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How to Position and Hang Art

Once you have decided on which art you would like to add to your collection, hanging your new artwork is the next step. Before you start the hanging process, decide what you want your space to look like: do you want a focal point or multiple artworks grouped together, such as a gallery wall? 

How to Position

Before hanging your artwork, make sure to figure out exactly which space you want to place your art, considering factors such as sunlight, moisture, and temperature can be detrimental to the art. The goal is to prevent moisture and heat from reaching your artwork and frame, both of which could cause damages. 

AA Watson - It's Not Me So it Must Be You, It's Going to Be One of Those Days, I Think We Should Start a Cult

Sunlight: Direct bright sunlight is the natural enemy of art, especially works on paper including watercolours and prints, where the pigments can fade and bleach over time. If you can, try to hang your works in shady areas of the room, away from direct sunlight. If you have chosen to hang your artwork in a position in direct sunlight, consider using UV protected glass. 

Moisture and temperature: Other factors that can be detrimental to artwork are damp, humid spaces or areas of large temperature changes. Examples include, but are not limited to, radiators, boilers, bathrooms, conservatories, and kitchens. Both extremes on the temperature scale, heat and dampness, can warp, discolour, and ruin artworks on paper and canvas.

Bathrooms: Evaporation and condensation are the two major factors that could damage your artwork. If you are deciding to spruce up the walls of your bathroom keep in mind these questions: 

  1. How much do I love this artwork?
  2. Would I be really upset if the artwork slowly degraded over the next few years?
  3. Would I get upset if I found mold on my artwork?

If you decide to keep artwork in the bathroom ensure the room is well ventilated and consult an expert, such as your local framer, for advice on properly sealing your artwork to prevent damage.  

Other considerations: What other art pieces do you have? Do you fancy a gallery wall or prefer to place artworks depending on their size and relation to the purpose of the room? Do you have young children or pets? You may want to ensure your artwork is hung on a wall, instead of resting on the floor or shelf, to safeguard your loved ones from the edges of the frames. 

How to Hang

The equipment:

  • An assistant (optional but preferred)
  • Hammer
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Picture hanging hooks
  • Appropriate nails or pins (Dependent on wall and weight of artwork - may need drill and wall plugs if it is extremely heavy)
  • Command strips (if renting property)
Charlie Haydn Taylor - Our Place Of Worship

The steps for a singular hang: [Please note these may vary depending on your wall type and frame]

  1. Determine your wall type and what materials you will need. 
Decide where you want to hang your artwork. We recommend you aim to place the middle of the artwork at eye level and adjust from there. Make sure to leave space between the artwork and any furniture. Check out our article, 'How to Display Art at Home' for more specific tips! 
  1. Once you’re happy with where you’re going to hang your artwork, ask your assistant to hold up the artwork to the desired location so you can make sure it works with the room. 
  2. Using your level, make sure the artwork is straight then use your pencil to draw a light, small mark at the top of the frame. 
  3. Turn the artwork over, and measure the distance between the top of the frame and the middle of the wire/cord/string/D-ring when it’s taut (you will need to pull it tight as if it’s holding the weight of the artwork). Mark the distance - you should have two pencil marks now. [Ex. if the distance is 10cm between the top of the frame and the middle of the taut wire, then mark 10 cm down from your initial mark on the wall where the top of the frame is] 
  4. Since the second mark is the location where your hook will go. Use the hammer to securely attach the hook. [For heavy artwork you may need to drill a hole, place a wall plug, and then screw a strong hook into the wall] [For artwork on the light-medium weight scale, picture hooks are usually the best option]
  5. Once your hook is securely in the wall, hang your artwork on the hook and admire your handiwork. 

A gallery wall hang is perfect for multiple artworks acting as a group.
The steps for a gallery hang: [Please note these may vary depending on your wall type and frame]
  1. Before you start to hang in a gallery style, place all of your artwork on a flat surface and play around with the placements to create your perfect arrangement. Choose a layout that suits both your space and style. By visualising the arrangement first, you don’t commit before placing holes in your space.
  2. Create paper cut-outs in the size of all your artworks and use these to represent where your artwork will be placed. Use blu tak or tape to secure the cut-outs, then replace one by one, the paper for the actual artwork, starting with your most central lowest artwork and working outwards.
  3. Follow steps 1-6 from above, but ensure you have consistent spacing between each artwork when hung in gallery style.

If you are renting...

Many landlords expressly rule out putting nails or hooks in walls or hanging shelves. An alternative to using nails would be command strips. Follow these steps: [Please note the amount of command strips used will be determined by the weight of your artwork] [Although using command strips are an alternative for people who cannot place holes in their living spaces, it may be less secure than more traditional methods].

  1. Decide where you want to hang your artwork. We recommend you aim to place the middle of the artwork at eye level and adjust from there. Make sure to leave space between the artwork and any furniture. Once you’re happy with where you’re going to hang your artwork, ask your assistant to hold up the artwork to the desired location so you can make sure it works with the room. 
  2. Using your level, make sure the artwork is straight then use your pencil to draw a light, small mark at the top and bottom of the frame. If you are worried about your artwork being completely straight, you can always mark the sides as well.
  3. Turn the artwork over and apply common strips to the frame.
  4. Read the specific command strip directions and follow them. Place the artwork within your marked boundaries and press firmly on the locations of the command strips. 
  5. Once you have securely placed your artwork, admire your handiwork! 
Dan Hillier - Praise Be to the Goddess Remembered

An alternative to using command strips would be using a floating shelf as a way to display your art collection. The benefits of placing art on a floating shelf is that it can be moved around a bit more easily and can be placed next to household items such as plants, clocks, or vases. The versatility allows you to figure out and change your style, as well as not using anything that could damage the wall.  

We hope this guide has helped you with your hanging dilemmas. Don’t fret if you feel as if you haven’t achieved “the perfect hang” -- you can always change your arrangement! Contact us if you have questions or want assistance with building an art collection. 

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