How to Hang Artwork

Being stuck at home during quarantine has me finally doing all the things – one of those things: making frames for some artwork I’ve been wanting to hang for years. Side note: if there’s one thing you’ll learn about me, its that I’m a MAJOR procrastinator – I have grand ideas and never make the time to do them. Quarantine has given me all the time in the world so what the hell! Time to get busy!

But I digress…let me get back on topic. Frames. So I made a couple of frames out of scrap wood and wanted to hang them. I get the question from friends, family and clients all the time – “how do you hang everything so straight?” If only I could lie and say I’ve got the eye for it. I don’t. When I try to hang something level by eyesight alone it ends up being an inch higher on one side and looks like a 5 year old hung it. So what’s my secret – a level. That’s right my friends, a level will become your best friend!

So here we go. You’ll need only a handful of things for this:
– measuring tool – tape measure/ruler/etc
– level – I use a 48″ one, but whatever size you have will work
– hangers to hang artwork with
– hammer
– pencil

First, measure your distance between each frame hanger – do it middle to middle of each hanger. This will give you a little wiggle room so that if your wall marks aren’t perfect, you can still hang your frame.

Now that you have the measurement, you’ll want to hold your frame to the wall to gauge how high you want it. I usually eyeball this part because it doesn’t have to be perfect.

If you have an exact height that you want your artwork at though, I’ll show you the math really quick. Measure from the very top of the frame to where the hanger is on the back – this frame the hanger was 7″ down. And say you want the frame 16″ down from the ceiling, then 16+7=23. Mark your first line 23″ from the top of the wall – mark your line so that it’s vertical (up and down). It doesn’t matter which side you choose to mark you first line.

Now this is where the level comes in handy. Put your level at the top of your line and make sure its level. You wanna put the level above your line, instead of below, because its easier to see and get your measurements right. With your pencil make the line a “T” by marking a horizontal line where the level and wall meet.

Now, with the level still level mark the other side with a T. My level has a ruler on it, which is super convenient for hanging artwork this way. If your level doesn’t have a ruler on it or your level isn’t long enough, you can use a yard stick or ruler to mark your lines. Just make sure the level is butted up against your ruler so that your marks are level.

Remember the 20″ we measured on the back of the frame? That measurement comes in handy now – measure 20″ from your first mark to make your second mark. Those 2 marks are where you’ll nail/screw in your nails or hangers. Tip: pick an easy number to put the level on the first mark – 10, 20, 30, etc. That way when the distance between the frame hangers isn’t easy (like 22 3/8), you don’t have to do hard math to figure out your second mark.

Now screw or nail your hangers into place on your marks – you’ll want to nail/screw where the lines of the T meet. Hang up your frame and BAM! YOU’RE DONE! Hopefully I didn’t make your brain hurt and it wasn’t super confusing. Let me know if I’ve completely confused you! This is the most efficient way I’ve found to hang frames level. Once you get the hang of it, it’ll take minutes to hang anything!

You’re finished!!!