Basically a long pin, small nail or tack that has the end
snipped off with a pair of good strong wire cutters. This
simple little idea works best in cases where the artwork/item
is too small for the conventional combination of fittings,
or if the item must sit as flat to the wall as possible. Ideal
for those little regional photos on MDF. Also very useful
for small ‘Artmount’ blocks.
Application: Simply nail the pin into the substrate (wall
or item), whichever is of the greater density, then press
slowly but firmly into position all the while being extra
careful not to over-force. Over-forcing will buckle the pins
and fracture the weaker substrate, you’ll be left with
a crooked image - flat against the wall - but crooked (a word
of caution is necessary to a client with little children,
very sharp pins are exposed either from the wall or the rear
of the artwork/item should the said item be dislodged or removed
from the wall).
pins (picture hooks & screweyes)
Very possibly the single most under-rated picture hanging
The conventional picture hook and matching sized screw eye
is the solution for eight out of ten items. The key to this
humble partnership is, no string. Not wanting to labour the
point, but hooks and eyes used without string will ensure
the safest installation of artwork/items.
Application: Screw-eyes should be affixed as high as possible
to the back at each side of item (50-60mm down from top is
a suitable distance). Once again, be careful not to pierce
through the front of the frame etc. Once screw-eyes are firmly
in place, then locating the exact position of hooks on the
wall is simple; hold artwork/item into position against the
wall, now press the item against the wall. Doing this will
cause screw-eyes to leave minor impressions in the wall. This
is the precise point at which to nail in the 2 matching picture
hooks. One at each corresponding point. Map pins pushed in
just beneath the indent marks (left by the eye-screws) act
as good markers if there is a need to turn away for a moment
and in so doing lose sight of where they were. Map pins also
ensure the hooks do not ‘shift’ downward when
nailing them in. By placing a small spirit level on top of
the item when positioning it against the wall helps for a
near perfect horizontal finish.
brass plate hooks & strap hangers
This partnering of fittings are the big brother of the ‘twin-pins
& screw-eye’ pairing, in that they are for large/heavy
artworks etc. Plate hooks & strap hangers are somewhat
larger in size and weight with two screw holes per fitting.
Again, best results are achieved when used without string,
cord, wire etc. Strap hangers are fitted as far apart from
each other as possible (on the reverse and at the sides of
the frame), and approximately 120mm thru to 500mm down from
top edge of frame. Of course, distances down from top edge
of frame really are determined by how large the item is. Plate
hooks (for the wall) have holes for screws. It’s not
recommended that nails are used. In many cases this will also
mean using wall plugs, due to the ever increasing use by builders
and developers of gibboard.
Wall Plugs; Be sure to choose your wall plug carefully as
not all wall plugs are created equal! The 6mm Gorilla expanding
plug with flange (as well as the 6mm Toggler alligator plug
with flange) is an ideal size for this particular plate hook
because the holes in the plate hook are only about 30mm apart,
therefore if larger plugs are used, having two large holes
at such close proximity will run the risk of the plugs (as
they expand) fracturing the gap between the two holes. Plugs
with a flange are best whenever installing into ‘hollow’
walls. The flange prevents the plug from being pushed through
due to the inward pressure as the screw enters it.
