Hanging Your Frame: Tips, Tricks & What Not To Do

Getting a favorite photo or piece of art framed is a good feeling. Realizing you now have to figure out where to hang it, and how to get it to look perfect once it's hung? Maybe not so much. If you're unfamiliar with the key fundamentals of hanging frames, or maybe just looking for some pointers, we're here to help with these tips and tricks to hopefully make your experience quick and painless.

Understanding the Hardware: Sawtooth vs. Hanging Wire

Every so often, we get questions about what kind of hanging hardware we use on the backs of our frames. Answer: We use both. For small frames, the sawtooth bracket provides enough support and makes for easy hanging and leveling. For frames that are a bit larger, we find that the hanging wire attached with d-rings is the way to go. It can safely bear much more weight, and is easily attached to the back of your frame with screws. Wire also allows for the use of multiple hanging hooks/nails for even more support when you're hanging oversized frames that are especially heavy.

D-rings are designed to allow the frame to lay flat against the wall, while sawtooth hangers create a slight bump-out effect. To install a d-ring wire, you'll need holes for the screws. If yours is a Level frame then these holes will be pre-drilled for you and all you'll need to do is screw the hardware in place with the little screwdriver that should come with your frame. But if you're making the holes yourself, we recommend installing them about 1/3 of the way from the top of the frame, in the center of the profile. This will make for a good resting point once the frame is hung.

Here's more guidance on how to hang your picture frame properly with both types of hanging hardware.

What You Will & Won't Need

Image source: Unsplash, Artist: Annie Spratt

Once the hardware is installed, here are a few tools you'll need to have on-hand for the hanging process:

-Tape measure



-Painter's tape/kraft paper (optional, for placement)

If you frame with Level, we make sure to include everything you'll need to easily get your frame up on the wall ASAP. Our DIY goodie bags contain all your hanging hardware -- that is, all the screws required to attach your hanging wire to the back of your frame, a Level screwdriver to screw them in, and sturdy picture hook and nail. We also provide an anti-static cloth to wipe down your glaze to ensure no dust or debris gets stuck there.

Bonus Tip: If you're installing your own hanging wire and need to make holes in your frame, the tools you'll need will depend on the softness of the wood. With softer woods, a screwdriver may be enough to get the job done. If your frame is made of a tougher wood, you'll likely need to use a drill.

Measuring & Placement

Image source: Little Bits of Home, Pinterest

One common mistake when hanging framed artwork has to do with placement. People often hang their frames too high; the trick is to keep things at around eye-level, especially when hanging your frame above a piece of furniture like a bed or couch. A good rule of thumb is to leave a 3"- 6" gap between the top of the furniture and the bottom of the frame for breathing room.

Before you hammer any nails in place, you can plan out your placement with painter's tape or kraft paper to give you an idea of how everything will look when you're finished, without ending up with a bunch of unnecessary holes in your wall. Just use the materials to make a "true-scale template", which is just a paper cutout or tape outline the same size/shape as the frame you're hanging.

To prevent your frame from scuffing the wall and to keep it hanging level, apply self-adhesive rubber bumpers to the bottom corners on the back of the frame before hanging. All Level frames should come with felt or plastic bumpers.

Bonus tip: Sometimes it can be difficult to get your frame completely level just by eyeballing it. When in doubt, there are plenty of level tool apps that can help with this, e.g. Bubble Level for iPhone or Android.

Decorating: Mixing Frame Colors & Sizes

Image source: Pinterest, Sacramento Stree

Some people are able to decorate flawlessly, without the innate fear of choosing the one wrong color and potentially throwing off the whole room. For the rest of us, the temptation to make everything match -- just to make things easy -- is undeniably strong. Never fear: we're here to tell you that it's okay to mix and match frame colors. In fact, it adds the kind of character and variety that the monochrome look can lack.

Get creative with your combinations; mix different wood tones together or throw in some gold or silver frames with a glossy finish to make things pop even more. Alternate black & white frames to liven up even the most minimalist space, and hang large pieces alongside smaller ones to create a gallery wall with a look that plays to your personal style. If you're mixing lots of frame colors and textures, try to stick to 2-3 overall sizes to make sure there's some size repetition to tie everything together.

If you want an easy starting point to keep your gallery wall cohesive, at Level we offer four main profile colors that are timeless and match well with one another no matter what you're framing or where you're hanging them.

Left to right: Black, White, Maple, Walnut

Hopefully these little tips & tricks will help you sail smoothly through your next frame-hanging experience. If you have any questions about a custom project, or if you're just looking for a specific frame style to complete a room, feel free to reach out to us via the chat bubble at the bottom of the screen!

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