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How To

How To Hang Heavy Wall Art

When it comes to Hanging heavy picture frame, painting, mirror, or other heavy wall decors, you want to make sure you do it safely, properly, and in a location that adds to the room’s look. The best location does not necessarily precisely fit with a wall stud—the solid wood forms the frame of your wall.

If you choose to hang a heavier wall decor object on hollow drywall or plaster, all you have to do is assess the weight of what you’re hanging, measure the wall surface type, and choose the proper anchor hardware for the job.

Heavy wall decor vs. light wall decor

How to hang heavy frames? The weight of the picture you choose to hang determines whether you need to use a heavy picture hanging technique or use the primary picture hanging technique for lighter pictures and art.

Lighter wall decor typically only includes one center hanging point, and conical plastic anchors will do, but heavy frames require a winged type of hardware. The wing can stretch and push against the inside of the drywall, supplying the additional protection and power required for large items to be securely anchored in place.

Heavy-duty hanging hardware

When it comes to hanging a big frame, piece of art, or even a large mirror, heavy-duty hardware is your best mate. The most popular hardware styles for hanging large items are wing wall anchors, toggle bolts, and self-drilling anchors. Still, many modern devices are designed specifically for safely hanging heavy objects on any wall.

Often read the package to determine the maximum weight that the hardware can withstand and any special instructions. Remember that you can’t use hardware that is too secure, so if you’re unsure about the weight of your art, only use toggle bolts, which are designed for the heavier of hanging employment.

Winged plastic wall anchor

Plastic winged wall anchors are ideal for bulky frames or artwork weighing up to 25 pounds. Winged anchors have two wings that lie flat before installation and then spring open once through the wall. Any winged wall anchors come with a unique tool for opening the wings, but you can also poke them open with a screwdriver.

Toggle the bolt

Toggle bolts are ideal for bulky frames or sculptures weighing more than 50 pounds. They are similar to winged wall anchors in that they tighten to the backside of the wall and are typically made of metal rather than plastic. When they are opened, the anchor will resemble a boat anchor, which will dig tightly against the back of the wall to hold the bolt in place.

Anchor with the self-drilling capability

Self-drilling anchors resemble extra-thick, threaded screws, which serve as both an anchor and a bolt. They are self-starting, so you don’t have to dig a hole in the wall before screwing them in. Look for a specifically designed style for hanging pictures and buy one designed to withstand your piece’s weight.

Examining the wall

You should hang a heavy photo on a wall stud, but the frame’s location does not match up with a stud. If you can’t locate a stud, the approaches below all use various anchor screws designed for comfortably hanging on hollow walls.

Decide where you want to hang your painting before you go to the hardware store. Then, take a few moments to assess the wall. The kind of wall you have will help you choose the proper hardware. Any of the anchor styles mentioned will fit well, whether you have plaster or drywall walls. If you have a brick or concrete walls, you will use a particular drill bit to drill the pilot holes, but plastic anchors will suffice.

How to hang a heavy picture

  • Locate the hanging point on the wall and lightly mark it with a pencil.
  • Measure the distance from the hanging point to the sides of the frame. After that, lightly mark each side on the wall.
  • Measure the top of the frame to the hanging point and lightly mark it on the wall.
  • Drill a pilot hole in the wall large enough for the anchor to fit through with the wings folded. If you are using a self-drilling anchor, drilling a small ⅛ inch pilot hole will make it easier to screw in.
  • Install the anchor. If you are hanging a picture frame, make sure to put the hanger through the bolt before tightening. 
  • Hang the frame wire over the hanger.
  • Check with a level and adjust as needed.

You may want to add a hanging point for the heaviest of objects to help evenly distribute the weight. Use two of whatever type of hardware you choose and install them about two inches in from either side of the frame. Use a level to ensure that you are installing them along a straight line so that your art looks even once you hang it.

Hanging heavy pictures

Weigh the options.

The first step is to determine how much your image weighs. It would be best if you did this using a bathroom scale. However, if you want to stop scratching the walls, read our post on how to hang pictures without nails. For pictures weighing more than 10 pounds, you’ll need to use a wall stud, a rail track, or one of the hanging options mentioned below.

What is the maximum weight of an image that you can hang on drywall?

Interior walls are usually constructed with a timber frame and some covering. Plaster-wall was commonly used in older homes (especially before 1940). Since drywall is commonly used in contemporary houses, you would most likely be hanging heavy pictures on drywall.

Pictures weighing less than 5 pounds, on average, can be hung with hanging strips, sticky wall hooks, or mounting tape. Plastic drywall anchors are a good choice for pictures weighing 5 to 20 pounds, and metal wall anchors or wall studs are a good option for pictures weighing 20 to 50 pounds. A rail cable hanging package is a decent all-around option for hanging several pictures or something heavier.

Using studs to hang pictures

Drywall and plaster wall surfaces are usually installed on a wooden framework. This wood is known as a “stud,” and it is the most durable wall component. As a result, it’s perfect for displaying large frames. That being said, your studs aren’t necessarily in the right place to hang your pictures in terms of style.

How can you choose a stud?

