How to Hang a Painting With Frame Hanging Wire

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Wire and D-rings are the best hardware for hanging a picture because they're not only strong, they're easy to install and adjust. There are three types of picture wire. Choosing the right kind depends on how big your picture is.

  • Braided: As the name implies, this is made from strands of galvanized steel that have been braided together. Braided wire is easy to cut and tie. It is sold in a variety of thicknesses. The thicker the wire, the heavier the picture it can support—up to a maximum of 36 pounds.
  • Stainless steel: Made from strands of steel that have been twisted together under tension, this picture wire is stronger than braided wire but less flexible. It's best for hanging very large, heavy frames up to 100 pounds.
  • Vinyl-coated: This is stainless steel picture wire with a soft outer layer of vinyl applied. It's gentler on hands and delicate hanging surfaces, but almost as strong as stainless. It can hang pictures up to 60 pounds.

D-rings look a little like a belt buckle attached to a strip of metal with screw holes. They're designed to be mounted flush against the back of the picture frame. The rings themselves face inward to connect the length of picture wire. Like picture wire, D-rings are available in a variety of sizes; the heavier your artwork, the larger the rings. 

  • 01 of 06

    Gather Your Supplies

    woman hangs picture frame on wall

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    Once you've chosen the appropriate picture wire and D-rings, you'll need a few simple tools to hang your artwork:

    • Mini long-nose pliers
    • Wire cutters
    • Screwdriver (regular or Phillips, depending on screw type)
    • Ruler or tape measure
    • Pencil
    • Picture hooks for hanging
    • Hammer

    You may also want to wear safety goggles as an added layer of protection against debris while hammering.

  • 02 of 06

    Attach the D-Rings

    Close-up shots of picture hanging hardware

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    Decide how far from the top you want to position the D-rings. Aim for about a quarter or third of the way down from the top of the painting. Measure the distance, mark it with a pencil, then repeat on the other side. Angle the D-rings so they're pointing upward at about 45 degrees, but don't screw them in pointing directly toward one another. Be sure you attach the D-rings at the same distance from the top edge. The wire should not show above the top edge of the painting, nor should the painting lean away from the wall when hung. 

  • 03 of 06

    Attach the Picture Wire

    How to tie the knot to hang a picture with wire

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    Before you attach your picture wire to the D-rings, you'll need to measure and cut an appropriate length. Begin by measuring a length of picture wire that's double the width of the frame you're hanging. You'll trim the excess when done.

    Insert about 5 inches of picture wire through one of the D-rings from below. Once through the D-ring, pull this end underneath the wire that will go across the picture, then put it through the D-ring again from above. Pull the wire up through the loop, and that is the finished knot. Pull slightly taut but do not secure. Next, stretch the picture wire across to the other D-ring, but don't knot it yet. 

  • 04 of 06

    Measure and Cut the Wire

    Tying a knot on back of a picture with hanging wire

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    Find the middle of ​the frame and pull the picture wire up gently until you reach a point about 2 inches from the top. This is where you want your wire to hang once it is mounted on the wall. Measure the picture wire 5 inches through the eyelet and trim.

    Now repeat the same process of looping and knotting the picture wire to the D-ring that you did on the other side, leaving 5 inches of excess wire. Trim with your wire cutters, being careful not to poke yourself with the sharp metal.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Tighten the Picture Wire Knot

    Tighten the knot in the hanging wire on the frame

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    Tightening the picture wire knot is easiest using a pair of pliers. Grip the ends of the wire with the pliers, then pull and the knot will tighten. Cut the short end if needed, then twist it around the other length of wire. Flatten the end with the pliers to ensure that no sharp end of wire is exposed to catch your finger. Repeat the process on the other end.

  • 06 of 06

    Hang Your Picture

    Give the frame hanging wire a little slack before tying the knot

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    Once you've knotted the wire, it's a good idea to make sure all of the hanging hardware is attached securely. No matter where you're hanging your artwork—in a group or by itself—you'll need to make sure your picture is securely hanging and level. 

    Picture-hanging hooks are available in a variety of sizes, each able to hold a maximum number of pounds. Choose based on how much your framed artwork weighs. Use your tape measure to help pinpoint a spot to mount the picture and mark it with your pencil. Most picture hooks are mounted with nails, so you'll need a hammer.

    Once the hook is nailed to the wall, you're ready to hang your picture. Find the middle of the picture wire for reference; this is where you want to hang it. It may take a few attempts to get the wire firmly mounted over the wall hook, so be patient. Once it's hung, use your level to make sure it's hung properly.

    Congrats! Your artwork is mounted and ready to be enjoyed.