These are often provided on the back of ready-made photo frames
purchased at the local mall or homeware store. Sawtooth hangers
do have their place, but it’s just not my place. The
biggest disadvantage with these fittings is that they are
only good when used with a flat-head nail. That's all well
and good for small frames etc, but inevitably they are fitted
to larger frames also. Therefore the purchaser might be forgiven
for believing thisis proof that a nail in the wall - even
into a hollow gib wall - is sufficient to hang their large
frame upon. But this is not the case. Sooner or later (sooner
in more cases than later), the large frame will come crashing
down. It may be from a gentle knock, or due to the overloading
of weight upon the said nail it has simply eroded the gibboard
away and therefore pulled down and out from the wall. Having
said this, many who have purchased a larger frame with sawtooth
hangers attached do in fact exhibit good common sense and
choose to use a picture hook instead of a nail. But, again,
the provided sawtooth hanger is generally fitted to the top
plate of the back of the frame so as to give no room to conceal
the picture hook. End result being that once hung on the wall
the viewer cannot avoid noticing the hooks ‘peeking’
out over the top from behind the picture. This is not a good
‘monkey hook’ drywall picture-hanger
Relatively unheard of in NZ, and definitely underrated as
to reliability and ease of use.This little gem is well designed,
simple to use and super strong. Ideal for those one-off objects
that need just one fitting to be hung, but could also be used
as a twin-pin type set-up (depending on the competence of
ropehooks & coach-screweyes
This partnership of hook and screw-eye is biggest-brother
to every other smaller weight pairing of like-kind. Obvious
benefits are the heavier gauge fittings. This equates to heavier
gauge screws or coach-bolts, and therefore a greater resistance-to-load
ratio per screw. There are disadvantages due to the larger
size of said fittings - the object will inevitably sit away
from the wall due to the excessive bulk of fittings (unless
the object has a recess at its rear whereby the fittings can
A term that perhaps is in need of clarification.
Security fittings are, by nature, only as strong as the material
that they have been fastened to. But if in the case of many
buildings, the wall is hollow, then the system for all its
merits is only as secure as the strength of the wall and its
wall plug. Which in most cases is not very resilient. With
this in mind...‘Deterrent Systems’ might be a
more appropriate term. If someone really wants that picture
then ripping it from its anchors takes only several seconds,
a couple of good yanks and voila, they’re off with it.
If there truly was a security hanger that could actually do
the job of preventing villains from succeeding in art theft,
then we wouldn't see security guards at art museums now would
'T-Screw' with Slotplate
The most commonly used security system currently on the market
basically consists of two slot fittings at the top of the
artwork and one or two ‘T’ screws at the bottom.
This system suits most occasions where the nuisance factor
is high, and the art’s value is not.
onto 8grm Panhead Screw
A variation on the Key-hole principle whereby the head of
the corresponding screw enters into a hole in the plate then
slips sideways through the ‘gate’ to rest. Time-consuming
to figure out for removal if one is not familiar with its
design, so therefore ideal for the above context as well.
Very strong, very secure and straightforward to install. One
word of warning though, one must be very precise with one’s
Building products are often a good first port-of-call when
faced with curly projects. Several strips of steel strapping
should always be kept in stock as it can be twisted and manipulated.
This is particularly useful when hanging an item that is excessively
bulky out its backside. This ‘bulky-backside’
will inhibit the reach of conventional large ‘hook and
Steel Cable & Crimps
Suspending items from the ceiling or from the top of the wall
is always difficult. Finding a rafter, beam or baton is the
critical factor to ensure safe and secure anchor-points. Assuming
that these are located with said anchors fastened, then your
given choice of monofilament or steel cable can be attached.
Using crimps are somewhat final, and not ideal for any adjustments
Most, if not all suspension systems that are currently on
the market work by the same principle. That being a top plate,
or ‘rail’ of extruded aluminium with a track located
on the bottom edge so that a cable can slot into the said
track. The top end of the cable (either monofilament, nylon
strap or stainless steel) is fitted with a ‘bulkhead’
which then slides, slots or clips into the said ‘track’
so as to be able to travel left or right unimpeded for the
purpose of positioning. The cable is slotted into and thus
suspended from the track, then fitted with ‘hook’
fittings which are able to slide up and down freely until
locked into place. These hooks are the point to which the
item is hung.
Fairfeld wall support WMO5
Holds item away from the wall and enhances the appearance
when used with perspex panels. The standard fitting holds
your panel 20mm off the wall.
Dimensions: 16mm diameter, 20mm length.
Panel hole size 6mm and the fitting takes no. 8 screw.
Material: Brass with Satin Chrome anodising
This product was born out of the need to hang a large malabu
surfboard diagonally, into a concrete block wall. Well thought
through, simple, strong, alloy, goodlooking and discrete.
