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How to Prepare a Painting for Hanging

Updated on January 23, 2013
BlossomSB profile image

Since school, Bronwen has been interested in art, has joined Artists' groups where she has lived, and occasionally has even won prizes.

Hanging Canvas Paintings

Whether you are planning on preparing a painting for hanging at home or for a sale or exhibition, it can be quite expensive to pay to have it done by a professional framer. However, if you have chosen to paint on one of those canvasses that come ready stretched on a frame, it is not difficult to do this work yourself.

All you will need will be a few tools and a visit to the hardware store for some inexpensive materials. It is a good idea to finish your painting with a spray of your choice of clear gloss or matt varnish before you begin to prepare your painting for hanging.

If you are preparing your painting for sale or an exhibition, it could be a good idea to find out the stipulated requirements. Often screw-eyes are not allowed as they can mark the wall and small D-rings can be a better choice.

Tools Needed to Prepare a Painting for Hanging
Tools Needed to Prepare a Painting for Hanging | Source

The Tools You Will Need

The tools you will need are fairly basic and you probably already have most of these. if you do not, they are small, which is good for storage, and not very expensive.

  • A pencil and ruler
  • An awl, a small screwdriver (probably a Phillips, but this depends on the the type of head on the screws that you purchase)
  • A small wire-cutter.

Materials Required
Materials Required | Source

Materials Required

Again, these are quite simple and easily obtainable from almost any hardware store. As these come in packages, there are sure to be more than you need for this project, but this means that you will already have all the requirements next time you want to prepare a painting to hang. If you choose the brass-coloured screws, try and choose the D-rings and picture wire the same colour as your work looks better if they match. You will need:

  • A packet of tiny brass screws
  • A packet of flat D-rings
  • A small roll of picture wire.

The Wedges
The Wedges | Source
The Wedges Pushed into place
The Wedges Pushed into place | Source

The Frame Wedges

When you purchased the canvas, it came already stretched on a light wooden frame. You probably found that, attached to the frame, there was a small ziplock bag containing eight flat wedges. These are intended to go in the corners of the frame and they help to strengthen the frame and keep the canvas tightly stretched.

In each corner of the frame at the back of the painting there will be two narrow slits, just the width of the wedges; one slit will be a little higher than the other. When you have completed your painting and are preparing it to hang, insert these wedges in the following manner:

  • Hold one wedge with its long side flat against the frame with the pointed end towards the lower slit.
  • Slide the pointed end into the lower slit until it touches the end. You may need to push firmly to get it into position, so make sure you push it straight or it may snap.
  • Repeat this process, sliding a second wedge at right angles to the first into the slightly higher slit.
  • Repeat until all four corners of the frame have been secured.

Screwing in the D-ring
Screwing in the D-ring | Source

Performing the Task

The actual project does not take long, although you will need a clean space on which it is safe to place your painting face-down.

  1. Measure with the ruler about a quarter to a third of the way from the top of the back of the painting. Mark this with the pencil. Repeat the process on the other side at the back, making the marks the same distance from the top of the frame.
  2. With the awl, gently make a hole at each of the two pencil-marks. The wood used for the frame is light to keep the whole painting light, so it is quite soft. Do not press the awl into the wood too far or it will not hold the screw.
  3. Put one of the tiny screws into the hole in the D-ring, place the point in the hole in the wood and screw it into the frame. Make sure that it goes right in and is quite firm. The D-ring should be pointing in towards the centre of the back of the painting. Screw in the other D-ring on the opposite side of the back of the frame.
  4. Measure the length of picture-wire that you will need, allowing about three inches (8 cm) each end. Nip it with the wire-cutter. Thread one end of the length of wire through the D, bend it around and back with your fingers and wind it neatly around itself four of five times. Repeat at the other end. If the wire is too long, nip it to a suitable length with the wire-cutter to keep it tidy.

Now my painting of a deer meeting a small kangaroo is ready to hang and enjoy.

That's it! Simple, wasn't it? And think of how much you have saved by doing it yourself.

The Forest Meeting, New South Wales
The Forest Meeting, New South Wales | Source


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    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Robie Benve: Thanks for your comments. Sorry I did not mention that the painting looks best if the sides are painted, too. Some of my friends just paint the sides black but I usually carry the painting around the sides.

    • Robie Benve profile image

      Robie Benve 5 years ago from Ohio

      Simple, inexpensive and very easy. Who said every painting needs a frame? This works just fine, especially if you paint the sides of the canvas. Thanks for sharing! :)

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      flashmakeit: Thank you. I'm glad you like my painting. I did it from a photo I took beside the road when driving in New South Wales, and thought it was interesting, the indigenous meeting the introduced animal.

      Faith Reaper: Bless you. I hope it will be useful - it can also be a reminder for me as I'd forgotten how to put in the wedges and still have a couple of sore fingers from trying to force them in in the wrong way.

      Jackie Lynnley: It really is easy, once you know how. Hope you're now enjoying the fruit of your efforts.

      Frank Atanacio: It's one of those things that don't come around so often, so in between we're likely to forget exactly how to do it. Thank you for your comment.

      Shiningirisheyes: Thank you for your lovely comment on my painting. I have one more to finish before our Hughesdale Artists' Group (HAGS!!) Annual Exhibition, so I'm hoping to sell one or two. We're allowed to enter six and I'd love to be able to cover the cost of materials as I enjoy this hobby very much, as well as writing on HubPages.

      teachers12345: Yes, we don't need it so very often and I'm inclined to forget exactly what to do in the interim. Ouch! About the hammer. Squashed fingers and thumbs can be painful. Thank you for your vote.

      always exploring: I'm glad you like my deer. They're introduced animals, but I love finding them roaming in the bushland. If you sister paints, you probably could, too. It's mostly a matter of practice and listening to others and watching how they do things. Do try!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I love your painting of the Deer. I am not an artist, ( I wish ) I have a Sister, Eva who paints beautifully. Your info. is great. Thank you for sharing..

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I sure could have used this information when I first started decorating my first home. I was all thumbs and didn't even know how to use a hammer. Great tips and voted up.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Blossom - Kudos for choosing a magnificent painting selection at the end of this helpful hub.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 5 years ago from Shelton

      blossoms useful.. never know when im going to need it but glad to know its here :)

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      This is great info; I just learned to do it myself and it is really quite easy isn't it?

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 5 years ago from southern USA

      Hi Blossom,

      Thanks for the very helpful hub. I know I have done much damage while trying to hang one properly. Great job here. Beautiful painting at the end. Voted up, awesome, interesting and useful. God bless. In His Love, Faith Reaper

    • flashmakeit profile image

      flashmakeit 5 years ago from usa

      That is a lovely painting worth hanging correctly and a lot of artist may find this article very useful for their customers.