There’s A Right Way - And A Wrong Way - To Hang Art On The Wall.

If only hanging art were as simple as pounding a nail into drywall.

In some cases, especially very lightweight artwork, it is.

In nearly all other cases, it’s not.

Using the wrong type of hanger can send your artwork crashing to the ground.

Ideally, you’ll hang your artwork - especially if it’s very heavy - on a stud. Studs are the vertical boards behind drywall. Typically, they are anywhere from 16 to 24 inches apart.

Most people find a stud by knocking on the wall. Drywall will sound hollow, and studs will sound more solid - which can be an exercise in frustration if you can’t hear a difference.

Here’s a tip. Studs are usually in the corner of a room, or around a light switch or window. Start tapping there to get a feel for it, then measure 16 inches away and tap to see if it feels the same.

When you’ve found the stud, drill a small pilot hole, then use a self-drilling screw.

Use one with a large, flat head and coarse threads that will bite into the stud. A screw length of 1-1/4 inch will suffice.

Then, hang your art. You’re finished!

Wait, what? The stud isn’t where you want to hang your picture? No worries.

There are a variety of hangers designed to hold anything from a relatively lightweight picture to brackets and cabinets.

Picture Hanger

For tools, all you’ll need is a small hammer. The configuration of a picture hanger’s angled nail and metal hook provides adequate support for most framed pictures. They come in different sizes for holding different weights. For larger frames, it is often advisable to use a pair of hangers.

Wall Anchor

You’ll need a drill, a hammer, and a screwdriver.

Plastic wall anchors are sleeves into which a screw is tightened. Drill a hole, tap the anchor in until it is flush with the wall, then screw in a screw.

Tightening the screw causes the anchor to expand inside the wall. It’s essential to drill the proper size hole. Too small, the anchor won’t go in. Too large, the anchor has nothing to touch.

“Molly” Bolt

You’ll need a hammer and a screwdriver.

Hammer the sheathed expansion bolt (sometimes called a “molly bolt”) into the wall, then turn it clockwise with a screwdriver. When it will not turn any more, turn it counter-clockwise to “pull” its collar against the inside of the wall.

Toggle Bolt

You’ll need a drill, a hammer, and a screwdriver.

As with wall anchors, two-piece toggle bolt installation begins with drilling a pilot hole and then lightly tapping it into position. Suitable for more substantial jobs, toggle bolts have spring-activated “wings” that fold out once inside the hollow wall.

As you tighten the bolt with a screwdriver, the wings expand and draw against the wall.

Note: You have to create a pretty large hole to insert a toggle bolt, and once installed, removing the bolt from the wall will cause the wings to detach and fall behind the wall.

Now that you understand the differences between types of hanging hardware, you can hang your art with confidence. Happy decorating!