Types of Picture Hangers and How to Use Them

Picture frames and artwork can add a lot of personality to your walls. But, before you can enjoy your new pieces, you need to choose the right type of picture hanger for your needs. There are many different types of picture hangers on the market, so it can be tricky to decide which one is best for your project. In this blog post, we will discuss the most popular picture hanger types and help you decide which one is right for your needs.

As a serial renter, I have used all of these at one time or another. Some are more rental friendly than others! If you are interested in other renter-friendly decorating ideas check out this rental decorating guide.

10 Types of Picture Hangers to Try

Sawtooth Picture Hanger

This is the most common type of picture hanger. Sawtooth picture hangers are small metal strips that have sharp teeth on one side. The teeth hang onto the nail or screw in the wall and hold the frame in place. These sawtooth hangers are easy to use and can be found at any hardware store. However, they are not recommended for heavy frames. I used a saw tooth picture hangar on this DIY abstract painting I made a few years back. The sawtooth hanger was the perfect wall hanger for this frame due to the painting’s lightweight and small size.

How to Use a Sawtooth Type of Picture Hanger

First, mark the location on your wall where you would like to hang the picture.  Making sure to account for the location of the sawtooth on the picture. Hammer in your nail on your marked location on the wall surface and then simply place the saw tooth wall hanger onto the nail and push the picture flush. To adjust the level of the picture, simply slide the picture left or right – you’ll feel it catching on the sawtooth hanger. There you have it, a nice and level picture.

Different sizes of saw tooth wall hangers hold differing amounts of weight from 5 pounds to 25 pounds but as always check the packaging before starting any picture hanging project to ensure you have the right materials for the job.

Wall Anchors

Drywall plugs, also known as drywall anchors, are hollow and self-expanding screw attachments that create a stronger connection between the wall and screw. Typically made of plastic or another synthetic material, they’re ideal for heavier frames. However, different sizes exist so make sure to select one based on your frame’s weight. When I need drywall anchors I only buy EZ-ANCOR. I have used many different brands and even the free ones that often come with picture frames and EZ-ANCOR are by far the best wall hangers for frames out there.

How to Use Wall Anchors

EZ-ANCOR’s wall anchors are heavy duty and super easy to install. Simply use a small drill bit to drill a small hole into your wall in the desired location. Take your plastic EZ-ANCOR and drill it into the wall until the plastic head is flush with the wall. Finally, take the supplied screws and drill (or use a screwdriver) them into the plastic EZ-ANCOR. There are many different sizes of EZ-ANCOR wall anchors so make sure you select the most appropriate size to suit your needs.

Picture Hanging Wire

This is a common way to artwork and is a great option for hanging hardware for a variety of framed pieces. All you need is picture hanging wire and two small nails or screws. The wire should be long enough so that when it’s wrapped around the nails, there is some slack. This will allow you to adjust the frame’s position on the wall. This type of picture hanger is great for gallery-style wall displays. I used this type of picture hanger when hanging my DIY Oversized Canvas.

D-Ring Hanger

Another common picture hanging type is the D-ring. D-ring’s can be used in multiple ways the first being using the D-ring hanger as a standalone wall picture mount. Like I did for this DIY floating nightstand. To be honest, applying D-rings as a type of picture hanger can be tricky to get perfectly level. To use a D-ring hanger this way simply attach the D-ring on the back of the picture frame or whatever item you wish to hang. The other way I have used D-rings to hang pictures is by attaching two D rings to the back of the picture and using the D-rings to attach a wire through. The wire will then be used to catch the screw or nail. Using D-rings this way is ideal for long pictures as it can be really difficult to line up the nails or screws to the D-rings. This is also an easy way to ensure a nice and level wall picture.

I have seen D-ring’s that advertise to hold as much as 25 pounds but always be sure to check the packaging before installation to prevent damage to your picture.

French Cleat Picture Hanger

I think a french cleat is really clever in the list of types of picture hangers. A french cleat hanger is a two-part system consisting of a horizontal strip with an edge cut to 45 degrees that are screwed into the wall, and a second strip also cut to 45 degrees that get attached to the back of the frame. The two strips fit together like puzzle pieces, locking the picture in place. This type of picture hanger is great for hanging large mirrors, shelves, wood picture frames, odd-shaped pictures, and even cabinets.