Although as the instructions stipulate, not designed for fixing
into hollow walls.Only available through Picture Hanging Specialists.
back to top
Section 2: Top 10
picture hanging problems
1. My picture has fallen down.
2. My pictures are always crooked.
3. My pictures tilt forward.
4. The string and hook protrude above my
5. How do I hang a big expensive mirror?
6. I don't know where studs are to hang a
7. I'm struggling to hang several pictures
straight and in a row.
8. I need to hang several pictures in a group.
9. My picture does not stay on the ceiling.
10. How do I hang my surfboard so that
I can still use it?
11. I'm struggling to hang an awkward
My picture has fallen down
If this unfortunate event has happened to your picture without
any external factors (being knocked by someone or something),
then it’s highly probable that one of two issues are
to blame: 1) old string or wire etc on back of the picture
has broken. 2) excessive weight of picture for fittings used
and have therefore pulled from wall. 3) A deficient or incorrect
method of hanging has been employed. For example, the fittings
are the correct size or type for the picture but the use of
string, cord, cable wire or chain has been used in such a
manor that it overloads the said fittings.
Solution. For all three scenarios there is one simple solution
- get rid of all string, cord, cable wire or chain. Use hooks
directly to hangers attached to backside of picture. This
does mean using two hooks, and it also means being accurate
with your measurements. (refer to section _ Using
2. My pictures
are often crooked
The cause of crooked pictures is, for the majority of cases,
string, cord, cable wire or chain. Or in rare cases, poor
Solution. As with the first top ten problem, the solution
is to get rid of all string, cord, cable wire or chain. Use
hooks directly to hangers attached to backside of picture.
This does mean using two hooks, and it also means being accurate
with your measurements (refer to section _ Using
3. My picture
Yet again, just another symptom of that same problem, the
use of string rope, cord, wire, cable or chain. And at the
risk of stating to sound repetitive...
Solution. As with the previous two scenarios, the solution
is to get rid of all string, cord, cable wire or chain. Use
hooks directly to hangers attached to backside of picture.(refer
to section _ Using TwinPins).
Now to be fair, the TwinPin system
will also tilt forward, but only a little, and only because
the fittings are not paper thin. There is the exception to
this rule and that is if the Item is light enough to be carried
by a Blind Double Ended Pin. Then it is possible to have the
artwork sit completely flat to the wall. (refer Double
Ended Pins) The other solution is when the item has been
framed in such a way as to have a large enough cavity due
to the recess in the frame, then all the fittings can hide
snuggly into that space.
and hook protrude above picture
Yet another symptom of the string, cord, cable ... scenario.
But what makes the string and hook be seen is that is has
stretched over time, or that it was simply too long to begin
with. Very common occurrence when the picture is of an extreme
landscape format (horrizontally long and vertically short).
Solution. As usual, the solution is to get rid of all string,
cord, cable wire or chain. Use hooks directly to hangers attached
to backside of picture.(refer to section _ Using
TwinPins). If there is room in the back recess of the
picture then attach fittings inside this space.
5. Hanging a huge, expensive mirror
What ever you do, DO NOT use string, cord, wire, cable
Ensure that fittings used are the correct size for the mirror,
and that the method that is implemented is also correct. Disasters
occur when hanging Heavy mirrors not from incorrect fittings,
but due to poor execution when applying those fittings. And
get another person to lift it into place.
Solution. Find the studs where possible. Picture hooks directly
In the case of hollow walls use Steadfastener, Builders Cleat
(refer to sections _ Using heavy duty hook & hanger or
6. I can’t find studs to hang a heavy
In the ever-increasing world of ammended building codes
and more modern materials, the ‘hollow-wall’ syndrome
is an all too common cause of hanging headaches. Studs, shouldn’t
be more than 600mm apart, but this doesn’t mean that
its a ‘sure-thing’.
U sing a stud finder can be helpful. But be aware that stud-finders
can also ‘find’ waterpipes, electrical wiring,
and the occasional dead rat. Agood tip when using a studfinder
to help locate studs is that each time the studfinder ‘beeps’
over a stud (supposing that it is actually a stud) push a
pin in (a redhead map pin) at that ‘beep-point’.
Move on down the wall and try locating the same stud’s
line. Each time it beeps place another pin into the wall.
