Monday, June 16, 2008

The Art of Picture Hanging

Are your pictures too high? Too low? Are there extra nail holes behind those family pictures on your wall from when you tried to “eyeball” it?

If you don’t have the faintest idea how high a picture should be hung on the wall, or know anything about grouping pictures or designing an arrangement, don’t despair-- there is hope.

Hanging a picture sounds easy enough, but the reality is there are many elements to this deceptively simple process that can make it frustratingly difficult and leave you with a ridiculous number of holes in your wall from failed attempts. Luckily, there are a few tips that can help you avoid butchering your wall and almost guarantee your pictures will be sitting pretty.

First, remember that the center of a picture should be at eye-level. This applies to a grouping of pictures, too, only using the center of the combined collaborative instead of the individual piece. Because height can vary dramatically from person to person, the default measurement is approximately 66 inches from the floor to the center of the object. There are exceptions to this rule, of course. For instance, if you are hanging a particularly large painting or mirror, 66 inches isn’t always spacially correct. Adjust accordingly and with great prejudice. Remember, too much “eyeballing” can lead to too many holes.

Another good rule is to use two picture hooks with picture hanging wire on the back of your frame. This prevents shifting and tilting, so you won’t have to be forever straightening your pictures. It also provides extra support for heavy objects. To determine where to place your hangers, measure and find the center of your picture. From this point, measure equal distance to a point that’s about half to two-thirds the length of the picture. You will need to remember how far these hooks are placed apart from the center when finally driving the nail, so make sure you write it down or commit it to memory.

Now, the moment of truth: hammering the nails (or drilling the screws, which may be a better option for really heavy objects. Using wall anchors with screws to hang your art will definitely keep things where they’re supposed to be.) When deciding how high to hang your picture, don’t forget to measure it first and find its center. You will need to measure from this point vertically to the wire and add x number of inches to 66 to allow for this space. Mark on the wall lightly with a pencil 66 inches from the floor where you want the center of the picture to be. From there, you will use a level to mark two more places the distance from the center to the picture hooks (you wrote it down, remember?). This is where you want to put your nails. After you hammer them in, it’s just a matter of hanging you picture!

If you have more than one picture of the same size and need to repeat this process, it is easy to hang them together symmetrically. If you have multiple pictures of varying size, sketching out a composition before trying to hang them is a good idea. It can help to visualize the smaller pictures as pieces of a larger whole and arranging them accordingly

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