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Do’s and Don’ts When Using Sawtooth Hangers

  • by Arthur Harrison
  • 6 min read

Hanging something on the wall may seem simple, but finding the right hardware can be a challenge.

With so many options like D-rings, cleats, and sawtooth hangers, it's tough to know which one to choose. If you're thinking about using a sawtooth hanger, you're in luck!

These handy little hangers are a popular choice for many people because they're easy to attach, versatile in terms of hanging options, and budget-friendly.

And after years of experience with sawtooth hangers, we're here to help you learn everything you need to know about them.

What is a Sawtooth Hanger and How Does it Work?

Sawtooth hangers are small metal strips with a flat edge on one side, and a jagged edge on the other.In other words, they look exactly like saws. They’re most suitable for wood-frame pictures and art that weigh less than 25 pounds.

Sawtooth picture hangers come in all shapes and sizes.  Some sawtooth hangers can be attached to the upper rail of the frame through nails or screws, while some have prongs that can be hammered directly onto the frame. 

Here's what you need to know about the different types of sawtooth hangers: 

Different Types of Sawtooth Hangers

  • Nailess Sawtooth Hangers - These are self-attaching hangers for wood frames that don’t require nails or screws. When you have a lot of frames to hang, using these can be a good option to save time. You can choose from nailess sawtooth hangers with black oxide finish or silver zinc-plated finish.
  • Sawtooth Hangers with Screws - This type of sawtooth hanger is more secure than nailless hangers because they use screws. That means they’re ideal for art that are a bit heavier, like framed pictures, mirrors, and canvas art. You can choose from small, large, and heavy-duty sawtooth hangers with screws.



How to Hang a Picture with Sawtooth Hangers

Hanging a picture with sawtooth hangers is fast and easy. You’ll only need the following:

Steps 1-3 will be about attaching the hanger to the back of your frame. Steps 4-5 will be about hanging it up on the wall. Ready?

1. Lay the frame face down on a flat surface. You may place a blanket under the frame to soften the blow when you’re attaching the sawtooth. Check that the jagged side is pointing down while the flat side stays on top.

2. Measure the upper rail of the frame and find the center. Mark it down for your reference. That is where the sawtooth hanger will be attached. 

🔨PRO TIP: Use a piece of tape to secure the sawtooth hanger in place while you hammer or screw it on the frame.

3. For nailess sawtooth hangers, you can go ahead and hammer it down. For the screw-type sawtooth hangers, attach the screws with a screwdriver.

4. To hang it on the wall, figure out where you want to hang your frame and leave a mark. Drill a hole appropriate for the size of your anchor. Then, insert the screw or nail. Don’t forget to leave ⅛ inch of thread exposed so you can hang the frame.

5. Hang it up and admire your work. Don’t forget to use a level to straighten your frames! 

Sawtooth Hangers are generally easy to use but you might want to remember these dos and don’ts when dealing with sawtooth picture hanging hardware.

🗸 DOs

  • Do check that the item is within the sawtooth hanger weight limit. 
    Most sawtooth hangers are only suitable for lightweight pictures and art that weigh 25 pounds or less. However, we do have a special heavy-duty hanger that can carry up to 250 lbs. 

  •  Do use the correct tool in attaching the hanger to your frame. 
    This might sound a bit redundant, but you’ll be surprised at how many people end up damaging their frames simply because they didn’t use the correct tool when attaching sawtooth hangers. That said, if you’re using a sawtooth hanger with screws, use a screwdriver. If it comes with nails, use a hammer. Note that this hardware is usually small and might be harder to handle, so be extra careful when using these tools. 

    🔨 PRO TIP: you can use painter’s tape to help you tap down smaller nails without hitting your fingers with a hammer. Here’s how:

  • Do choose a headed nail over a brad nail on the wall. 
    Confused about which of the 2 nails to use on the wall? Go for the headed nail for extra security. The head of the nail will serve as a stopper that keeps the frame from falling. Make sure the nail in the wall is tight, and then position the frame so that it's caught on the sawtooth securely.

  • Do use 2-3 sawtooth hangers if the frame is longer than 2 feet (24 inches). 
    This is to keep larger frames more stable and level. If you’re using two, attach one equally on each side. If you’re using three, attach one on the left side, one in the middle and one on the right side. 

🗙 DON’Ts 

  • Don’t attach sawtooth hangers to picture frames that weigh more than 25 pounds. 

    Always remember that pound ratings are not cumulative. It’s a big word, but don’t panic. This simply means that you can’t use 2 regular sawtooth hangers for a 40-pound picture. We recommend using the heavy duty sawtooth hangers instead. Not sure which hangers to use? Check out the weight guide provided below.

  • Don’t stress too much about finding a wall stud to tap into. 

    Usually, picture frames with sawtooth hangers are light enough to skip the stud. But if you could put the nail or screw into the wall stud, go ahead. It’s better safe than sorry, after all.

  • Don’t use sawtooth hangers for massive and expensive art pieces, especially those that are to be displayed in art galleries and museums. 

    In fact, most galleries do not accept framed art with sawtooth hangers. Professional hangers would say that the correct hanging method is using D-Rings and J-Hooks. Museums further secure their frames using a mending plate, a device that keeps it from moving and falling off the wall during an earthquake. 

How to Find the Right Sawtooth Hanger

Weight plays an important role when finding the right sawtooth hanger.  It helps you determine the type of hanging hardware you should use. Check out this weight guide to help you choose the right hanger.

To find the right sawtooth hanger, you should consider the weight rating and sawtooth size that is appropriate for your frame first. We recommend using a picture hanger with a weight limit that exceeds the weight of your picture, art or any wall decor. 

Once you have those numbers, you’ll be able to determine the right fastener type for the wall.

Using the wrong hangers and fasteners won’t hold your frames securely and might cause your frames to crash on the floor. It’s even more dangerous for a heavy mirror or painting. Not only will it cause an accident, but expensive pieces will be wrecked.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to hanging lightweight wood frames, you know you can count on sawtooth hangers for a quick and easy fix. You just have to find the right one based on 3 things: weight, size, and fastener type. Knowing all these will hopefully make your picture hanger hunting feel more like a fun grocery run than a guessing game.

We hope these tips helped you liven up your empty walls with ease! If you have any questions, let us know in the comments below.

5 Responses

Picture Hang Solutions

Picture Hang Solutions

March 13, 2023

Hi Sherry,

Unfortunately, you cannot use the sawtooth and a wire together. It is best to attach your sawtooth to a nail with a head or a screw.
We hope this helped you! If you have any other questions, please let us know! We are happy to assist!

Picture Hang Solutions



March 13, 2023

Hi can i use a wire to attach to 2 sawtooth that is already existing on a glass picture to hang?

Picture Hang Solutions

Picture Hang Solutions

December 06, 2021

Hi Marlene,

Thank you for your comment! Since you already have black sawtooths attached to your frame, you can use either a nail with a head or a screw with a head on your wall to hold up your frame. We hope this is of help to you.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to message us. We are happy to assist.

Picture Hang Solutions



December 06, 2021


I’ve noticed that one explained what hook, nail or adhesive tape produce to put on the wall so you can hang your picture with sawtooth hook. Please explain, as I have a fairly light weight piece of art with narrow black frame with black sawtooth hooks on the back. What do I put on or in the wall to hang my art piece? Thank you.

marjorie Gillies

marjorie Gillies

November 02, 2021

A novice at hanging pictures this is great advice and will follow it carefully! thank you, let you know how I make out 🤗

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