Once you have done this the entire height of the wall (from
floor to ceiling) you should notice that the pins have more-or-less
followed the line of the stud.
7. I’m struggling to hang several
items straight in a row
There is only one way to do this well, and that would
be the slow and correct way. The key to a great looking set
of frames/items in a row is to use millimeters and not centimeters.
Assuming that all string, rope, wire, chain etc has been removed
from the pictures, we will use the twinpin
hanging system for this example.
Solution; Our goal here is to create a set of plot points
along a straight line.
Due to the fact that we are using the twinpin
method, each picture - lets say we’re hanging three
same-sized pictures - will be represented by two pins.
So the final plot points will look like this;__
* __* *__
* *__ *
When marking these plot points, use pins, not a pencil and
definately not a ballpoint pen. These points will represent
the eyescews on the back of each picture, not the edges of
The straight Line is determined by the height at which the
pictures will hang. This can be acheived simply by holding
the picture up and against the wall at the desired height
then slowly, gently pressing one of the picture’s two
eyescrews against the wall. This should leave a small dent
or mark. Put a pin in at this point. This is the height for
the straight line. Measure from the floor to that pin point.
this is the height value that each plot point should be (provided
the floor is plumb). Or alternatively, leave that pin in and
once all six pins are in the wall at roughly the same hight,
by then using a long(ish) spirit level at the correct height
you can then ammend the six other plot pins to match.
To acheive the correct spacing of plot points, place all three
pictures on the floor face down with the top of the frames
hard against the skirting. Measure the gap between each frame
edge and move until the desired space is acheived. Now measure
the gaps between each eyescrew and then simply transfer the
measurements to our straight line on the wall, again using
the map pins to plot. These pins are where you will rest each
picture hook before hammerring into place. Be sure that the
pins are in the wall well enough to prevent the picture hook
from pushing it down and out by the force of nailing it in.
Remove pins once picture hooks are nailed in. place all three
pictures onto corresponding hooks. Stand well back and check
for subtle irregularities that may have occurred due to sloppy
measurements or excessive hammering. Minor corrections can
be made by simply pressing the relevent eyescrew either up
8. I want
to hang several pictures in a group and don’t know where
Solution; Start by employing the TwinPin hanging system with
the appropriate sized hooks and screweyes (refer section _
twinpins). To get a good end result
so that each picture will stay exactly where you want it and
so you can dust them from time to time without the need to
straighten them all again and again, string etc will not work.
Nor will a single ‘saw tooth
hanger’. Once the screweyes are affixed to the back
of each picture, then lay out your group of pictures on the
floor with the smallest gap possible between each item. This
may take several attempts before settling on one. And thats
a good thing. Better that it happens now, on the floor, than
later after you’ve hung them. With each new layout you
like the look of, take a photo of it with your phone camera
before re-arranging them again. This gives you several options
to revert back to if necessary. Ok, now that you’ve
arrived at the best layout, get that trusty tape measure out
and while the frames are still laid out on the floor measure
the width and height. Transfer the measurements using pins
onto the selected wall. The pins represent the outside dimensions
of your group of frames. This is important as it indicates
the amount of wall that your group of frames will occupy once
up on the wall. This is the time to carefully consider just
how high, or to the right or left-of-center that your layout
will appear when hung. Get it right. Too low, too high or
too far left will mean taking everything down and rehanging
Begin hanging by selecting the furthest most left frame, based
on its height in relation to the top edge of the top frame
(highest pin in the wall), measure 1 then transfer that plotpoint
2 using another pin, down from the one in the wall. This pin
is the top of your most left frame. Hold the said frame in
postion against the wall and using a small spirit level sitting
on top of the frame, resting the top edge no higher than its
top pin and the frames’ left edge no further left than
the group’s left pin - with this position 3 correct
and the level saying ‘level’, gently press 4 the
frame against the wall so its eyescrews do their thing. Mark
off the indentations left by the eyescrews with another two
pins 5 (or you can use the ones already in the wall indicating
the frames’ top and left edges) then install picture
hooks atop of pins.
