Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Year of Knowledge: How to Hang a Picture

Originally, Thursdays were going to be People, Places and Things Thursdays but as those things could easily fall into Wildcard Wednesdays, I decided I needed a day dedicated to learning how to do things. So, for my first How-To Thursday, I present: how to hang a picture.

Okay, you can stop laughing now.

I am the first to admit that my home skills are a little, well, rusty developing nonexistent. Let's just say they need improvement. However, I actually can hang a picture. On drywall.

However, I currently live in a house that was built in 1921, which means plaster and lath. Just try to put up a couple of pictures has led to several chunks of plaster on my floors instead of my walls. I actually have only three pictures up. Total. In an 1800 square foot house. Yeah.

From what I can find, there are several different ways to hang pictures when you are dealing with plaster walls.  I'll try a few and see which ones work the best.

According to This Old House, there is no good way to hang anything on plaster walls without causing chunks. (Gee, that was helpful!) Their recommendation is to use the 3M adhesive wall attachments to save those walls.

From a blog called Things Your Grandmother Knew, one great way to get those family pictures up is by heating the nail before hammering it in. It did not say how to heat the nail, though. Hair dryer? Matches? Lighter? The little blow torch I bought when I thought making creme brulee would be fun and was so, so wrong? Hey, at least I know not to toss a few in the microwave. They'd get way too hot. (She is kidding, right?)

Another blog, Home Remodeling 101, says masking tape will work.  Simply put a small piece of masking tape at the spot you'd like the nail to go, gently drive the nail in, then remove the masking tape.

The last idea, from a blog called Interior Decorating Tips, is the most creative. Heralding back to the day when plaster was the norm, they suggest using picture railing to hang pictures. There is a cute picture of how to do this in a bedroom that I love. They also suggested putting the nails into the picture rail and using wire to hang pictures from different lengths. I wonder if I can be that decoratively brave?

Hopefully, this has helped any of you who have ever dreaded the thought of hanging a picture on a plaster wall. During my next stretch of free time (ha!), I think I may give a few of these a try. Wish me luck!


  1. I want to see a full-blown demonstration on this one. Video, pls!

  2. I've used the masking tape method before-- it works pretty well, but you have to be REALLY gentle.

  3. I have a picture rail in my old house with plaster walls... it goes unused. I have found that the best method is to use a very small drill bit through masking tape first, then to use a nail not much bigger than the hole you just drilled to go in after. Using tiny nails also helps, so for bigger pictures, I use those hold hooky thingies that I hang with small nails. :) I'm also a fan of the 3M strips, but they absolutely do not work in the bathroom, for the record. That was a bad day.