Walls. Sure, they keep your roof up. But most importantly, it’s where you hang your framed artwork! Get ready, because it’s time to review some common hanging methods you’re likely to encounter.

A traditional “saw tooth” hanger is appropriate for lightweight decorative pieces.

You may already be familiar with the sawtooth hanger, sometimes endearingly referred to as a “zig-zag”. These little hangers are typically included with less expensive ready-made frames and are generally only recommended for very small and light artworks. They’re easy to understand – nail goes in wall, and hanger sits on nail. However, these hangers are a poor solution from a physics standpoint as the full weight of the piece is carried only by the top rail of the frame. Additionally, a bare nail driven straight into drywall isn’t a reliable anchor. If you’re not careful, you’ll soon be picking up a broken piece of art from the floor.

A lot of thought and knowledge goes into selecting the appropriate hanging hardware for your art.

The hanging system you’re most likely to encounter is a wire strung across the back of your framed art. In the case of a wood frame, this wire may be attached with screw eyes, but we like D-rings as they are less susceptible to stress and failure. The wire we prefer to use is a plastic-coated stainless steel. Traditional braided galvanized steel wire is less expensive, but it may corrode, discolor your wall, become weak, and ultimately break. Wiring is the most widely used hanging system because it’s simple and reliable. Once you’ve decided where you’d like your artwork to hang, mark the top of your frame on the wall lightly in pencil or with a piece of painter’s tape. Then, measure the distance from the taut wire to the top of your frame. Take this measurement and install the hook directly below the mark you put on the wall. The helpful pros at This Old House will walk you through the process in this video:

A French Cleat is a secure and dependable hanging option for heavy items.

For heavier items (pieces 30 to 100 pounds), we recommend a 2 point hanging system. This involves securing two vertically oriented D-rings to the side rails of the frame, calculating hook placement, and carefully installing the piece. For even heavier frames (100 pounds plus) the use of a French cleat may be necessary. Traditionally used to hang cabinets, this system utilizes a flat piece of wood cut at a 45-degree angle which is mounted to the wall. Then a matching wood piece is secured to the back of the artwork, the two pieces interlock, and the weight of the installed artwork brings the two cleat halves securely together.

Security hardware uses a special key to lock the artwork to the wall, and is recommended for public installations.

Have you ever been to an establishment where they’ve screwed the art directly through the frame into the wall? For a custom framer, that’s a real heartbreaker! We understand framing is an investment, and if you’re hanging something in a public space, it’s important that the public doesn’t walk off with it. Thankfully, there are less invasive options to hang your artwork while still deterring theft. In cases where art is to be publicly displayed, we recommend security hardware. This is a specialized system using a series of brackets and plates mounted to the art and wall. This is an advanced hanging system which takes a lot of training to perfect! Once the art is on the wall, a hidden bolt is turned, and the piece is locked in place. Secure on the wall and secure in your mind knowing that it won’t be stolen.

We’ll always advise you on the best method to keep your artwork where it belongs – safely on your wall. We also provide the proper hooks for every order placed. However, if all of this seems a little intimidating, please talk to us about our delivery and installation services.

Finally, a word on Command Strips: DON’T.