How to Use French Cleat to Hang Pictures:

  1. Using a tape measure mark and measure the center of the back of the item you wish to hang with french cleats.
  2. Then choose a location on a wall to install the wall side of the french cleat.  If your item is heavy you may want to consider finding a stud to firmly attach your french cleat to.
  3. Attach the french cleat to the wall with screws ensuring the 45-degree angle is pointed point up. 
  4. Check that the wall-mounted french cleat is level.
  5. Attach the other french cleat to the item ensuring that the 45-degree angle is pointed down.
  6. Check that the item mounted on the french cleat is level.
  7. Place the item on the wall mounted french cleat

Note: I would also recommend using wall anchors for all screws not placed directly into studs for added security and strength.

Nails and Screws

Nails and Screws are of course another picture hanging type. I personally only use nails when the item is super light. I used a nail to attach this hanging wall basket from my bedroom refresh a few years back. A nail in drywall is only able to hold a few pounds at most and probably should not exceed 10 pounds of weight. Screws have more holding strength so if you do not want to use wall anchors (which I would recommend) screws are a better choice.  If you are dead set on using a nail or screw as your picture hanging type consider driving the nail into a stud for better strength or use a wall anchor.

Command Strips Types of Picture Hangers

Command strips are a game changer for renters and homeowners alike. I love all the ways they are handy around the house from hanging miscellaneous wall decor, wall art, wood frames, and metal frames. I especially love these around holiday decorating time.  Command strips prevent me from having to patch drywall holes constantly as I am always changing the look of my home. Command strips are also great wall picture mounts for concrete walls, painted brick walls, and painted cinder block walls.

How much weight can command strips hold?  

Each 3M command strip product packaging states its specific weight limit but generally, the large 3M command strips can handle a 24-inch to 36-inch object that weighs 16 pounds or less. The smaller hanging 3M command strips can only handle 4 pounds or less.  I would not recommend exceeding the stated command strip weight limit as doing so can severely damage your walls and be costly upon move-out time.

How to remove command strips without damaging paint?

The most common mistake when using Command strips is drawing the tab out and away from the wall. Don’t pull the tab out and away from the wall when it’s time to remove them. You could damage the wall if you do so. It goes against logic, but instead, you should pull down directly towards the ground. If for whatever reason this doesn’t work, or the tab is broken off, briefly apply a bit of heat to the area (a hair dryer or heat gun would suffice) to loosen the adhesive material, then you can shimmy some dental floss down between the command strip and the wall. If after all that there is still command strip residue use a sponge and mild soap solution to remove the excess adhesive.

Command Strips Outdoors

Like I said earlier I love using command strips my absolute favorite place to use command strips is outdoors. I love decorating for all the holidays but as someone who is constantly renting homes putting holes into the siding or trim isn’t always an option. I have used command strips outdoors many times and in many different seasons from the hot summer months to the cold winter months without any issues. Granted I never exceed the weight limits recommended by the manufacturer. So, absolutely command strips can be used outdoors.

Command Velcro Strips

Another type of hanger for pictures or any other object is velcro command strips that use a hook and loop system to adhere an object to the wall. These velcro command strips are easy to use just like regular command strips. They come labeled so you know exactly which side to attach to the picture frame and which side attaches to the wall.  I have used command velcro strips to attach bulletin boards to walls as well as light picture frames. As with command strips, there is a specific manufacturer-listed weight limit so be sure to check the packaging to be sure you do not exceed the weight limit of the command velcro strips.

Picture Hanging Hooks

Picture hanging hooks for drywall are one of the most popular ways to hang a picture. Use a hammer to tap the nail and hook into the wall where you’d like to hang your image. These picture hooks are very inexpensive and often come with new picture frames or other items that get hung on a wall They’re also easy to install with just a hammer. If you’re hanging something on the heavier side, consider looking for a stud in your wall to secure the nail into. Picture hanging hooks for drywall come in a variety of sizes and weight limits so be sure to use the proper picture hanging hook for your item.

Picture Hanging Kit

Picture hanging kit with level and various picture hangers.
Via Amazon

A picture hanging kit is a collection of tools and materials that you can use to hang a picture or other home decor item on a wall or other surface. A picture hanging kit typically includes a selection of nails or screws, picture wire, and various other items such as wall anchors or hangers. Some picture hanging kits like the one pictured may also include a level to help you ensure that your picture is nice straight on the wall. Picture hanging kits are handy to have around the house as its one of those things where you don’t think about it until you don’t have it. The picture hanging kit shown here is from amazon and would be a great addition to any junk drawer as it has everything you could possibly need to hang picture or other decor items around the home.

Wrapping Up Types of Picture Hangers

In conclusion, there are many types of picture hangers available. The best way to decide which picture hanging type you need is to understand all of the details of the different hanging hardware options. I hope this guide has helped you in your decision-making process! Thanks for reading!

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