Hang a heavy mirror

The Ultimate Guide to Hanging a Heavy Mirror

With their amazing ability to create the illusion of large, open spaces, large mirrors make a great addition to almost any room in your home. However, the added weight of large mirrors will require you to spend a little more time hanging them than assembling a photograph or print. Don’t worry. With a few simple tricks, it’s not that difficult to hang a heavy mirror neatly. Read the steps below to get started.

Part One: Preparing the Wall for the Mirror

Choose the spot where you want to hang the mirror.

Find an area of ​​the wall that is relatively free of clutter and appropriately sized for the mirror, leaving some free space. You will usually want to hang the mirror high enough that people can make eye contact as they walk past the mirror, although there may be situations where you can make an exception to this rule. For example, this can be the case if you want to hang the mirror over a mantelpiece.

Clear the area in front of the wall where you want to hang the mirror.

A tidy work area reduces the risk of falling over furniture or other objects that might get in the way. They can be “devastating” if your heavy mirror is antique. You can also clean the wall first if it is dirty. It can be difficult to clean behind the heavy mirror, so you should take the chance to clean the wall “before” you hang the mirror. Set the mirror aside in a safe place and avoid damaging it when you put the furniture away.

Use a stud finder to mark the edges of the studs in the wall.

For hanging the mirror, you find the beams are “very” important. Support beams are evenly spaced behind most of the interior walls. You need to ensure that the screws or nails you use to hang your mirror are screwed directly into the wooden studs. Otherwise, they’ll be held down by nothing more than plaster and drywall. In most cases, this material is unsuitable for holding a heavy mirror. Use an automatic stud finder (they are sold at most hardware stores) to locate the studs on your wall. Use a pencil to mark the outside edges of each post in the area where you will hang the mirror. These marks are your reference points to guide you when hanging your mirror. If you’re sure and for some reason, you can’t buy a joist finder, it’s possible to locate the joists by tapping on the wall. Using your index and middle fingers, tap the wall firmly (but not forcefully) and listen to the sound of your tapping as you move along the wall. If you tap between the bars, your sound should be more hollow and have a little echo, whereas if you hit the bar, your tapping will be flat and dull. Note that this method is not “nearly” as accurate as using a bar finder.

Mark the center of each bar with a tape measure.

Extend the tape measure (or hold a ruler) between each pair of pencil marks on the wall. Use these measurements to find the center of each beam. Mark the center with a pencil. The center of the beam is the strongest and most stable place to hang your mirror. Therefore, you should attach your screws as close to the middle as possible.

Part Two: Hang the mirror

Use a tape measure to find the center of the mirror.

Find the length and width of your mirror. The mean points of these measurements will give you the exact center of your mirror. It’s important to find the exact center of your mirror so you can accurately attach the brackets to the mirror’s frame. It’s also a good idea to mark the center of each edge on the back of your mirror.

Install the mounting rings on the back of your mirror.

Mark two spots about 6.25 inches from the top edge on either side, centered on the back of the mirror. Assemble the two mounting rings at the respective markings. The mounting rings will guide the wire suspension when the mirror is hung and keep it level and balanced.

Install the eyebolts in the lower part of the frame.

Mark two spots on each side of the center near the bottom edge of the mirror.

Unroll a long piece of sturdy metal wire.

Double the wire, slide it through the guides on the mounting rings, and then back to the eyebolts on the other side of the mirror. Leave some wire as you may need to connect it to a reinforcement that will be attached to the wall.

Reinforce the wire with scrap wire to strengthen the suspension.

Cut the wire to a medium length. Wrap a wire tightly around the hanger several times and secure it with pliers. Secure it in the eyebolt hole. Repeat this process on both sides at the points where the wire connects to the eyebolt.

Secure the wire with a final loop through the remaining eyebolt.

Cut and twist the wire, securing it tightly. Fix the wire with pliers.

Carefully lift the mirror to the position shown.

Using your free hand (or get a friend to help you), “carefully” mark the wall in the middle of the top edge of the mirror. Set the mirror down carefully in a safe place.

Using a spirit level, draw a line along the wall that is exactly parallel to the floor.

You will need this line to decide whether your mirror is level or not. Position the spirit level on the mark you just drew and carefully draw your line when the spirit level is aligned so that the air bubble is directly between the two lines on the horizontal tube of the spirit level. Draw a line along the edge.

Draw the lines from the middle of the two adjacent bars to the top line.

Find the joists that lie in the area where you want to hang the mirror. The further apart they are, the better. However, they should not be “outside” the edges of your mirror. Draw a straight line from the middle of these bars to the horizontal line. Mark a point on the center line of each bar about 5 inches from the top line. You will attach your hanger to the wall at these points. Use your spirit level to make sure the hanger is level.

Attach the suspension to the two points just marked.

