How-to: Hang a picture (on a nail)

"Hammer your nail into the wall. Hang the frame. Done."

How nice would that be? 

Take the leap

Let's start with a disclaimer: the guidelines given in this articles - and in these series in general - are simplified in a effort to encourage our readers to take action. I believe that giving too many details too soon could hamper a newcomer's progress. The advices given here work most of the times for most walls and most pictures. There are of course many details to take into consideration before choosing the appropriate method if you aim for higher standards - You can also hire a pro - but that is enough information to get you going.


The first step is to assess if your frame is light enough to hang on a nail. It should be less than 10 kg (22 lbs). If it is, a standard nail will work fine. Anything heavier will require a stronger hold, which we will cover in a future article.

Gather the tools and hardware

The second step is to gather your tools and hardware. Go through your essential toolbox. You will need:

  • Tape measure

  • Level

  • Hammer

  • Masking Tape

  • Pen

  • Nail

Find the right place and mark

Hang a picture le handyman

Place the frame on the wall on the chosen spot. The general rule is to have the center of the frame at eye's level (typically 1m60) but the specifics of your frame and room might require otherwise. 

Once it is in place, simply mark a small line on the wall along the top of the frame and on each corner. It is not necessary to use the level yet, as we will be using only one nail we can adjust it later. Just place it straight enough (Image 1).

Pro tip: Do not mark directly on the wall. Put masking tape on the wall where you ought to draw your line and mark on the tape instead. You can simply remove the tape and leave no trace on the wall. It is both quicker and cleaner than erasing.

Measure the distance between each corner to mark the center. (Image 2)

Now flip the frame to show the back and measure the distance between the top of the frame and where the nail will be, depending on the hanging option of the picture. (Image 3)

Go back to your wall. With the level draw a straight vertical line crossing the previously marked center. Report the distance and mark the spot. That is where you will put the nail. (Image 4)

Hammer the nail

Hammer 45 degree le handyman

Hold the nail on the mark and give it a 45-degree angle. The angle provides a more secure hold.

Give a few gentle strokes to start driving the nail in the wall. Then finish with stronger strokes but be careful not to push it too far.

Pro tip: If you are afraid of hitting your fingers, hold the nail with a combination plier on the firsts strokes. A clothespin will do the trick too.


Hang your frame

Check adjust level le handyman

Now you can hang your frame by hooking the attach onto the nail. Place the level on top of the frame and make it straight.

Pro tip: To ensure picture stays balanced, stick small rubber bumper on each bottom rear corner of the frame before hanging the picture. The rubber will provide enough traction to keep the frame straight.


Well done.

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