into studs. Your best option is to use two cleats and mount both into a stud. This will make your wall hanging more secure.

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