Home with Dean Sharp

Home with Dean Sharp

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DIY 101 - Framing and Hanging Art

Couple in love decorating their first apartment, unpacking boxes after moving in, the man hanging a painting on the wall, the woman showing how much to lift up to make it even

Photo: Getty Images

4 goals for putting stuff on the wall - Artistic, Accurate, Secure, Non-Destructive

           • Making a Classic Comeback: Picture Rail 

  • Can double as a home hack for “raising the ceiling.” Modern versions use wire cable and metal track - picturehangingsystems.com

           • Remodeling?

  • Think ahead and add sheathing or blocking before drywall.

Framing Guide

  • Most of us don’t decorate our homes with priceless fine art. That doesn’t mean they aren’t meaningful or worth framing well. Perhaps even more so.
  • Basics
    • Acid Free matting
    • Rear dust cover
    • Glass or Acrylic face treated to filter UV
    • Oil on canvas - no glass, sunlight ok
    • Water colors and textiles - keep away from direct sunlight
  • To mat or not to mat
    • Most pieces look best in a mat - gives a little space, context, pause, and punctuation
    • Exceptions: Large format photography, diptychs and triptychs, collages
  • Mat Color
    • White/off-white almost always works -
    • Otherwise choose a color inside the art that you want to draw out
  • Frames - the moulding
    • Do you want to let the art speak on its own or compliment it
    • floating mat works for items with dimension or a sense of one of a kind
  • Hangers
    • Sawtooth can hold the frame away from wall at an angle - use simple nail
    • Wire can swing like a pendulum - use two hooks
    • D rings with offsets are my favorite

Hanging Guide

1. Artistic

  • Center of art at eye level. Approximately 57”
  • Tall art for tall walls
  • Not too much clutter - multiple frames need to make a single element        

           Tip:    To make art look great get your baseboard and casing sizes correct. 7/50 rule: baseboard - 7% wall height / casing 50% of base. ie: 8’ wall gets min. 6 ¾” base and 3 ½” casing

2. Accurate


Essential:       Tape measure, blue painters tape, hanger, hammer

Optional:        Stud finder, Torpedo level, Laser level


1. Hold art at desired position

2. Mark top with blue tape

3. With art face down, hook the D ring or wire as if it were hanging on the wall and measure from top to the hook.

4. Measure down from tape that same distance and place hook

3. Secure

Anatomy of a wall

                       drywall ½” - ⅝”

                       sheathing ⅜” - ½”


                                   typically 16”o.c.

                                   1½” x 3½” / 5½”

                                   find a door jamb to determine wall thickness


                       pipes & wiring         

           • Surface connections

           • In-drywall connections - angled nails, pins and hooks

           • Hollow wall connections

           • Stud / Wood connections

4. Non-Destructive

           • Smallest possible hole

           • Won’t pull out

           • Only on surface - velcro

Surface Connections

For lightweight items only (4 lbs or less)

Only as strong as the surface material they’re sticking to - paint, etc.

                       Command - brand (velcro style )       

                                   Installs like double sided tape only better

                                   Holds up to 4 lbs strongly and removes cleanly

                                   Adhesives leave no marks or residue after removal.

                                   Adheres to paint, wood, tile and more.

In-drywall connections - angled nails, pins and hooks

Leaves small nail holes

Angled pins are stronger than perpendicular

                       Ook - brand (gallery style)

                                   self angled

                                   very strong - from 5 lbs - 100 lbs

                                   padded options

                                   kid-safe option

                                   earthquake option

                       Ook shield hangers - innovation - curved wire, integrated hook, tail braces against back of drywall

                       Heavy threaded screw self-drilling drywall anchors

Hollow Wall connections - back of wall bracing                                                                           

  • Plastic expansion sleeves                  
  • Toggle or molly bolt  

Stud / Wood connections

           • Wood screws with good penetration past the drywall!

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