How to Hang Picture Frames So They’re Level and Straight

by Kimba on February 21, 2011

in Artwork,Do it yourself

If you have ever tried to hang a group of frames so that they’re all level and straight, you know what a challenge it can be. Even if you’re using a group of identical frames, there’s a good chance that the hardware on the back of each frame is positioned slightly differently on each frame. That means you can’t just make sure the nails are level in the wall. You have to compensate for the fact that the hangers are in different places on each frame.

Underneath all of my pretty picture displays lies a wall that looks like swiss cheese.

For me, hanging a group of frames always becomes an exercise in higher math. Calculate how far apart the frames should be…how far from the ceiling or floor…compensate for the fact that the hardware is off by 1/8″ on the last frame…divide by pi. It’s maddening.

When I brought home my IKEA Ribba Frames for the family room, I realized that, like all IKEA products, there was LOTS of assembly required. In this case, you have to attach the hanging hardware yourself. And it’s of the wire-across-the-back variety. That means death to getting those all those frames level in my book.

Before I got out my scientific calculator, I got online and starting googling things like…”How to hang IKEA Ribba Frames?” and “Are the Swedish just smarter than the rest of us?”

And in all my searching, I came across a recommendation for a something called the Hang & Level. After a little reading, I decided I couldn’t live for another day without one in my hot little hands. So I raced to my Target to see if they carried it. They did. SCORE!

I’m telling you. This nifty little tool has changed my picture hanging life. For real. It makes hanging groups of pictures so much easier. The short explanation is that it lets you easily mark where your nail holes should go for each picture without turning your walls into swiss cheese.

I took a bunch of pictures as I was using it and starting writing lots of words about how it works. Then I found this video on YouTube that explains it much better than I could.

I bought my Hang & Level at Target. The Hang & Level website says that you can also find them at Home Depot, but no promises. I also found them on Amazon with free shipping

Disclosure: I have NOT been compensated in any way for this post. I paid for this little gadget with my own hard-earned $14.99 and it was worth every penny.

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1 Dianne @ The Inspired Housewife February 21, 2011 at 8:54 am

What a great gadget! Luckily I married a CPA so Mr Amazing does all that hard math for me. You should have seen me trying to figure out how far to space apart the curtain rings for the curtains I made this weekend. Yet another reason I married that man…math! ­čÖé
Dianne @ The Inspired Housewife┬┤s last blog post ..Dust Ruffle Curtains

2 Laryssa @Heaven In The Home February 21, 2011 at 8:55 am

This sounds great! I’m more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of girl, so my walls are full of holes. ­čÖé I think I really need this.

3 Jenny February 21, 2011 at 9:12 am

Wish I had this when I was hanging a grouping of six framed prints! Looks like a great tool.
Jenny┬┤s last blog post ..Happy Tuesday Week 2 – Feeling Good About Myself

4 Tonya February 21, 2011 at 9:24 am

That looks like it’s so easy to use…I must get one! Thanks for sharing!
Tonya┬┤s last blog post crazy summerpart 1

5 Allison @ Quaint Oaks February 21, 2011 at 9:32 am

Oh my goodness! That is phenomenal! I always knew there had to be a better way. Thank you so much for posting this! As soon as I get motivated to get out of the house on my day off, I think I am going to take myself to Target for one of my very own! I hope you don’t mind, but I am working on a photo wall post for my blog. I am going to link to your page to show my friends and family this great find! Thanks!
Allison @ Quaint Oaks┬┤s last blog post ..Scavener Hunt Sunday 22011

6 Elizabeth@BlueClearSky February 21, 2011 at 9:35 am

I have them Hang and Level too. If you live in Canada, Canadian Tire carries them.

7 Amanda @ Serenity Now February 21, 2011 at 10:29 am

Neat!! I am a terrible picture hanger. Like, really really bad. I finally resorted to tracing my frames in newspaper and hanging the paper with Scotch tape to see how they looked b/c I messing the walls up so badly. :s

8 Aura February 21, 2011 at 10:44 am

Kimba, you just made me day!! I left you a comment last week about having these exact same frames from Ikea (sitting on the floor, not hung) and I have another closet full of other frames. I can’t hang a straight frame to save my life, and my husband has been so busy with school and work lately, that my nursery is just sitting undone. I am going to buy this thing today!
PS…this company owes you ­čÖé

9 heidi@thecraftmonkeyblog February 21, 2011 at 11:01 am

WOW! That’s pretty awesome! Now I want to go buy one and rehang all the crooked pictures in my house!!! Thanks for sharing!

10 Anna February 21, 2011 at 11:04 am

Anna┬┤s last blog post ..The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Dog Food

11 Anna @ Take the Side Street February 21, 2011 at 11:40 am

I think I mght love you. ­čśë Fabulous!!
Anna @ Take the Side Street┬┤s last blog post ..Im So Excited- Im So Excited!

