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How to Hang Pictures and Art Using Picture Wire and D-Rings

  • by Arthur Harrison
  • 5 min read

“How do you choose what type of wire to use?” 

“How long should it be?”

“How do you tie the wire onto the D-ring properly?”

Using hanging wire and D-rings is one of the most common and most trusted types of picture hanging methods available. And what’s challenging about it is dealing with the picture wire itself.

Today, we’re putting picture wire into the spotlight and showing you how to properly tie it in order to successfully and securely hang your picture frames in this article.

What is a Picture Hanging Wire?

As the name suggests, it’s wire for hanging pictures and objects on the wall. There are various types made of different materials which can hold different weights. Some types are rigid and others are flexible. Some are even coated, so as to not hurt your fingers! 

Picture hanging wire works best when best paired with D-rings because of how well they work together.

Just like many other types of picture hangers, wire comes in different materials and has different weight ratings, which can then be used for various applications. What makes wire strong enough to hold 30-100 lbs? The answer lies in the process of how it’s manufactured. Wire strands are either braided or twisted together, which produces a strong hanging product.

Read on to learn more about the types of picture-hanging wire available and how to choose the right one for your project.  

3 Types of Picture Wire

There are three types of picture wire, and choosing the right one depends on the size and weight of your frame. They may look similar at first, but if you look closer, you'll see their subtle differences.

Traditional Braided Wire

Braided wire is made of interwoven strands of galvanized steel wire, which creates a solid yet flexible finished product. It comes in different thicknesses, and the thicker the wire, the heavier the load it can support, which is a maximum of 36 lbs. You can hang small to medium-sized picture frames, paintings, and other light to medium weight objects.

Stainless Steel Wire

This type of wire is made of strands of steel that are twisted together under tension. As a result, stainless steel wire is comparatively stronger than braided wire, but less flexible. 

Again, it comes in various sizes supporting objects weighing up to 100 lbs. You can hang medium to large-sized and heavy-weight mirrors, signages, and paintings.

Vinyl Coated Wire  

This is basically stainless-steel wire, but with a soft and flexible protective vinyl coating covering it. The extra layer makes it feel softer and easier on the fingers. Vinyl coated wire is considered a high-strength wire, despite having slightly lower weight ratings than stainless steel wire.

Like the braided and stainless steel wires, there are different thicknesses available, supporting up to 60 lbs. You can hang medium-sized wall decor like photographs, artwork, mirrors, etc.

The table below shows the three types of wire and their corresponding wire sizes and maximum weight capacities.

How to Hang Frames Using Wire and D-rings

There are just five easy steps to this hanging method, which you can find below:  

Prepare the tools needed

Before you can hang a frame, you’ll need to attach the frame hardware, the picture wire, and install the wall hardware. Here’s everything you’ll need for the whole process: 

Attach D-rings

Most frames already come with D-rings but if yours doesn’t, you can buy your own. The important part is choosing the best one for your project.

Just remember when choosing D-rings, or any picture hanger in general, follow the rule of thumb: select the hanger with a weight capacity of 1-3 times the weight of your wood frame or object. 

How to Install D-rings onto The Frame

1. Use two D-rings for every frame and position them on opposite sides. 

2. Attach them ⅓ of the way down the frame 

    • Angle them so that they’re pointed upward and diagonal, at approximately 45 degrees.
    • Both D-rings should have the same distance from the top edge of the frame.
    • Once you’ve got the position right, use the screwdriver to attach the D-rings.
    • Make sure that the wire, when attached, doesn’t show above the top edge of the painting. 

RELATED ARTICLE:  Do’s and Don’ts When Using D-rings and Strap Hangers

Attach the Picture Wire

The way you tie the picture wire onto the frame is essential. It should be properly attached to secure the frame to the wall otherwise, you may have a damaged frame lying on the ground.

 Here’s how to tie the picture wire onto the D-ring:

1. Measure and cut the wire at the correct length. The length should be double the width of the frame you’re hanging.

2. Insert the wire into the D-ring in a downward direction.

3. Put the short wire over the full-length wire and go in the opposite direction of the hardware.

4. Insert it again upward and pass the short wire through the loop. Pull it tight to create a lock on the wire.

5. Wrap the wire neatly around the full-length wire.

6. Cut off the excess.

7. Pull the wire taut to make sure the wire won’t exceed the top edge of the frame. Stretch the wire to the other side.

8. Repeat steps 1-5 on the other D-ring.

This may sound difficult and time consuming, but it’s actually relatively easy. Watch exactly how to do it in the video below.

Install a Wall Hook

If you already have a screw or hook on the wall, inspect it first before you hang your frame. For security purposes, here’s what you should check:

  • Check to make sure that the screw or hook on the wall is securely installed on the wall.
  • Make sure the hardware can support the weight of your frame or object.
  • Check the condition of the wall.

Inspecting these three things is especially critical for large or heavy frames. In order to avoid any accidents, change worn-out hooks, faulty hangers, and weak walls before hanging anything.

If you need a wall hook, there’s plenty to choose from! 

We recommend tremor hooks or brass hooks because they can support light to heavy frames and objects while requiring only pin-sized holes on your wall. Depending on your frame, they have different sizes and weight ratings to choose from.

Here are the available options for the hooks:

Brass Hooks

Tremor Hooks

Hang the frame

Once you’ve got everything installed securely, go ahead and hang your frame. That’s it!

Final Thoughts

Picture wire is frequently used by consumers and professionals alike because it is one of the easiest and most secure methods available for hanging picture frames.  

Over the past months, we’ve discussed art hangers, French cleats, sawtooth hangers, and wall hooks so we thought it would be a great time to feature picture hanging wire! Now, you’ll know exactly which type of wire you need, how to tie it, and how to get those pictures hanging! 

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