Practicalities: How to hang pictures in a straight line

I’m about to re-paint my hallway, and forever change the very bright yellow that seemed like such a good idea at the time.  In fact it was a good idea when the room at the end of the hallway was painted in yellows and blues – lovely and bright for a kids lounge room. This room has now been transformed into the master bedroom, in muted grey and charcoal, with a splash of color that changes with the season, and the yellow hallway just doesn’t cut it any more!

I’m planing on hanging a LOT of photos and paintings on both hallway walls, and I never did quite know how to make sure they lined up, and had even spacing between them. It’s trickier than it looks! But I think I’ve got a plan to make sure the 50 or so photos in different kinds of frames plus about 10 paintings that I love, but don’t have anywhere else to hang (one of the downsides of open plan living!), are all hung exactly as I want.

  1. Use paper (can be any kind of paper, but plain rather than printed is better) cut to the size of each frame. If they were smaller than A4 size,  you could photocopy them, otherwise mark each one so you know which photo is represented by each piece.
  2. Use tape (the blue painters tape that you can leave on for a few days is best – but any tape that won’t take the paint off the wall or leave a mark is fine) to mark out the general area you want to use for your photos/paintings. Remember that most walls aren’t completely square, so measure down from the cornice to mark your top line first!
  3. Within that area, attach each piece of paper to the wall
  4. Use a spirit level to make sure everything is square.
  5. If you want the same space between each frame, use a chock of wood, a ruler, or something similar for spacing.
  6. If you want your pictures to hang flush up against each other, that’s a bit trickier but provided you have cut each piece to the exact size, it should be fine.
  7. Then, leave it for a couple of hours or days! Make sure you’re happy with how you’ve placed your pictures.
  8. When you’re happy with the placement, mark where you want your hooks/nails to go remembering that you need to allow for the “hang”. That might be cord or some other kind of hanger attached to the frame.
  9. For small frames, one hook is probably sufficient, but if you want to make sure your pictures are always square (and don’t move around), you could use a nail spaced for each side of the frame.

I now have 50 pieces of paper cut to the same sizes as my photos which are stuck on the wall I can move these around, level them, make sure the spacing is correct, and when I’m ready, can put hammer to nail.

Even though this takes a bit of effort, it really is such a simple way of making sure everything is exactly  you want it before you make marks in your freshly painted wall. There is nothing worse than hanging a painting and then realising you’ve not put it in exactly the right place! I hate puttying up nail holes!

Or of course, you could just string up some ribbon and hang your pictures with pegs!


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