12 Wendy J. Wonders February 21, 2011 at 11:44 am

Thank you. I just painted a wall in my living room to make it more neutral for buyers (moving). I haven’t hung a thing on it because my hanging skills turn my walls into swiss cheese too. I am running out and buying this, so I can hang a few pictures up. Love your blog!!!
Wendy J. Wonders┬┤s last blog post ..A Not So Healthy House

13 Jessica February 21, 2011 at 11:49 am

My Hubby bought me one of these for christmas, it is AMAZING. I love it. It takes 99.9% of the guess work out of hanging pictures. ­čÖé
Jessica┬┤s last blog post ..Miss Maddie

14 Becca February 21, 2011 at 12:02 pm

I wish I would have known about this product 2 weeks ago when I coerced my husband into hanging 4 beautiful but poorly engineered frames on our 12 ft walls. He was NOT happy.

15 Tracey February 21, 2011 at 1:44 pm

That video sold me, and OF COURSE your endorsement ­čÖé I have never seen this, until now. Thank you.
Tracey┬┤s last blog post ..A Party For My Love

16 Elizabeth@themustardceiling February 21, 2011 at 1:57 pm

I definitely need this! My walls look like swiss cheese too. This tool would make life so much easier. Thanks for sharing!
Elizabeth@themustardceiling┬┤s last blog post ..Great Fun at The Quadrathalon and Albuqurque

17 Aimee February 21, 2011 at 2:14 pm

That is really freaking brilliant. Adding it to my list of things to buy for the new house…
Aimee┬┤s last blog post ..Friday

18 Annie February 21, 2011 at 2:15 pm

I am loving this fix for the math challenged. I will call Target right now, just after I chase a kid down the hall who is stealing my measuring tape. Ugh!

19 Heathahlee February 21, 2011 at 2:20 pm

I have wanted to hang a bunch of pictures in my hallway, but have just been too intimidated by all the “math” of hanging them! This looks like a great investment!
Heathahlee┬┤s last blog post ..Praying Scripture Over Our Boys – and a Giveaway!

20 Cate February 21, 2011 at 3:14 pm

OH MY GOODNESS!! I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this until now!! Thanks you SO much for sharing! (My life could’ve been SO much simpler…urggh.) ­čÖé I’m going to try and grab one for sure next time I’m at Target! Thanks again!


21 Dana @ Cooking at Cafe D February 21, 2011 at 3:50 pm

At first I read that and thought, “How much difference could this hanger make?” Then I watched the video. I get it now.

One tip I have (in case you don’t have that hanger tool available) is to use toothpaste. Put a dot on the center of the sawtooth hanger on the back of the picture frame. Place the frame where you want it and press it up against the wall. Then simply put the nail through the tiny toothpaste dot.

That’s my trick for using toothpaste to hang pictures!
Leaves your walls minty-fresh, too!
Dana @ Cooking at Cafe D┬┤s last blog post ..Boring Week – Saved Only 37 off My Groceries!

22 Vicky February 21, 2011 at 6:39 pm

LOVE this tool! We have new drywall on a portion of our house that was recently damaged. I am terrified of marring those BRAND NEW walls! This is a great idea!

I found you through Homebody’s Blogs I Love. So glad I did! I added your button to my blog! Thanks for sharing your projects. i look forward to reading more!

~Vicky@oil in my lamp
Vicky┬┤s last blog post ..You are as old today as youÔÇÖve ever been

23 Jennifer February 21, 2011 at 7:25 pm

I just get hubby to do it…

24 Condo Blues February 21, 2011 at 8:05 pm

I saw this little gadget at Target last weekend. I wondered if it REALLY worked as well as they claimed. Thanks.
Condo Blues┬┤s last blog post ..CSN Stores Giveaway

25 Angie February 22, 2011 at 1:51 am

That is brilliant.

Tomorrow… it will be mine. I have pictures to hang!!! I’m excited to do this without hubs’ help! He’ll be so shocked. ­čÖé

26 Annie February 22, 2011 at 8:50 am

This is outstanding! I’m heading out today to purchase one. No more swiss cheese walls, yeah!!

27 Holly February 22, 2011 at 9:12 pm

I bought this over the summer and it has been an amazing little tool to have!
Holly┬┤s last blog post ..While you wait

28 Susan @ Some Kind of Wonderful March 22, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Sadly I also lack the proficient math gene. I am usually at the mercy of my husband, Mr. Wonderful to hang things. Maybe, if I am lucky enough to find one of these do-dads then I can hand stuff when I feel like it ;o) Thanks for sharing!

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