French cleats are your best friends when it comes to hanging hardware. They’re so flexible that you can use them for both aesthetic and functional purposes.
Aesthetically, French cleats are an elegant way to hang art as they provide more stability and keep frames level despite regular movement around the space. Functionally, they can be used for storage and organization purposes because they can hold up to a whopping 100 pounds.
So, what are French Cleats, exactly?
French cleats are picture hanging hardware composed of two horizontal metal or wood plates. One plate is attached to the wall, while the other is attached to the object you want to hang.Each angled pair is designed to interlock, allowing you to hang objects on the wall securely.
Cleats are versatile; they’re ideal for hanging a variety of materials such as:
- Wood frames
- Picture frames
- Framed photographs
- Wood crafts
- Canvas art
- Floating shelves
- Wall cabinets and much more
Just remember the rule of thumb when buying French cleats:
Get a cleat that is no shorter than half the length of the frame.
For example, if you’re hanging a 40 x 60 frame would require at least a 20” cleat. We currently don’t have a 20” cleat, but you could always size up with our 24” set. Keep this in mind so you can buy the correct size every time.
To help you choose the right cleat for your application, check out this guide for your reference.
This is a cleat guide from Picture Hang Solutions that you can refer to when you’re not sure what cleat length to use.
Another thing, the fastening hardware needs to be determined based on the wall type and condition.
Typically, the failure in any hanging hardware is not the hardware itself, but the fastener (either the nail or screw) and the condition of the drywall or substrate you are going into.
These are heavy duty high strength aluminum cleats and they most likely will not fail, but the hardware holding the cleat on the wall and on the artwork is the most critical component.
How to Install French Cleats
Installing them is pretty straightforward. Here’s how:
Attach one cleat to the back of the frame. Cleat should be mounted with screw holes at the top using the #8x1//2” screws. You may want to drill pilot holes in a wood frame.
Attach the other cleat to the wall. Wall cleat should be installed with screw holes at the bottom using the #8 x 1” screw and plastic wall anchors.
Make sure to install the cleat level — small adjustments to level the cleat can be made by moving slightly in the slotted screw holes before tightening the cleat to the wall.
Hold art flush against the wall slightly above the wall cleat and slide the art down to interlock the two cleats.
You may slide the frame left or right to center on your wall, however, both cleats need to be engaged 90% of their length for strength and stability.
Art can be easily removed from the wall by lifting the frame upward a few inches to disengage the cleat.
🔨 PRO TIP: If the artwork backing is too fragile for screws or if you don’t want to drill into the frame, you can possibly use an adhesive.
Be sure that the type of adhesive you use works well with the aluminum cleat as well as the material your frame is made of. You also have to make sure that it has a strong hold on both surfaces. Unfortunately, we cannot advise on how much weight the cleats can hold using adhesive, so this would require some testing.
That’s pretty much it! Now, all you have to do is figure out how you want to personalize your space.
Not sure how to design your space with French Cleats? Here are 7 easy wall hanging ideas you can do at home.
7 Beautiful Wall Hanging Ideas to Liven up Your Walls
Like we mentioned earlier, cleats serve both design and function, so we've divided this section to show you just that. Check out these aesthetic tips to beautify your space or skip ahead to the Functionality Section if you want ideas about storage and organization instead.
Aesthetically Pleasing Wall Hanging Ideas
Picture WallHanging picture frames is a great way to personalize your walls and show who you are. The trick to having a nice picture wall is to select photos that tell a story or look cohesive together. Buy some frames and place your pictures inside.
Check out these fun ideas you can try:
Oversized FramesHanging up oversized picture frames makes a great statement. They command attention and do a good job at conveying the vibe of the room. To avoid accidents, use French cleats to hold them up securely and keep them level.
Wood BlocksSometimes, normal is boring. Dare to be different and go for wood blocks as picture frames. It’s refreshing to see something unusual which makes this a great idea for drawing attention to your wall.
Grid Picture WallTake your Instagram feed to your wall with this grid wall layout. The trick is to buy a lot of frames of the same size and design. Recreating this idea is great for people who want a sophisticated look on their walls while keeping it minimalistic.
Photo: Champagne Chaos
🔨 PRO TIP:To hang your pictures, check the weight and size of your frames to choose the right size of French cleats to use. You may refer to the cleat guide above your reference.
Mini Art GalleryFor art enthusiasts, this might be up your alley. Display the art you’ve created or paintings you’ve acquired and have your own mini art gallery in your home. They grab attention and make a great conversation starter for your house guests.
Large MirrorMirrors always make a statement, especially those with intricate designs. They are always a good idea because it reflects light and makes your space look bigger. Take a look at this backlit bathroom mirror.
Photo: Illuminated Bathroom Mirror
Curious to see how our French cleats look in action? Check out this video by OMG Home Stuff!
Functional Wall Hanging Ideas
All of the ideas below are for organization and storage purposes. That means you will need hanging hardware that can support a lot of weight. We recommend using heavy duty cleats for these applications.
Floating Shelves and Cabinets
Setting up floating shelves and cabinets is a great way to display things while keeping an aesthetically pleasing look. It’s a sleek and modern take on regularwall storage units.
Shelves, cabinets and cupboards are usually used to support a lot of weight for various items like food, kitchen tools, building materials, cleaning supplies and many more. So, it makes total sense to use French cleats. Not only can you choose different sizes according to what you need, but they are heavy duty hanging hardware that secures anything up on the wall.
A pegboard is awall organizerused in a workstation for artists, DIYers and builders. It’s composed of a wood board with small holes for pegs to be inserted in. They’re great for storage and organization purposes because it’s changeable and very low maintenance.
There are many ways to style a pegboard. You can try using different layouts, painting it, or even spacing out the holes differently. Just know what vibe you’re going for and you can figure it out from there.
A tool wall is something similar to a pegboard, but on a bigger scale. A pegboard occupies a part of the wall, usually above a desk, but a tool wall occupies the entire wall. A lot of builders DIY their ownFrench cleats to make their own tool wall to store all their equipment in an organized manner.
This idea is suitable for storage rooms where tools and other supplies are kept. Just like pegboards, this setup can be adjusted anytime according to your needs and doesn’t need much attention once it’s attached to the wall.
You probably have a better idea of what you want to hang on your wall, so now it’s time to grab your cleats!
Where To Buy French Cleats
Picture Hang Solutions has regular and heavy-duty cleats in different sizes and profiles to suit your needs. Some kits even include the screws and plastic anchors to use during installation.
To guide you in purchasing, here’s everything you need to know about Cleats.
Regular Cleat Hangers
- 3 inches
- 6 inches
- 10 inches
- 12 inches
- 18 inches
- 12 inches
- 18 inches
Heavy Duty French Cleats
- 18 inches
- 24 inches
- 30 inches
- 36 inches
- 45 inches
- 48 inches
- 90 inches
With all that said, we guess it's safe to say that French cleats are a highly versatile and reliable choice for hanging a variety of objects.
They are available in various lengths and weight capacities, making them suitable for a range of wall hanging needs. French cleats are strong, secure, and easy to install, making them an excellent choice for anyone looking to hang items on their walls.
Overall, French cleats are definitely a picture hanger’s best friend!