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How to Keep Frames Level with Picture Hangers

  • by Arthur Harrison
  • 4 min read

Want to know what's one of the most crucial things to nail in picture hanging? It's making sure that the frames are hung level and actually stay that way on your wall.

Levels will help you do that initially, but have you ever heard of leveling picture hangers? In this article, we’ll introduce some special picture hanging hardware that will help to ensure your frames are hung perfectly on your wall and stay straight over time. 

A perfectly level frame on the wall is the way to go if you want an elegant and expensive look. So, here are 3 items that will help you level your frames!

Hang Straight Picture Hook

As the name suggests, this hook primarily aims to hang frames straight. A Hang Straight Hook allows a wired picture frame to be hung from two points simultaneously. Having two points of contact keeps pictures and art straight.

Hang Straight Picture Hooks should be attached to the wall with three 1 ⅜” x 16 nails which are included with each hook. The three nails provide solid picture support, perfect for holding up to light to medium frames.

How to Install Hang Straight Hooks

1. Mark the wall where you will hang the frame using a pencil.

2. Hold the hanging hook against the wall with a small bubble level on top to make sure it’s level.

3. Once it’s level, hold the hook firmly against the wall and install the nails one by one.

Optional: You may ask a friend for assistance.

Adjustable J Hook

If you’re looking at this product for the first time, it looks like the Frankenstein of picture hanging hooks. Adjustable J Hooks are two-part hangers joined together by a threaded bolt and a hex nut.

The most unique feature of this hook is that it’s highly adjustable since it permits height and level adjustments without removing the frame from the wall. Adjustable J Hanging Hooks should be installed with two 1 ⅝” x 13 nails per hook and the optional screws and anchors (not included in the kits).

You may move the lower section of the J-Hook up or down by adjusting the hex nut on the threaded bolt that connects the two main parts of the hook. 
The upper section of the picture hook has an opening on its top side so that you can adjust it while it is under load. Insert a screwdriver into the slot and let it pass until it reaches the connecting bolt. Rotate the bolt to adjust.

There is approximately a 3/4" adjustment capacity on a J-Hook, so installing the hooks on the wall need not be perfectly level.

J-Hooks can accommodate wired picture frames and art, but they are more commonly used to hang pictures directly on a pair of D-ring or Strap hangers. These types of hangers are attached vertically to the back of a frame.

Wall Buddies

Wall Buddies are sawtooth-type hangers that come in pairs. Regular sawtooth hangers will work fine in most cases but Wall Buddies come with a left and right corner piece that helps keep the frame level while adding strength and stability to frames.  

All models of Wall Buddies Hangers attach to the back of the frame at the top corners. Aside from the hangers, each set has two special wall hooks for installation. The hooks catch and hold the sawtooth edges of the Wall Buddies Hangers and hold the frame tight to the wall.

Another advantage of using Wall Buddies Hangers is that the hangers strengthen the upper corners of the picture frame. This is because the sawtooth hanging pieces act like corner braces. Thus, they eliminate the stress on frame rails and corner joints that standard hook & wire hanging can produce on specific frames.

The feature is handy for hanging large pictures with narrow frames or for any frame where hooks & wires can potentially cause frame stress.

There are two variations: small and large. The small Wall Buddies Hangers can support up to 30 lbs, while the large ones can support up to 60 lbs. They’re best used on frames at least 6” wide and larger than 24” x 30”.

Wall Buddies Hangers are also a good choice for long or odd-size frames where standard hook & wire hanging methods would create too much outward lean of the picture from the wall.

Bonus: Picture Frame Bumpers

Picture Frame Bumpers are small rubber or felt padded adhesive parts. They’re not picture hangers per se, but they are considered useful accessories in picture hanging.

Bumpers protect the wall from scratches and allow frames to stay level as they stand off the wall. That said, they help provide a gap between the wall and the picture frame or wall decor for airflow.

Our bumpers in-store come in different shapes and sizes. Bumper profiles include round, dome, square, and tapered, while measurements include ⅜” to 1” in diameter, 0.81” to 1-inch square bumpers, and 0.10” to 3” in height.

The bumpers we supply are ready-to-use products placed on protective peel-and-stick backing pads. Our bumpers are non-staining, non-marring, crack-resistant, and resilient.

How to apply bumpers on picture frames:

1. Peel off individual bumpers from the backing pad as needed.

2. Apply to the bottom corners of the backside of the frame.

Final Thoughts

While levels are great tools for hanging things straight, picture hangers with leveling features help make hanging pictures and art even easier. Not only do they hold up your frames on the wall, but they also keep frames level while they’re hung on the wall.

Let us know what your favorite leveling picture hanger is in the comments below!

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