How to Hang a Picture Like a Professional

No home is complete without some art on the walls. Whether you’re opting for one statement piece or an expansive gallery wall, you’ll want to ensure your artwork is hung securely. It’s an easy task if you know how to do it right. “The way you hang something depends on both the weight of the art and the type of attachment,” explains framing expert Daniel Koren, who ran the New York City framing business Framed on Madison for years and co-founded online frame source Frameology. Here, he breaks down just how to hang a framed piece of wall art securely and easily.

You’ll Need:

Framed wall artD-Rings and Hanging Wire (or a Sawtooth attachments)Picture Hooks (or Nails, if using a sawtooth) HammerMeasuring TapePencil

How to Hang Wall Art

1.Choose an attachment

“The two most common kinds of frame attachment are sawtooth and D-ring,” Koren says. The first, more common on lighter artwork, is a metal piece with a zig-zag bottom, and the second is two rings attached to the sides of the artwork, designed for a wire to run between. Most framers will go ahead and add one of these to your piece (and if they didn’t, ask them to or screw one in yourself).

2. Attach the hanging wire

If your painting has D-rings without wire (or if the existing wire is in need of replacement), you’ll want to attach some. Cut a piece about 50 percent longer than the space between the rings. Run both ends through the rings and bend the additional wire back around the ring and twist to attach it to itself. You’ll want to secure the wire so that it has about an inch of movement (make sure the wire isn’t so long it’s outside of the frame when pulled taut). If your painting has a sawtooth hanger, skip this step.

3. Position the art

If you’re hanging a gallery wall, you may want to map out the placement of each piece in advance using newspaper squares cut to match the sizes of the frames. Otherweise, you can do one of two things: 1. Hold the artwork up on the wall and eyeball where you want it to go, then mark the top of the frame with a pencil. 2. If you want the piece to be centered over a piece of furniture or on a wall, measure the width of the space it will be centered on and make a mark at the halfway point.

For any remotely-heavy artwork, you’ll want to make sure that spot goes into a stud on the other side of the wall. Locate studs—and avoid hidden pipes and cables—using a multipurpose detector. Most houses have studs made of 2 x 4s, which are positioned 16–24 inches apart.

4. Select a hanger

A sawtooth attachment can be hung right on a bare nail. For a wire, Koren recommends picture hangers—basically a nail set into a little metal anchor—which come in a variety of sizes based on the weight of the art they’ll hold.

5. Attach nail

To find the proper place for your nail, measure the distance from top of the frame to the bottom of the sawtooth, or from the top of the frame to the wire when it’s pulled taut to the top of the frame. Then hammer in your nail (leaving it 1/8-inch out of the wall) or picture hanging hook that distance below the pencil mark you made on your wall.

6. Hang

And voilà! When hung on the nail or hook your work should be perfectly placed. Repeat as necessary for an art-filled home.


Koren points out that very long or heavy pieces of art might have multiple sawtooth attachments. For these, you’ll need to ensure the multiple nails are level—Koren recommends measuring from the ceiling to the desired height.

Simply tap a picture hook or small nail into your chosen position so that 3/8 inch sticks out, angled upwards.

These strips allow you to hang pictures and frames without the use of nails, drills, or screws. They lock together holding the picture firmly to the wall, and are easy to remove, leaving no marks, damage or nail holes.