How to Hang a Picture


hanging pictures (1)
[Photo Credit]
Learning how to hang a picture is relatively straightforward, but it does require precision and planning. However, once you’ve got the hang of it (pardon the pun), you’ll be surprised by how many friends ask you round to help them out!


Of course, this doesn’t just teach you how to hang a picture – the process can be used to mount most decorative items to the wall.

What You’ll Need:

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil (and rubber)
  • Spirit level
  • Pipe, cable & stud detector

These are your basic requirements on how to hang a picture, regardless of the type of wall or picture that you’re hanging. The rest of your list is based on the type of wall that you’ll be hanging your picture on.

If you’re not sure:


Type of Wall:

Smooth; very hard like a brick and should produce very little sound when knocked.




Brick or cement blocks.




Wood; should produce a dull thud when knocked.




A hollow sound when knocked, a little bend when pushed hard.





Once you’ve worked out what type of wall you’re trying to hang a picture on, you’ll need these tools and materials:

Type of Wall:

You’ll Need:

Plaster wall


Hammer, pin and pin hook.


Masonry wall


Drill, screwdriver, masking tape, wall plug and screw.


Timber wall


Carpenters awl, screwdriver and screw.


Hollow wall


Screwdriver, spiral fixing plug or hollow wall anchor.


DIY home decoration set with screw driver hammer for picture frame DIY installation. Photo frame installation complete DIY set.

How to Hang a Picture: Step 1


All successful DIY jobs are the result of good planning. By this point, you should already know what type of wall you’re hanging the picture on, but you’ll also need to know the weight of the feature – this is to determine what type of hanging fixture you’ll need.

Where Do You Want to Hang?

Before getting the drill out you’ll need to know where the picture will be hung – and we don’t mean in what room, we mean at what height and in what place.

As a general rule, your eye line should be 2/3 of the way up the hanging picture.

frame hanging on wall to demonstrate how to hang a picture
[Demonstrates line of sight]
It isn’t a hard and fast rule as it’ll need to be adjusted to your environment. For instance, if you want to hang a picture above a sofa or bed it will need to be raised to accommodate headspace. So, use your judgment and choose a place that feels right for you and the proportions of your room.


frame hanging above a sofa to demonstrate how to hang a picture
[Demonstrates line of sight]

X Marks the Spot

Once you’ve decided where you’d like your picture to hang, you’ll need to check the wall is an appropriate place to be drilling and hammering. A simple cable, pipe and stud detector will tell you if there’s any pipes or wires behind the section that need to be accommodated (see product manual for thorough instructions on how to use the device).

After determining if it’s an acceptable place to hang, you’ll need to mark the location so that you know where to drill. Hold the picture in place, and using a pencil, mark the centre position of the top of the frame.

Next, you’ll need to measure the distance from the top of the frame to the hanging mechanism.

Tip: If it is hanging from a cord that runs along the back of the frame, pull it upwards until it’s tight (how it would be if it were hanging) and measure that distance; if you don’t your image will hang lower than expected.

Using this measurement, measure the same distance on the wall DOWN from your centre mark location – mark this location also – this is where you’ll be drilling (or hammering).

Please note, if your cord is too long that when hung it is visible ABOVE the frame, then you will need to measure DOWN to the top of the frame, and UP from the original mark on the wall.

Tip: To ensure you drill in the right place, using your rubber, remove the original centre top frame mark and leave only your drill location (just in case you get confused!)

Now that you’ve marked your location – it’s time to get hanging!

Abstract interior of assorted classic empty picture frames

How to Hang a Picture: Step 2


As long as the plaster is sound (no cracks, bumps or uneven surfaces) and your picture is light, you can use pin picture hooks.

Align the bottom of the hook and NOT the screw with your marking, using a hammer, gently tap the nail into your marked location. Pin nails are tiny so be careful not to hurt yourself or hit the wall instead!


These walls can accept pin hooks also, but for heavier pictures, you will need to drill, insert wall plugs and use a screw fixing to secure the picture.

Measure the depth of your chosen nail alongside the drill bit, using masking tape, make a note of the distance – this will act as a guide for how deep to drill into the wall. After completing your drill, push in a wall plug.

Tip: if it’s a little tight you can use a hammer to secure a snug fit.

Finally, using a screwdriver, insert the screw – making sure to leave the head protruding by a few millimetres (for the picture to hang on!)


To hang a picture on a stud wall, you first need to locate the studs by using a stud detector or check there’s a stud behind your marked location. If there’s a stud behind it, then you can screw a nail (with a screwdriver or drill) directly onto your marking, remembering to leave a few millimetres.

If there isn’t a stud behind your marked location and you’re unwilling to move it to one, then you’ll need to follow the instructions for a hollow wall.


B&Q Rawplug Wall Interset Fixing
[Hollow Wall Anchor]
If your location is a hollow part of the wall, you’ll need to purchase some special fixing mechanisms, such as a spiral fixing plug or a hollow wall anchor. You will need to check the instructions on both types of mechanisms for specifics on how much weight each can take.

Spiral fixing plugs can be screwed into your plasterboard wall, then, a nail can be inserted into the spiral fixing plug to secure your picture – leaving a few millimetres protruding.

A hollow wall anchor can be pushed into a pre-drilled hole on your marked location, and then the screw is tightened to expand the fixing behind the partition (again leaving a few millimetres to hang your feature).

Finally, hang your picture on the hook or screw and use a spirit level to ensure that it’s hanging straight.

And there you have it, how to hang a picture! This project will get you off the DIY novice starting block.

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