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Simple steps to get the hang of hanging artwork

Hanging a painting is an art in itself, though you can hardly plead creative license when it's too high, crooked and resting amid a bed of misplaced nail holes. For the sake of your sanity — and your poor walls — home improvement expert Danny Lipford, host of the syndicated TV show Today's Homeowner With Danny Lipford (danny, offered tips for hanging a painting right the first time. Chicago Tribune

What you need

• Painting (framed, with hanging wire affixed to the back)

• Hammer

• Picture hooks and nails or threaded anchors with screws

• Measuring tape

• Painter's tape

• Level

• Pencil

Tips on placement

• The rule of thumb is to hang art at eye level, with the center about 60 inches above the floor.

• When hanging art above furniture, leave at least 3 to 6 inches of wall space above a sofa and 4 to 8 inches above a table. The art should be centered over the furniture if the furniture isn't centered on the wall.

• Hang small pieces in clusters to avoid them appearing to be floating on a vast wall. The items, as a group, then becomes the artwork.

• Hang multiple, different-size pieces so that the centers are aligned; the tops and bottoms of the frames don't have to line up.

• Leave 4 to 6 inches between paintings.

How to hang

1. Measure about 60 inches up from the floor; mark the wall with a pencil. (Don't worry about finding a wall stud unless the piece weighs more than 40 pounds.)

2. Center the painting over the mark. Affix a strip of painter's tape to the wall along where the top edge of the frame will be. Use a level to ensure the tape is straight. Mark each end of the frame on the tape; set painting aside.

3. Measure the width of the painting, divide by two and mark the middle point on the tape. That mark will help you find the best place to hammer a nail if you use one hanger. (If you plan to use two hangers, which is a good idea for wider frames that need extra stability, mark the points equidistant from the middle point to the edges of the frame.)

4. Turn the painting over; measure the distance from the top of the wire — pulled taut as if it's hanging — to the top of the frame. If you want to hang from two hooks, pull up from the wire at two equidistant points simultaneously and measure to the top of the frame.

5. Measure that distance down from the bottom edge of the painter's tape, and mark the wall. Again, use a level to make sure your wall mark (or marks) will be plumb with the marks on the strip of tape.

6. Place the bottom of the hook at the wall mark; hammer it in. For a light painting, a 6-penny (2-inch) nail hammered in at an angle will do. For more support, use a screw with a threaded anchor.

7. To keep the painting from shifting, put a small dot of picture putty on the bottom corners of the back of the frame. The friction of the putty against the wall helps keep the painting straight. Look good? Remove the painter's tape.

Simple steps to get the hang of hanging artwork 04/13/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 4:30am]
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