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How to Hang Pictures Without Putting Eighty-Five Million Holes in the Wall

How to Hang Pictures Without Putting Eighty-Five Million Holes in the Wall


Ever wanted to hang your pictures in a nice arrangement, but shied away from elaborate gallery arrangements for fear of putting tons of holes in the wall? Well, you’re in luck. I learned this technique a few years back from (who else) Martha, and though it is somewhat labor-intensive, I think the end result is worth it.

Assemble all of the pictures you would like to go in your gallery. It’s good to have a general idea of how you want to arrange the pictures–for this gallery, I decided to arrange the pictures in the shape of a large rectangle. Place the first picture face up on some brown craft paper, or any scrap paper that is big enough to fit the picture. Trace around the edges picture with a pen.


With pictures that have a hanging wire, you will want to measure to figure out where the nail should go. The way to do this is to turn the picture over, pull the wire taut, and then measure the distance of the point from the top of the frame as well as the side of the frame.

Measure distance from top edge of picture to where the wire is at its tallest. Mark with a horizontal line.
Next, measure how far over from the side edge the middle of the wire hits. Mark this with a vertical line.

When you are done, you should have a cross that shows where the nail should go. I like to write a description of the picture on each cutout, so that I don’t get them mixed up when I start arranging them on the wall.


Repeat this process with all of the pictures you want to include in the gallery. With pictures that don’t have wires, simply measure the distance from the top of the picture to the top of the hook, and from the side of the picture to halfway through the hook.

Once you have finished making the paper cutouts of all the pictures, tape them up on the wall with blue painter’s tape (so that no paint will get pulled from the wall).


Arrange the paper cutouts until you have it looking how you want the gallery to look.


Once you have the arrangement how you want it, then you can nail a nail in the crosshairs of each paper cutout. When you’ve done this, remove the paper cutouts and replace them with the actual pictures. And voilà.


Comments (9)

  1. Kerry
    Dec 14, 2008

    I wish you’d told me that a couple of years ago. Then I wouldn’t have had to buy that picture hanging tool that shoots lasers in straight lines so you don’t have them all crooked. Oh, wait, but then I wouldn’t have a cool tool that shoots lasers.

    What is the name of the color of the paint on your walls? It’s fabulous.

  2. Dec 14, 2008

    Thanks–it’s called “Symphony Blue” and it’s from Benjamin Moore.

  3. Dec 14, 2008

    Ooo, awesome, this is a great technique. I’m totally lame at hanging anything on my walls, so I’m going to keep this trick in mind.

    Martha as in Martha Stewart, right? I used her classic turkey recipe this year, and it turned out perfectly. Yay Martha!

    goodfather´s last blog post..Fire in the hole

  4. Dec 14, 2008

    I’ve seen this before but never tried it because I’m just way too lazy. It’s nice to see that it really works.

    Michele´s last blog post..Boys Ya gotta love or kill them. You decide.

  5. Dec 14, 2008

    Just used this today to fix the crooked collection of my nature photos in our hall. Now it doesn’t look like I went to the Helen Keller School of Design…

    Thanks a bunch!

    Alexis´s last blog post..Charity Hat Pattern

  6. Dec 14, 2008

    Good tip to save my currently blank walls and piles of frames on the floor of my bedroom. Now I have to find someone to do this for me because it looks like a lot of work.

    Jess´s last blog post..Cody

  7. PabloGuero
    Dec 14, 2008

    Wow. The cutout idea is great. I always measure the hang wire, but never thought to apply it to a cutout. Thanks for the tip!

  8. Dec 15, 2008

    God, I KNEW there had to be a better way. Thank you! Mucho!!

    Cat´s last blog post..It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like My Eyes Are Frozen Shut

  9. Dec 16, 2008


    My Buddy Mimi´s last blog post..The world’s biggest dork

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