Mirrors and heavy art pieces add a lot to your home’s décor and interior ambiance. But they need to be hung properly to keep them from falling and getting damaged or inflicting damage to your wall or floor. Here’s how to hang items on your wall and ensure they stay in place.
Step 1: Weigh the Piece
Determine how much the mirror or artwork weighs. Stand on a bathroom scale while holding the piece, and then again without holding it. The difference between the two numbers will be the approximate weight of the piece. A heavy-framed mirror or picture frame (35 to 100 lbs.) hangs in much the same way as a lighter one; however, you will need to put more care and thought into anchoring it to the wall. The heavy-duty wire and hangers/anchors you use should be rated to support that kind of weight.
Step 2: Measure and Prepare for Hanging
Use heavy-duty D-rings to attach a picture hanging wire to the mirror or picture frame. Position a D-ring on each side of the frame about 1/5 of the distance from the top corner to the bottom of the frame. Tilt the top of the ring inward as close to a 45-degree angle as possible while still assuring that both mounting screws will enter solid wood. Mark where the mounting holes will be on the frame, then drill 3/32” pilot holes, using an electric drill, and secure the rings with screws.
Cut a piece of heavy-duty hanging wire that is about three times longer than the width of the frame. Attach an end of the wire to a D-ring by knotting and twisting it until it’s secure, using needle-nose pliers. After the wire is fully twisted and knotted, cut off any excess. Feed the loose end of the wire through the other D-ring and back to the first D-ring, leaving just enough slack so you can hang the mirror without the wire showing. Secure this end to the D-ring the same way you did the other end.
Use a stud finder to locate where your wall studs are located. Ideally, your heavy mirror or picture should be anchored to wall studs with 3” screws. Mark their location with a pencil. Next, lightly mark a line on the wall for the frame’s top edge, using a pencil and a level. Use a ruler or yardstick to mark the mirror's center point on that line and measure out to the left and right of that. Mark a distance equal to 1/4 of the distance between the D-rings. Lightly pencil two vertical lines at these quarter points (your two hangers will be located somewhere along these vertical lines—see next step).
If your hanging location doesn’t allow for the use of wall studs for support, install a heavy-duty wall anchor at each hanger location and let the anchor’s screw protrude about ¼” for the wire to hang on. Molly bolts and toggle bolts are good options for hanging a heavy item directly from drywall. Both of these types of anchors are designed with “wings” that expand once inserted into a pilot hole in drywall, creating a more secure anchor point that can support the extra weight. These types of bolts can hold weights in excess of 50 to 100 lbs. or more, depending on the thickness of the drywall and the size of the anchor bolt.
To install molly or toggle bolts, first use an electric drill to create a pilot hole large enough to insert the bolt. Check the size of the bolt on the packaging before choosing a drill bit. Install molly bolts by inserting the bolt into the pilot hole and then tapping it lightly with a hammer until the “teeth” in its head enter the wall. A screwdriver can then be used to tighten the screw inside the bolt, which pulls the wings tight up against the inside of the wall. A toggle bolt can be installed by inserting it into the pilot hole until the spring-loaded wings snap open on the inside of the wall. Then simply tighten the screw to fasten the wings behind the wall.
Before installing a molly or toggle bolt, make sure you have decided where your anchor points will be, as these anchors can be semi-permanent.
Step 3: Hang the Piece
Ask for help hanging your piece. With the help of an assistant, lift the mirror slightly off the floor by its wire so the wire is taut. Hold the wire at two points where you estimate the wire will hook onto the hangers/anchors. Have your assistant measure the distance from the taut wire to the top of the frame. Transfer that measurement to the wall by measuring down each (quarter point) vertical line you made at the line you marked for the top of the mirror. These will designate your exact anchor points.
Then you can erase your pencil lines and hang the item. With help from your assistant, lift the piece up onto the hangers. Peek behind to make sure the wire is seated correctly on each hanger. Position the mirror or picture so it looks level and in place. Use a level to ensure it is placed correctly and adjust accordingly, if need be.
That’s it! Now you know how to safely and securely hang a heavy object on your walls.
Project Shopping List
Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.