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Hang it straight, level & solid: with these four techniques, you can hang just about anything on your walls, and keep it there.

The first challenge in hanging a picture is deciding exactly where you want it. It's not so hard with just one picture. You can ask a helper to hold it up while you stand back and judge the position.

Most experts recommend hanging a picture with its center about 60 in. from the floor, or bottom edge 6 to 8 in. above a piece of furniture. Use these heights as a starting point. Then adjust the position of the picture to your liking, and mark the top center with the corner of a sticky note. Use the technique shown in Photos 2-6 to complete the job.

A group of pictures is trickier. First cut out paper patterns and arrange them on the wall with low-adhesive masking tape. The temporary red line from a laser level is helpful for aligning a series of photos level with one another (Photo 1).

The laser level is ideal because you get a perfectly straight line without having to mark up the walls. A standard carpenter's level will also work.

When you arrive at a grouping that's pleasing, mark the top center of each pattern with the corner of a sticky note (Photo 1). You'll use the bottom corner of each sticky note as a reference point for locating the picture hangers.

Now you're ready to position the picture hangers (Photos 2-4). Use two hangers for each picture for extra support and to help keep the picture from tipping. Choose picture hangers that are rated to support the weight of your art. We recommend professional hangers like the one shown below. They work fine in drywall. These are available at home centers or from most picture-framing shops. OOK is one popular brand. Plaster may not support pictures as well as drywall does. To hang heavier art on plaster walls, use picture hangers with double or triple nails.

Photos 2 and 3 show how to measure the space between the hangers and the distance from the top of the picture frame. The distance between hangers isn't critical. Just space your fingers several inches from the outside edges of the picture frame. Transfer these measurements to the wall (Photo 4). An inexpensive level with inches marked along the edge is a great picture-hanging tool (Photo 4). Otherwise, just stick masking tape to the edge of a level and transfer measurements to the tape (Photo 2, p. 44). Then line up the bottom of the hooks with the marks and drive the picture-hanger nails through the angled guides on the hooks (Photo 5).


Before you hang the picture, stick a pair of clear rubber bumpers on the back lower corners of the frame to protect the wall and help keep the picture level. You'll find these with the picture hanging supplies or in the cabinet hardware department (they're I called "door bumpers").

1 Project a level line and tape exact-size paper patterns on the wall. Mark the top center of each pattern with the corner of a sticky note,


2 Stretch the hanger wire with two fingers spaced equally distant from the edges of the picture frame, Keep the wire parallel to the top of the frame. Measure the distance between your fingertips.


3 Leave one finger in place and measure from the wire to the top. Use this dimension and the dimension from Photo 2 to position the picture hangers.


4 Find the hanger positions by measuring down from the sticky note and to each side from center. Keep the hangers level.


5 Align the bottom edge of a picture hook with the mark and drive a nail through the hook's guide.


6 Slip the wire over both hooks. Slide the picture sideways across the wires until it's level. Use the same process to hang the remaining pictures.

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Author:Gorton, Jeff
Publication:The Family Handyman
Date:Nov 1, 2006
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