Hang a picture

The Ultimate Guide to Hanging a Picture

You have just moved and want to personalize your new apartment. Why not just hang some pictures? So you can hang pictures straight and safe.

Align the image

Hold the chosen picture against the wall.

It’s well worth the time you invest in choosing the right spot, and paying attention to the furnishings, the general setting and the lighting. A good height is usually when your eye level is about a quarter below the top of the picture, but this is a matter of taste. If a friend or family member is nearby, ask them to hold the picture up to the wall so you can view it from a distance. If you don’t have anyone to hold the picture for you, hold it up to the wall and mark the corners with a pencil. Then you can stop the picture, step back and look at the markings. Make any necessary changes and repeat until you find the right spot for the image. Erase the pencil when you’re done.

Lightly mark the top center of the image with a pencil.

If you’re having trouble finding the center by eye, use a tape measure and place the center mark above the image.

Lay the frame faces down on a flat surface.

Measure the distance from the top of the picture to the hanging bracket(s) – this could be the crossbar of a canvas or the distance to the suspension wire when taut. If the picture has a crossbar instead of a suspension wire, measure the distance from the crossbar to the top of the image.

Use this measurement (the distance from the hanger to the top of the picture) to determine where to place the nail or screw.

Measure the distance down from the pencil mark and mark that point with the pencil. Here you put the nail. When taking this measurement, keep the line as vertical as possible.

Choose the hanging device

Decide if you want to hang the picture with a simple nail or screw, or with a traditional picture hook.

These options are suitable for hanging pictures weighing up to 10kg. If you use a hammer and nail: Choose a 4cm or 5cm nail. Place the nail in the middle of the pencil mark from the previous step. Drive the nail in at a 45-degree angle. This will give the nail much more strength than driving it straight into the wall. If using a drill and screw: Drill a hole in the middle of the pencil mark. Screw the screw into the hole. If using a traditional picture hook: Insert the nail through the hook’s sleeve. Hold the hook against the wall at the desired height (at the pencil mark) and push the nail into the wall (the hook will automatically hold the nail at a 45º angle). Be careful to only push in the nail, not the hook, as the hook can damage the wall.

For pictures heavier than 10kg, you must use a different hanging method.

Choose between a dowel and a toggle. If you’re using a dowel: This method is the easiest way to hang pictures. Screw the anchor into the wall with a screwdriver. Screw a screw into the anchor with a screwdriver. Some dowels also have special hooks for hanging pictures. With a toggle bolt: Drill a 1cm wide hole in the wall. Put on the metal sleeve and slide it into the hole. Hold the graters with your index finger and thumb. Pull it toward you until the sleeve is firmly seated in the wall. Slide the plastic cap over the straps until they are flush with the wall. Cut the straps flush with the cap. Put a bolt over the cap and into the sleeve.

Hang the picture and put it in the water

Place the picture carefully on the hanging device.

The image must be securely attached before you release it. If the picture is not hanging securely, it may fall and the frame or glass may break. If using screws or nails, hold the picture, so the screws/nails hook into the back of the picture.

Use a spirit level to determine if the picture is level.

Hold the spirit level on the picture. If the bubble stays in the center of the spirit level, the picture is hanging straight. If the bubble hangs to one side, adjust the image until the bubble stays straight.


Museums usually hang pictures at a distance of 142-147 cm from the floor to the center of the picture. It’s easier to straighten a picture, so it stays that way if you use two picture hooks spaced apart, even if the picture isn’t heavy. After hanging the picture, place a spirit level at the top or bottom to make final corrections by rotating the picture left or right. If you want to hang multiple pictures at different heights, a good method is to determine a “middle height” for the room – the height at the center of the pictures. To do this, subtract half the height from the total height – now you have the middle height! If you hang another piece, you can add half the height of the new image to the middle height you found, giving you the new top height. There is also some ready-to-use picture-hanging systems. Using a special rail system, you can always move your pictures or hang more pictures without using nails or drilling holes.


In principle, these instructions can be used to hang pictures of any size and weight, but make sure your hangers can support the picture’s weight. The wall must be strong enough for the hanging pictures. Be careful when hammering or drilling nails into the wall. There could be cables or water pipes in the wall, which could cause damage, injury, or death. Move the image to a safe distance when measuring or drilling. Often you don’t even have to unpack the picture until you’re ready to hang it up.

About the Author


Eddie Miller

Eddie is an Associate Editor in London, UK. He coordinates client content and sponsored articles. Eddie has two Masters in language and spent half his life in the teaching field. He now owns an Amazon business and runs a wooden DIY workshop.