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How to hang pictures with ease

Hanging pictures can be tough, but I've found a simple tip that takes the guess-work out of hole-punching.

Back in the day, I never really cared too much about punching holes in the wall.  If the picture was off, I'd just adjust the nail until I finally got it right.  I mean...after all, the picture itself usually hid all of the holes anyway, right?

It wasn't until I started painting the walls in my home that I started to actually care about how many nails I tapped into place.  Call me lazy, or call me over-protective, but if I can avoid bringing out the paint can for touch ups, that's the route I'm going to go these days!

So here's the deal...the challenge of hanging frames is that we humans don't have laser vision like Superman, or "wireframe view" like Google SketchUp...which means we can't magically see through an object to view where the clasps hit on the wall.  Ugh, it's frustrating!

But...one thing we can do is use something to help us visualize what's behind that beautiful artwork we're about to hang...and that something is tape!

This is the method I use when hanging artwork, and I'm happy to say that I get 98% of the artwork hung right where it needs to be on the first try.  Of course, I'm leaving the 2% cushion to account for natural occurances of human error.  (What can I say?)

I particularly like this method when a frame has two mounting hooks on the back (like the abstract print I hung in my mom's sewing room makeover, shown above), since it's always a challenge to get both nails in the right place, but this also works with single mounts too.

Here's a diagram of the overall concept:

Essentially, you're using the tape to create a verticle line up to the top of the frame.  You want your strip of tape to overlap the edge of the frame so that it is visible when you flip the frame to the front-side.

The key to making this work, is placing the edge of the tape in the center of the mounting bracket.  In other words, imagine where you would need the nail to be positioned for your artwork to hang centered, then position your tape in a vertical line from that starting point.

After you've marked the position of the brackets using your tape, flip the frame over.  Now, the corner where the edge of the tape meets the frame has become your marking template!

From this point, all you have to do is use a level to ensure the frame is straight, then use the corners of the tape as your guide for marking the holes on your wall. 

Keep in mind, this method will require factoring in some additional inches to where the artwork will actually hang.  Remember...you're marking where the nails go...not where the top of the frame will hang...which means where you position the frame on the wall to mark the holes will be a few inches lower from where the artwork will actually hang.

I recently hung my Falling Water print that I found on Craigslist a few months back, so here is a walk-through of the process.  This particular piece would hang from a single hook, so the first step was to find the center of the frame itself and measure that down to where a nail would rest centered holding the wire...

Once I knew where the nail should go, I ran my tape up...using the left edge of the tape as my guide against the center of the frame & wire hanger...

When I flipped the frame back over to the front, you can see how the tape is poking over the edge. Since the left edge on the back-side was my marker, that meant when I flipped it over to the front-side, my marker now became the right edge of the tape.

I know it sounds confusing, but really I'm referencing the same exact edge of the tape--it's just that you're now looking at it from the opposite side.  It's just like when you're facing someone...their left ear will be on your right side...but if you're behind them, their left ear is on your left side...make sense?

Since I wanted the frame to hang a few inches above the top of the desk, I actually just rested the frame on the top of the desk and positioned it until it was centered.  This was because I knew the wire that the picture would hang from rests a few inches from the top of the frame itself.

Using a pencil, I marked the corner where the frame and the tape came together...

...and there we go!

This only took one attempt to get the hanging hook (I used a Hercules hook here) into the right spot for this piece of artwork.

With this method, I still use a fair amount of eye-balling-it, but overall I've found it to take a great deal of the guess-work out of hanging artwork.  But, what do you think?  Have you tried anything like this before?  What tricks do you use to get your art onto the wall? 

PS...you may have noticed a sneak peak of my new rug in this post.  I'll be posting soon about all of the updates I'm making to my living room, I promise!  But, can I just say that I luurrrrve my new rug?!

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