How to

How to Hang Large Picture Frames on a Wall

Are you facing big empty walls and want to put big artworks to make an impact? But you are not sure how to position them and you are afraid of drilling wrong holes in your walls. Trust me you are not alone. 

  

Honestly, when I started, I made mistakes too. I drilled walls and later regretted. So, if you put my house under a CT scan, you will see ‘bullet holes’ in almost every wall. It looks like my house has been to battlefields over the years. Luckily, my walls are very forgiving. I just patch it up and paint it over, and you won’t find a trace. 

I have learned from my mistakes and worked out a formula to pin down where exactly you should drill in walls. Hope it will help you save time, reduce stress and save your walls from unnecessary casualties. 

Before we start, here are the most common mistakes when people hang artworks: 

          Hang too high off the floor. The center of the frame should be 144 cm to 152 cm off the floor, about eye level, so you won’t strain your eyes to look at it. 

          Not leveled. This can be solved by using level ruler before any holes been drilled. If the distance is greater than the ruler, get a string, stretch it out and check if the string is leveled. 

          Too small for the scale of the wall.  Remember big frames for big walls. If the frame is too small for the wall space, then you need a collection of these art, rather than putting a lonely one up. I will write a separate post about gallery walls later. 

Please note this is not a post on what physical tools you need to hang an artworks on a wall. Rather, it is a mathematical tool (yes, I am an Asian, I love math) to help you work out where you should drill holes, so that the artwork you hang is pleasing to your eyes. For people who are not into math, this can be a dry read, so I drew two pictures for you: 

  

First: 

          Work out the area you want to hang the art. 

For a large artwork which needs one hanging spot, here is the formula for you: 

  

A: wall width 

B: picture width 

C: picture height 

D: 144cm (up to 152 cm) from the floor to the center of the frame 

E: pull hanging string at the back of frame, measure from this mark to the top edge of the frame 

P (horizontal distance  from the wall edge) = A/2 

Q (vertical distance off the floor) = D+ (C/2)-E 

For a large artwork which needs two hanging spots,  

A: wall width 

B: picture width 

C: picture height 

D: 144cm (up to 152 cm) from floor to the center of the frame 

E: pull hanging string at the back of frame, measure from this mark to the top edge of the frame 

P (horizontal distance  from the wall edge) = A/2 -B/4

Q (vertical distance off the floor) = D+ (C/2)-E 

Your Q value remains the same.  The P value changed because you need to equally distribute the weight between the two spots. 

Once you calculate P and Q, measure it up on the wall, and put mark a X on that spot. Repeat the process for the other side. 

  

Hints: 

            Do mark a cross ‘X’ on the wall. If you just put a dot, it will be easily lost.     

Here you have it. Simple math. Hanging large artworks are not as daunting any more. Get your kids involved. They would love the challenge.