Condo Blues: How to Hang a Heavy Picture without it Crashing to the Ground

Friday, October 26, 2012

How to Hang a Heavy Picture without it Crashing to the Ground

 My new living room accent wall looks good but adding a few pictures to the wall will make it look better.

Especially if I rehang this amazing gift from Michael. He painted it as part of his senior show at Parsons (yes, that Parsons The New School for Design Project Runway fans.) Michael gave us the painting to remember him by before he moved -sniff!

We like painting but this bad boy is heavy. It eventually fell off the wall when I hung it from the wire hanger attached to the frame. I tried wall anchors, nails in a stud, and super duper heavy-duty mollies. All ended with the same result – an eventual hole(s) to patch in the drywall and the painting leaning up against the wall.

I have a feeling I shouldn’t rehang it from the picture wire.

I hit Lowes looking for a solution and a little DIY daydreaming. Kinda like window shopping for shoes but I wander the tool and tile aisles instead.

I found it in the hardware aisle. A French cleat for picture frames! Ooo-la-la!

This French cleat picture hanger on Amazon is similar to the one I bought.

People use French cleats to hang wall cabinets and shelving, why not use it to hang heavy artwork?  The worse thing that could happen is the painting will eventually crash to the ground and I will end up patching the holes in the wall which by now I can do in my sleep.

I bought the cleat rated for hanging a 75 pound picture. My painting isn’t that heavy but I really want it to stay on the wall this time.

The installation is simple.

1. Screw the hanger to the back of the picture frame.

2. Use the bubble level (completely in love with this. One of my other talents is not hanging things perfectly level despite owning a level) to determine where you want the photo to hang on the wall and mark the screw holes with a pencil.

3. Use a drill to drill pilot holes for the wall anchors. To further stabilize the painting, I made sure at least one screw went into a wall stud. I don’t want to do this project again if I can help it.

4. Tap the wall anchors into the pilot holes with a hammer.

I switched to black and white so you can see the neon 
yellow wall anchor  on the lime green wall a bit better.

5. Screw the cleat to the wall.

6. Pop the picture hanger onto the wall cleat.

This mamma jamma hasn’t crashed down yet.

While I was at it, I made a little gallery grouping by hanging the two painting we bought at the Urban Scrawl festival next to the subway painting. During our art buying deliberations, my suggestion of hanging the lovely lady paintings on the accent wall sealed the deal of allowing ourselves to buy the paintings.

My gallery wall needed something to fill the space under the green ladies. I went through my mountain of photos I take on vacations as my souvenirs and with the intention of printing and hanging them but never do and pulled one of my interpretations of New York City to hang besides Michael’s interpretation of New York City.

I took this photo on my first trip to New York with Husband. 
Just like paintings, I like my photography offbeat.

I had a photo canvas made through Canvas 4 Life  to compare to my DIY photo canvas. One of the things I don’t like about purchased photo canvases is how the photo wraps around the canvas. Unlike the last photo canvas service I used, Canvas 4 Life photo canvas gives you the option of a black band around the edge of your canvas if you do not want the photo to wrap.  

To coordinate with the gallery grouping and the DIY photo canvas I made of Blitzkrieg hanging on the other side of the room, I chose the slim frame over the chunky frame option and the black edging. I like it. My photo canvas coordinates with all of the real artists’ artwork and almost looks like a real arty photographer type took the it instead of some chick on vacation.

I tried Command picture hanging hooks to hang the three smaller pieces but they eventually crashed down from the wall a week later. I rehung them properly with a nail in the wall.

Lesson learned:

  • Pony up the money for a picture hanging cleat for heavy artwork (it wasn’t expensive but it cost more than the free nails and wall anchors I already have in the garage)

  • Do not waste money on sticky picture hanging hooks for small light photos you want to stay on the wall longer than a week. Use a free nail from the garage.

What are your photo hanging tips?

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Disclosure: I received a sample from Canvas 4 Life for this review. Everything else I purchased with my own hard earned cash.


Bev said...

I have never used a French Cleat. But now will consider it's use. Great post!

Christine said...

Oh!!! Great tip!!!!!!

Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer... From Dream To Reality!

Ira Morse said...

I always use French cleat for my paint collection. It is durable and can hold heavy object...Great tips

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing. I haven't seen this system of hanger before. Very cool!

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