Hanging art work is not a mystery but there are some things to consider and decision to make when hanging a piece of art not only safely but to compliment the painting, wall sculpture or any other medium or mixed media art. Here we will talk about placement of the art, how to wire framed art, and the options you have to hang different pieces of art.
First let’s talk about location.
• Just because you have a very high ceiling such as a vaulted ceiling doesn’t mean you want to hang a piece of art high to fill in space. If the art is something you want people to see hang it at eye level for the average person, about 5’ 8” to about 5’ 10”. This gives the viewer the right height to see the detail of the piece. You can also consider the gallery style of hanging which is to measure the distance from the floor to the center of the piece to be between 58” - 60”.
• Be sure to give sufficient space around unframed abstract works or sculptures, the space takes the place of the frame. It becomes your gallery. Representational art doesn’t require as much space because your eye tends to follow a framed piece more naturally.
• If you are hanging multiple pieces be sure to pick one as your main focal point and be sure to place it in the location where the individual’s eye is drawn and work with the others around it.
• When hanging multiple pieces on a wall that are different sizes align them so the center of each picture or art work is equal with each other. To visualize this you could place a wire across the wall where you would like the center of each piece to be and each center would line up with the wire. It does not matter if the tops or bottoms of the frames do not line up.
• Now there are always exceptions such as a vertical metal sculpture that you may want to hang in a space that is more of a vertical area and you really want something striking. This could be the entrance hallway of a house or business which always grabs peoples’ attention as they enter. A tall piece may extend from just above the ground level to well over an individual’s head but you can still use the 5’ 8” to about 5’ 10” average height to be sure the observer can see the piece straight on.
• Other things to consider are where to place pictures or sculptures of faces. If a painting is of an individual and they are facing forward then your options are much more open, you wouldn’t want to hang a profile of someone in a corner where they look like they are staring at a wall. A bust (bronze sculpture, stone & marble sculpture) of an individual is a little different because you can face it any way you wish but be sure to give the sculpture walking space so the individual can view the sculpture from all sides.
How to wire a framed piece of art!
When wiring the back of a framed piece of art there are just four simple steps to be sure you attach the wire in the right place and allow for proper hanging.
1. On the back of the frame attach an eye screw just above the midpoint.
2. Measure the distance from the screw to the top of the frame and then measure the same distance on the opposite side and insert another eye screw.
3. Cut a piece of picture hanging wire leaving enough length to allow you to twist the wire when attaching to the eye screws.
4. Attach one side of the wire to the eye screw by twisting it multiple times then attach the wire to the other eye screw in the same manner. Be sure not to leave the wire too long, you don’t want the wire to show at the top of the frame.
Now let’s hang your art!
There are many options when it comes to picture hangers. Since we just discussed how to wire a framed piece of art we are going to focus on hanging a piece with a wire.
1. First determine the height to hang the art. As discussed earlier you can measure anywhere from 58 inches to 60 inches from the floor. This is your center point or the point at which you want the center of the picture or metal sculpture to hang.
2. Next measure the picture height, including the frame, and divide that number in half.
3. Then determine the distance from the top of the picture’s wire to the top of the frame. Deduct this number from the measurement in #2. (If your picture is 36 inches , divided by 2 = 18” and the distance from the top of the wire to the top of the frame is 2”, subtract 2 from 18 = 16”)
4. Add the 16” to the distance to the center of the picture (16 + 60 = 76) and this is where you would hang the hook (76” inches from the floor).
5. Keep one other thing in mind. It is always a little more stable to hang a picture on two hooks, this can also keeps your pictures hanging straight. The only difference in hanging is to be sure to compensate the distance from the wire to the top of the frame.
This may sound complicated but when you do it once you never forget. It is also a way to assure hanging right the first time.
A couple of small things to remember:
When you mark the wall where you plan on attaching your hanger/hook use a pencil. You can erase pencil from your wall but pen and markers are very difficult to remove.
Also, if you don’t want to go through all the measurements above just remember to hang your art so the average person can see it. Use your eyes as your guide.
If you have any questions or comments please email me.
Thank you for your interest! Ann