Fit frame onto hooks - Voila - all the hard work has been
done. Now all that is needed is to hang each adjacent frame
in relation to the previous one by repeating the 5 steps;
‘measure - plot - position - press - pin’ and
once you’ve nailed in the hooks, install the frame.
Each time a frame has been installed, sit the spirit level
back ontop of frame and check to see if the frame is ‘plumb’.
Minor corrections are possible by bending the respective eyescrew
affixed to the reverse of the picture. Try not to mess with
the hooks in the wall. The wrong thing to do would be to try
correcting the level of the frame by pressing down on one
side of it with excessive weight, this will result in putting
the hook nails under excessive stress and will fracture the
gib. Once the gib plaster is fractured there is little that
can be done to repair the hooks’ hole, short of moving
the location of the picture and filling the damaged area.
Adding to the group is easy provided the basic steps are followed.
This will ensure many years of enjoying a well presented grouping
of your favourate framed images, without the irritation of
wonky frames with anoying bluetak behind each corner, and
no more headaches when they need a quick dust or wipe.
9. My picture
wont stay on ceiling
Pictures on the ceiling - really? Well, whatever turns
you on I guess. But seriously, whether a ceiling or sloped
ceiling, conventional picture hooks will not work. Something
of the key-hole type is necessary. Two plates will need to
be located - one on each side - about a quarter of the way
down from the top, and one more (centered) at the bottom.
Of course the size of the item being installed will determine
whether three fixing points will be sufficient, but if in
doubt, then using two fixings rather than one at the bottom
is recommended. Panhead screws are to be fastened into the
ceiling (or sloped ceiling) in the correlating positions.
Missing studs/purloins? Then wall plugs maybe required. Do
not use cheap wall plugs.
I need to hang my surfboard so I can still use it.
There are many ‘surfboard - racks’ available.
A quick google search should result in several options. But
as usual with this sort of product, most of them are from
retailers in the U.S. or Australia. So unless you currently
reside there or are planning a trip soon, then often the added
freight pushes the final cost up to be excessive. There is
good news though for those in NZ looking for surfboard racks,
as there is a locally grown product called the ‘Claw-hanger’(refer
This product is simple to install (clear instructions provided)
and is discrete in its appearance. The only thing to be aware
of when installing is that if the two bottom claws are not
fastened into studs or concrete, then the manufacturer strongly
discourages installing them until said studs or concrete can
be located and fastened into. This is because the weight ofa
surfboard will pull the anchors out from hollow walls. Having
said this the Claw-hanger is a very functional, robust and
I’m struggling to hang an awkward 3D artwork.
Yes, eventually this scenario was going to rear its ugly head.
This is truly the beast of all hanging jobs. All that is needed
to make for a worst-case-scenario is for this ‘awkward
3D thing’ to be the size of a swiss-ball, made of lead
and going over a curving stairwell.
The first step when hanging anything is assessing whether
or not ones’ desire to hang the item outweighs the time,
cost and energy of completing the task. Assuming that this
first step has been covered off, then the following assessments
are all technical by nature and therefore rather boring, but
never the less important.
1. The first next step is to confirm a sure fastening to the
object itself. This fastening - be it a hook, loop, hole or
bracket will need to be as close to the wall as physically
possible and preferably somewhere in the top half of the object
(ideally this fastening is somewhere on the backside of the
object so as to be obstructed from view once said object is
installed on the wall). Take a measurement of this point relative
to the very top of the object. Lets call this fastening point
2. The second step is to locate the corresponding point onto
the wall, for the said loop, hook, hole or bracket. Lets call
this ‘measurement B’. This is simple to do once
the math has been recorded. For example, the height of the
wall minus the height of the awkward object leaves a value
that, when halved, is the amount of wall visible above as
well as below the object (if the awkward object is to be centered
- vertically - in the wall). Locating the plot point to affix
hanger(s) for 3D object is achieved by adding the measurement
‘A’ to ‘B’ and then applying that
to the wall by measuring down from the ceiling.
3. The choice of fittings is also very important. Ideally
the fixing points will hit studs, due to basic principles
of physics the outward and downward pull of weight load will
be enormous. (refer section_ Finding Studs) the final location
of object - depending on its weight - may well be determined
by the location of studs.