To locate a stud, you can use a stud finder app. Otherwise, tap along the wall with your finger. You can hear a hollow sound before you reach a stud, at which point the sound will change to a dud. Similar to a bat using echolocation to locate a fruit tree 😉 If you’ve found a stud, you can use a thin nail to keep up a 20-pound picture. You may use coarse threaded wooden screws to keep up pictures weighing more than 50 pounds.

Making use of wall anchors 

You may use drywall anchors to hang pictures on drywall without a stud (also called screw-in anchors.) When you don’t have access to a wooden stud and need to screw directly into the drywall, drywall anchors are perfect. The anchor will provide additional stability to your screw and keep it from going loose.

Drywall anchors come in a variety of materials, including plastic and brass. Plastic wall anchors are appropriate for pictures weighing no more than 20 pounds. When you drill a screw into them, two tiny legs stretch and protect the screw on the other side of the drywall. Check out this guide to learn how to mount plastic wall anchors.

Avoid using plastic wall anchors for pictures weighing more than 20 pounds because they can not sustain it. Various types of metal wall anchors may be used to hold heavier structures. A Toggle Bolt or Molly Bolt, for example, will carry 30 pounds or more.

Kit for hanging rail-cables

A rail-cable hanging package is a brilliant and frequently forgotten option for hanging heavy images. Pictures and frames are hung using cables connected to a rail set up along the wall for this device. Hooks are used to attaching pictures to the cords.

A rail cable is remarkable because it can carry any weight capability (up to 300 pounds per track.) You can also place it on any wall surface (drywall, plaster-wall, concrete, or wood), and the location and height of your pictures can be changed as desired.

Rail-cable hanging packages are ideal for hanging heavy (or light) frames in classrooms, houses, and art galleries. They need to be assembled once and have a simple way to hang heavy pictures without using nails.

Hooks for hanging

If you don’t mind pushing a nail into your wall, wall-hanging hooks can be a decent choice for hanging heavy pictures. It is often preferable to use a wall stud when using screws.

One photo hanging hook with a nail can hold up to 25 pounds, and two hanging hooks can hold up to 50 pounds.

You should use silicone hanging hooks instead of screws to avoid using nails. They are attached to the wall with an adhesive strip. They are simple to install and will not disturb or cause blemishes on the walls until removed. It’s important to mention that they usually can’t bear more than 5 pounds, making them unsuitable for heavy videos.

Another method for avoiding the use of nails is to use Velcro hanging strips. They are a prevalent and straightforward method of hanging photographs. However, like adhesive hooks, they are not suitable for hanging heavy frames and are strictly for single use.

How to hang heavy frames

Making plans to hang your painting

Weigh the options: The weight of your artwork will decide the fasteners and technique you will use to hang it on the wall. Because of their weight, larger pictures and mirrors necessitate the use of unique materials. To calculate the exact weight of your photograph, use a standard bathroom scale.

Determine the kind of wall you’re going to use: Plaster walls are common in older homes built in the 1940s or earlier. Drywall is used in the majority of modern houses. With the right equipment and approach, you can even hang heavy pictures on brick, mortar, and ceramic tile.

Decide where you want to hang your picture:

  1. Find a suitable location for your image or mirror and place it against the wall.
  2. As a general rule of thumb, hang your photo at eye-level height.
  3. With a pencil or a strip of painter’s tape, mark the top of the frame.

Mark the location of your wall fastener with a drill or nail: Use a measuring tape to decide where you want to hang your picture on the wall. The frame can hang lower on the fastener, depending on the type of frame you are hanging.

Consider adding a second hanging point: To increase the picture’s power, consider hanging it from two points on the wall. This is particularly useful for heavy loads. If the frame is suspended from a cable, keeping the wire in place with two fingers at the desired hanging points. The greater the distance between them, the more secure the painting will hang. Using a tape measure, measure these two points to the top of the frame and pass the figure to the wall with a pencil.

Picture hanging on drywall and plaster

Hang your photo on a stud: It is best to hang heavier pictures on a stud. Every 16 inches, a stud, or wooden support brace, is installed in drywall (40.6 cm). Using a stud finder or softly tapping the wall until you detect a good, rather than a hollow echo, locate a wall stud. If you’re having trouble finding studs in plaster walls, try another form.

Use conventional photo hangers: While they do not seem to be the most durable alternative, they are simple to use and do no harm to your wall. Picture hangers with one nail can support up to 25 pounds, and hangers with two nails can support up to 50 pounds. Although pushing the boundaries of these hangers is not advised, they can be used for medium-load paintings. They will be used on plaster, whether the hangers have screws or anchor screws.

Hang your picture with anchor bolts: There are several different types of anchor bolts based on the weight of the picture and the kind of wall you’re using. Pilot holes are needed for all anchors. Before installing the bolt or screw and hanging the picture, you must first drill a pilot hole in the wall. Plaster walls require the use of anchor bolts and screws. Using nails and hammers on cement would only allow the wall to deteriorate.

Use a toggle bolt to have heavyweight support: Toggle bolts can bear the most weight. They are spring-loaded and protect the wall from behind. They’re still the perfect ones for plastered walls. Installing them necessitates the use of a much larger drill bit.

The Bottom Line

Hanging large pictures can be tricky! If you use the wrong support, your picture can fall or split, and you should also consider mitigating wall damage.

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