Many homeowners have faced the problem of trying to hang a picture, Figure 1, in a specific location only to end up with the picture not quite in the position where they wanted it.
Figure 1 - Framed picture
In order to have the picture hanging at the correct distance from the ceiling and the correct distance from an adjacent wall is not difficult, it just requires some patience a few measurements and some simple mathematical calculations.
Measuring for the height of the picture or the distance from the ceiling to the top of the picture frame is subject to two things:
- The first is determining the distance of the picture wire pulled taught or the distance of the picture hanger that is mouonted on the picture to the top of the picture frame.
- The second is the type of picture wall fastener that is being used.
Follow these steps:
- The picture may be supported by a wire that runs from one side of the back of the picture to the other side. The wire is located above the horizontal center point of the picture. The wire mounting should be the same distance from the top of the picture on both sides, as shown in Figure 2.
- Mark the center of the picture on the back side of the picture on the upper portion of the frame, as shown in Figure 4.
- Grab the wire, with the tip of the tape measure, stretching the wire to its highest point, keeping the tape measure vertical and at the center point that you marked on the back, measure the distance from the top of the highest point of the wire to the top of the picture frame, as shown in Figure 5.
Figure 2 - Back of picture with wire
Some lighter in weight pictures may be hung using a picture hanger that is called a sawtooth, as shown in Figure 3. The sawtooth picture hanger is nailed to the backside top of the picture frame, so that the center of the sawtooth picture hanger is in the middle of the picture frame. A small nail is then driven into the wall and the sawtooth picture hanger rests on the nail, this is the hanging point. The sawtooth picture hanger has the advantage that if the picture does not hang square to walls and ceiling that you can move it to one of the saw teeth, either left or right of center and it should make the picture hang square.
Figure 3 - Sawtooth picture hanger
Note: For other styles of picture hangers locate the hanging point (see Figure 6) and measure the distance from the hanging point to the top of the picture frame. Use this measurement in place of the measurement that you would have obtained if the picture was hung using a wire.
Figure 4 - Mark center on back of picture frame
Figure 5 - Measuring stretched wire to top of picture frame
Write that distance on a piece of paper. For example purposes we will make this distance 3 inches.
For precise picture hanging when using a sawtooth picture hanger measure the distance from the upper portion of the center sawtooth to the top of the picture frame, as shown in Figure 6. Use this distance in place of the distance you would have measured if the picture was hung using a back mounted wire.
Figure 6 - Hanging point and measurement for sawtooth picture hanger
Also see our article on hanging pictures on stairs.