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The Best Hangers for Lightweight Art

  • by Arthur Harrison
  • 5 min read

The amount of picture hanging hardware you see in stores can be overwhelming, sometimes to the point of confusion. Many hangers look the same but even if they look similar, there are subtle differences. Usually, there are several variations of just one hanger.

In this article, we'll review the different types of hangers that you can use to hang lightweight pieces with and how to narrow down your options.  But first, let’s talk about lightweight art.

How Light are Lightweight Art Pieces?

When we say lightweight art, we are referring to small framed prints, drawings, paintings, canvas art, art on foam board, etc. Anything less than 20 lbs is considered lightweight.

Although most picture hangers can accommodate these low-weight ratings, it would still be best to use the hangers specifically designed for holding light items.

That said, here’s a quick overview of all the hangers that are most suitable for lightweight artwork.

How to Choose the Right Art Hanger

The best way to narrow down your choices is to base them on two things: weight and frame material. 

The rule of thumb is to select a hanger that is 1-3 times the weight of what you’re hanging. How do you figure that out? Weigh the frames first so that the hanger you end up choosing is strong enough to support the artwork. 

⚒️ Pro Tip: Use a bathroom scale for weighing. 

After checking the weight, identify the material or the backing of your frame. We usually encounter foam board, wood, or metal frames. It’s a pretty broad selection of hangers to choose from. You can learn more about them in the next section.

Best Hardware for Lightweight Art

Once again, we’d like to reiterate that there are specific art hangers for foam board, wood frames, and metal frames. Each category has a recommended hanger that’s perfect for hanging your prints, drawings, and other lightweight art so here’s what you need to know:

Foam Board Hangers

This category includes the following hangers:

As mentioned earlier, these products are for foam boards only as they can only support 1-2 lbs. Sawtooth foam hangers and the Kwik hangers have sharp claws that bite into the foam board for security. Meanwhile, the adhesive sawtooth has a sticky pad on one side that you can apply to the foam board.

Light Duty Sawtooth Hangers for Wood Frames

This category includes the following hangers:

 A sawtooth hanger has a unique design. Compared to other hangers, as you can see in the photo above, it has a jagged edge on one side. This is where it gets its name from.

There are two types of sawtooth hangers: Nailess sawtooths and sawtooths with screws. 

Nailess sawtooths have two prongs that you can hammer directly on the wood frame without using screws. Meanwhile, sawtooths with screws have holes so you can attach the hanger onto the wood frame using the screws.

Light Duty D-rings for Wood Frames

This category includes the following hangers:

D-rings have holes for the screws and this makes them easy to set up. There are variations of this product that have different weight capacities ranging from 3 to 20 lbs.

If the number of choices gets overwhelming, all you have to do is follow the general rule of thumb we mentioned earlier: select a hanger that is 1-3 times the weight of what you’re hanging. 

For example, you have a framed painting that weighs 5lbs. This means that the right D-ring for your application is the Medium 1-Hole Hanger (10 lbs) or the Small Strap Hanger (15lbs). From there, you can choose which one you prefer and start installing your artwork.

Metal Frame Hangers

As the name suggests, these hangers are for metal frames only. They work by sliding, snapping, or clipping onto the open channel at the back. 

What’s different about metal frame hangers is that the weight capacity is based on how heavy the metal frame is itself, not the actual hanger. That said, it’s best to check the frame manufacturer specifications to be sure.

RELATED ARTICLE: Metal Picture Frame Hangers Buyer Guide

French Cleats

French Cleats receive nothing but good praise from folks who have used them. There are  a wide range of cleat lengths with different profiles and weight capacities, and they’re easy to install with or without prior experience.

The 3-inch cleats can support up to 15 lbs, making it the most suitable cleat length to hang small and lightweight artwork. French Cleats make hanging artwork straight and secure even easier!

Where Can I Hang Art?

Hanging pictures and art are commonly done in homes and art galleries, but there are other places and situations where you can hang art too.

Schools and Universities

Many kids and art students love being creative and artsy. So, what would be better than having an art gallery wall in their classroom or hallway to showcase their talents?

Two kids doing some artwork - pic is from Pexels
Photo by Artem Podrez from Pexels

Restaurants and Cafes

The best thing to pair with good food and drinks is great ambiance. When a place is warm and inviting and nicely decorated , people love to dine in and enjoy their meals. You can curate art pieces and other decorative wall hangings that complement your restaurant or cafe and hang them up to complete the look.

Frame hanging on brick wall - pic from Pexels
Photo by Mew wy. from Pexels


A workplace doesn’t have to be plain and boring. Add a bit of personality by using decor, putting books, and plants on shelves, and, you guessed it, art! 

Keep it professional by going for minimalistic artwork like framed prints of line art, photography, and abstract paintings.

Office space with wooden shelves, table, and chairs - pic from Pexels
Photo by Huseyn Kamaladdin from Pexels

Big Commercial Spaces

Any income-generating establishment is bound to have something for its marketing materials. These include movie theatres, malls, hotels, etc. However, these are just three of the many commercial spaces we visit everyday.

So how do they use art to their advantage? Well, a movie theatre needs to hang movie posters. Similarly, malls and hotels can do the same thing with their ongoing promos, advertisements, and the like.

Three framed assorted movie posters on the wall - pic from Pexels
Photo by Henry & Co. from Pexels

There are many other places where hanging art can be useful, not just in living rooms or in art galleries. If you own or work in any of these places, we highly recommend you keep a stash of hanging hardware just in case! You never know when you might need them, right?

Final Thoughts 

Art, in all its forms, deserves to be shared and displaying them on the wall is a fabulous way to show it off. Even though most picture hangers can accommodate all lightweight art, nothing beats using the most suitable art hanger for your application.

Let us know what kind of artwork you have in the comments!

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