Screw heavy-duty screws into the wall at the two locations you marked for mounting. Using an automatic drill, drill a hole narrower than the hanging screws you selected for the two markers. Then, using a screw bit, screw it into the hole, making sure part of the screw sticks out of the wall to accommodate the wire. Before you attach the mounting screws to the wall, “make sure” that they are designed to hold more weight than the mirror weighs. Keep in mind that pulling your mirror away from the wall to clean underneath can increase the effective weight of your mirror. Keep in mind that not all hanging screws are created equal. Follow the advice of a seasoned professional or the manufacturer’s instructions that come with the screws if you are unsure how to safely install them. Alternatively, you can use heavy-weight nails, as shown in the picture.

Slowly and carefully lift the mirror into position.

Grasp the wire with the two mounting screws. Ensure the wire rests securely on the two hangers, then slowly and carefully release the mirror, allowing the screws to take the weight.

Adjust the mirror so that it hangs straight, and clean it.

Use the level line on the wall and/or a spirit level to fine-tune the position of your mirror so that it hangs exactly parallel to the floor. When you’re done, use an eraser to carefully erase the lines you drew on the wall. Some do-it-yourself advice websites recommend specific cleaning products, especially the “magic eraser” or other melamine foam to remove pencil marks.

Prepare the wall in the usual way.

This method relies on using a special type of attachment for your mirror called “French Cleats” rather than hanging it from a wire. Again, the joists in the wall are required for the suspension, and it is necessary to prepare the wall. The beams must be marked at their center. Therefore, proceed in the same way as in step 1. Clean the surrounding area carefully and mark your bars accurately.

Buy or build your French cleats.

French cleats are wide, angled wooden (or sometimes metal) brackets used for hanging heavy objects on the wall. They are usually available at most hardware stores. If you’re looking to buy commercial mounts, it’s best to look for a kit rated to support more weight than the mirror you’re planning to hang. If you have a suitable piece of wood and have some basic woodworking knowledge, it is not difficult to build the brackets yourself. Follow the instructions below: Cut a sturdy plank of wood about 3/4″ thick to be slightly shorter than the width of your mirror. Make a 30-45° cut and cut the entire length of your board half lengthwise. You now have two pieces of wood, each with wide and narrow sides. These pieces of wood fit together and form a stable mount for your mirror.

Attach one of the brackets to the top edge of the back of your mirror.

Use strong glue or screws to do this, and attach one of the brackets to the back of your mirror. Usually, the smaller of the two mounts is used for this. Position the bracket’s narrow side just below the mirror’s top edge, with the beveled edge facing down. Use a spirit level to ensure the edge is perfectly level. You should now have a downward-facing “guide” that fits snugly into the bracket you’ll install on the wall to hold the mirror. If you’re using commercial mounts, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. The basic idea should be based on the same principle. You want the “guide” on the bracket facing down, so it engages the guide on the bracket attached to the wall.

If necessary, attach an offset board to the bottom edge of the mirror.

When the mirror is properly seated in the mount, its weight will be supported along the top edge. If there is no fixing on the lower part of the mirror, the weight of the mirror may be “tilted” towards the wall. This can damage the mirror or tear the bracket out of the wall. It is, therefore, important to ensure that the bottom end rests perpendicularly against the wall. Attach a board the same length and thickness as the bracket to the bottom edge of the mirror. This method is referred to as a “staggered board”. It supports the lower part of the mirror against the wall. If you plan to build your mirror, one way to save on the offset board is to build a beveled edge into the top frame board so that it doubles as a bracket.

Mark the position of the second bracket on the wall.

The bracket that attaches to the wall (usually the larger of the two brackets) must be securely attached to the wall to ensure the mirror is securely attached. Use a level to draw a vertical line between the center of the joists, and then use the level again to draw a horizontal line through these new lines at the exact height you want the bracket to be installed. Mark the midpoints of each subsection of your bars and the top horizontal line. The bracket is attached to the wall at these points.

Attach a second bracket to the wall.

Use heavy-duty wood screws (they should be rated for a weight greater than the mirror’s weight) to attach the bracket to the wall. You drive the screws through the wood of the bracket into the middle of the joists on the wall. The bracket should be attached to the wall so that the wide side is the outside and the narrow side faces the wall. This should create an upward-pointing “lead.” Again, for commercial mounts, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions, but the basic principle should be the same.

Hang the mirror.

Lift the mirror into place and slide the two bracket guides together. They should mesh like two gears. Gradually decrease your grip until the mount fully supports the mirror. Note: If you use wood glue to attach the mount to the frame, you should wait for it to dry completely before hanging the mirror. Even if you are 100% sure that the glue is dry, you should hang the mirror very carefully. If possible, have a friend help you to catch the mirror if the glue isn’t the strength you want.


About the Author


Josh Morgan

Josh Morgan is CouponAnnie's Contributing Writer. He lives life on the cheap, but that doesn't mean a boring existence. Josh loves helping people focus on frugality without giving up the things they enjoy. When he's not getting deals, he's probably drawing or writing something amazing.