How to hang a picture

There are two ways to hang a picture.

One way is to bang a nail into a wall, placing it where you think in the moment. Then just dangle the picture from it and adjusting the level before wandering off to do something more important.

Before you consider taking this easy route let me encourage you to bear a few things in mind.

First of all when visitors arrive and see what’s hanging on your walls, they will make a judgement. Judging is what they are good at and, luckily for us, they are such experts as well.

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Then there is consideration for the artist. Someone has put a lot of effort into the work piece. It’s only right to do him or her justice and display their work in a way that brings out the best to be fully appreciated.

Also remember that you will be seeing it every day. You need to place it in a position that you can live with.

Another and better way is to nominate an assistant, someone who you’ve known for a good while.

Someone with whom you have mutual respect and you can agree to disagree when things get difficult.

In short you need someone who you know won’t lead you into a flaming argument leaving the job half done.

That being said, let’s hang a picture.

The first thing to think about is the area of wall where the work will show best.

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Then figure out where the eye level is. This can be contentious as there are tall and short people but there is a general consensus that 1.5metres to 1.6metres from the floor up will strike a happy medium.

This assumes that people will be standing when they see it. If the work is to be displayed in a room where people are seated most of the time then you must consider lowering it.

This does work but you have to consider other low down objects e.g. furniture. It’s important that other items aren’t competing for attention in the line of view.

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With the help of your assistant, hold the art-work in a position where the agreed centre-point is half way along the vertical of the art frame.

Stick a short piece of tape on the wall and mark it at the corner of the art frame. This is a reference for the top centre point of where the art will be when finally placed.

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Now measure from the centre point along the top of the frame to the hanging point.

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Next translate the measurement from the reference point on the wall vertically down and mark the point. This is where the nail or screw will go in.

If the wall will take a nail and hold good and firm, then use a nail. If it won’t then it may be necessary to drill a hole and insert a plug that will receive a screw. However you do it you must ensure a secure fitting. Outside help from a professional may be necessary if you are not sure of how to do it especially if the the art work is valuable.

Prepare a wall gallery.

This works well if you have an assortment of smaller pieces which would look good in a group on one wall.

You have to decide on which level you wish to display them. Will they be at eye-level when standing or sitting?

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For sitting eye-level you need to experiment and conclude, with your trusted assistant, where the level needs to be.

With the level established prepare to mount the group as though it were a single piece.

Before assembling the group, prepare a mock-up of the group formation using pieces of paper cut to the size of each piece of art work.

Stick them on the wall where you want the final display to go. Aim for a constant space between each piece and just see what works for you.

It’s worth the effort.

Having well chosen and well placed art work in your home makes a statement about you.

It sends a message to guests that you have your own tastes and ideas and that you are an individual capable of original thought.

Enjoy your art!

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