Choosing Hardware to Hang Artwork

A woman hangs artwork using proper hardware

Many hardware options and methods exist for hanging artworks. Some are more suitable for specific types of artwork, some are universally useful. The following hardware and hanging examples are meant as a guideline for those wanting to hang their own artwork. But, please keep in mind: every individual project is different. If you’re not confident in choosing hardware to hang artwork, it’s best to contact a professional art installer.

Hanging artwork with D Rings

Affixing D-rings to your artwork and hanging without wire is a secure and sturdy method for mounting artwork to the wall. It is one of the most common way to hang small and medium-sized artwork. Also, it works well for larger paintings if they are not too heavy. This method will work if you have either a frame or a canvas or panel stretcher which will facilitate a d-ring. The benefit to using this method rather than hanging on a wire is the work will rest more flush with the wall, and will not shift or become un-level. Artwork can be hung using d-rings by following these steps:

  1. Measure the height of your work. Make a mark 1/3 from the top of the work.
  2. Use an awl to start a hole where you want to place the screw.
  3. Screw the d-rings into place on both sides of the work, facing the peak of the “d” upwards.
  4. Measure the distance between the centre of each “d” (measurement x).
  5. Using a level, mark two dots on your wall the same distance apart as measurement x.
  6. Depending on the weight of your artwork, either nail in a hook (for lighter artwork) or drill in a screw where you have marked the wall.
  7. Hang the d-rings onto the hooks or screws, and use a level to check straightness.

Additional notes on this method:

Proper hanging hooks purchased from a framer or art supply store will be rated with what weight it will hold: 10lb, 20lb, etc. Alternatively, you can hang the D-rings on a screw. If you are screwing into drywall, make sure to purchase drywall screws. If the work is especially heavy, use drywall studs.

For more information about how to hang artwork at a specific height, please read the post How to Hang Artwork.

Hanging Artwork with Cleats

French Cleats are used to hang heavy artwork and / or artwork which does not facilitate d-rings. They are used on large works because of size and weight are generally added to frames by a professional framer. However, cleats are also useful and easily added to smaller works which do not have an edge and therefore cannot facilitate d-rings.

Cleats can be made of wood, and are made by bevelling wood on a 45 degree angle and cutting to size. Many hardware stores will cut custom sizes for you. For example, in Vancouver, Windsor Plywood is a good place to go for this. For a thinner profile, cleats can also be made of metal, and are easy to purchase in different sizes.

To hang an artwork on a cleat, the wall-cleat simply needs to be affixed to the wall with screws. Subsequently the artwork with matching cleat can then be lifted above the cleat, and slid downwards so that both sides of the cleat match.

Hanging Artwork with Clips and Pins

Clips and pins are often used to hang unframed photographs or works on paper. Fold-back or binder clips are well-suited to this method, and the fewest necessary to secure the artwork is better to avoid possible damage to the paper. T-pins can be easily inserted in the wall to hang the tops of the fold-back clips from.

More about choosing hardware to hang artwork

Many variations of these hanging methods exist and different materials are available. The best resources for framing materials and hardware in Vancouver are:

Opus Framing and Art Supplies

If you have a large and / or expensive artwork that you are not sure how to hang, it is always a good idea to call a professional art installer. You can always call for quotes first, but typically installers charge at least $100 per hour, plus more if more than one person or special equipment is needed.

Denbigh Fine Art Services
Brandon Thiessen Art Services
Kent Art Installation Services


3 responses to “Choosing Hardware to Hang Artwork”

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  2. Thanks for the article. I am glad you mentioned french cleat method. By the way, here in the US, Hangman Products sells good ones and they’re also available in Home Depot.

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