How To

Feature image for an article on how to hang art.

Curious about the best way to hang art in your house?

There are as many ways to hang art works, as there are art works. Here are some basic instructions that can help you in your own home.

You will need the following:

  • Picture hangers
  • Picture wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Small eye hooks (and a way to attach eye hooks to frame – an awl and pliers or a drill)
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Green painters tape
  • Spirit Level/Bubble Level

1. Choose the right hanging hardware (usually a combination of picture wire for the art work and hangers for the wall). Most hardware stores sell “picture hangers” (a nail and hook combination) and they suggest a weight limit on the package. If weight is an issue you may need to put screws into studs but commercial picture hangers in drywall (not studs under drywall) are sufficient for most home applications.

2. Attach picture wire to the back of your art work. Small eye hooks work well. Use an awl to make a starter hole or pre drill the frame (careful of the art work while doing this and NEVER hammer the frame). Put the wire about 1/3rd of the way down from the top of the work. The wire should not be too taught nor should it be so loose that it will be visible above the art work when hanging.

3. Decide on the location for your art work. You’ll need to take a number of things into consideration proximity to other art works, furniture, appliances, windows etc. Preventative conservation of art is a huge subject (too big to get into here) but keep in mind that direct sunlight and rapid changes in heat and humidity are BAD for original art works. This means you might want to keep your art away from the bathroom, the space above the fireplace or the wall across from the picture window.

4. In art galleries, works are generally hung with a common center and that center is 56” from the ground. That said, this “suggested” center is often adjusted – larger works are often hung low of this center and whole series of works (or exhibitions) are sometimes hung with a common bottom line or common top line (flush top or bottom ) rather than a common center, if this appears to make more sense visually. In your home you’ll want to adjust the hanging height to accommodate ceiling heights and those concerns mentioned above in item #3.

Preview Image for Downloadable pdf - How To Hang Art

Click here for a handy pdf of these instructions on how to hang art.

5. When grouping a number of art works. Take some time to lay them out on the floor as you think they’d look best on the wall. Take measurements and transfer these measurements to the wall. You can use green painters tape to mark locations on the wall.

6. Place hangers in the wall at the desired height taking into consideration the final height you’d like for the art and the tautness of your hanging wire. Two hangers should be used for each art work (the art is more likely to remain level on two hangers.)

7. Once the work is hanging (with wire on both hooks), level the work using the spirit level/bubble level. Even ornate or decorative frames usually have a straight edge somewhere (often the interior of the frame closest to the art work) so place the level on a straight edge and adjust until level.

Blair Brennan is the Galleries and Exhibitions Manager for FAB Gallery  (1-1 Fine Arts Building, University of Alberta, 112 Street and 89 Ave, Edmonton Alberta)In addition to the website you can find FAB Gallery on Facebook.

You should check out his work at 

Blair Brennan was born in Edmonton, Alberta in 1959. He received a B.F.A. from the University of Alberta in 1981. Brennan lives and works in Edmonton. His sculpture, installation work, photographs/photo-based works, drawings, book works and other works on paper have been exhibited nationally in numerous group and solo exhibitions. 

Brennan’s work is represented in numerous private and public collections including the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Art Gallery of Alberta (Edmonton), the Canada Council Art Bank (Ottawa), the Glenbow Museum (Calgary), the University of Alberta (Edmonton) and the Winnipeg art Gallery.

 Blair was also Latitude 53‘s Writer in Residence, May – October of 2012. Read more about his art career in this interview on Latitude 53’s blog.

Blair Brennan
Blair Brennan combines his writing and art practice from his home in Edmonton. His sculpture, installation and drawing have been exhibited nationally in numerous group and solo exhibitions. Blair has contributed articles to a number of printed and digital arts and cultural publications. A 1988 Globe and Mail art review noted the “rude punk brutality” of his art work. With regard to visual art in his home city of Edmonton, Blair has been called an “enfant terrible” and a “dissenter” (to an established school of Edmonton-based abstract sculpture). Edmonton Journal arts reporter Pamela Anthony gets closer to the poetic nature of Blair’s work, comparing him to Joseph Campbell and, more recently, Regina-based artist and critical art writer David Garneau has called him an “Edmonton-based neo-beat poet disguised as a blue-collar industrial artist who brands walls, books, leather and paper with the world’s subtexts.” Blair manages the Fine Arts Building (FAB) Gallery, where he provides students in Art & Design with a professional venue within which to exhibit their work.
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